Sport Marketing

Within this paper, an examination will be provided of sports marketing. Included in this examination, information will be offered on sports advertising and promoting. Subsequently, the relationship between sports marketing and the media will be addressed. Trends that have emerged and continue to influence sports marketing will then be addressed.

As defined within the literature, sports marketing represents those activities intended to meet �the needs and wants of sports consumers through exchange processes� (Mullin, Hardy & Sutton, 2000, p. 5). Quick, Shilbury and Westerbeek (2003) clarified that sports marketing is a social and managerial process within sports by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others. As such, as noted by Quick et al., the identification of consumer needs and wants is a critical aspect of the marketer’s role, with marketing strategies based on known consumer needs.

Quick et al. (2003) explained that it has been assumed that in sports the original form of the game tends to be naturally attractive and therefore satisfies consumer needs. However, as emphasized by the authors, this is an outdated view, with many sports now having modified rules to make their games more attractive. Particularly, for younger consumers, many sports have been significantly modified to satisfy the desire of many more young people to participate in the game (Quick et al., 2003). According to the authors, this change has led to the recognition that younger consumers want to develop game skills through actual participation, to have fun, and in general to be with their friends through the sport setting. This awareness helps to further emphasize the importance of identifying the needs and wants that are to be satisfied when considering sports marketing activities. As noted by Quick et al., dentifying the needs of various segments of the population is the challenge inherent in the early phase of the marketing process. Obtaining this information offers the sports marketer the opportunity to communicate the benefits of the sport product as a means of defining the sport’s positioning to different segments of the market (Quick et al., 2003). Such exchange processes help to clarify the importance of using a mix of marketing strategies in order to influence different consumers to buy sport products, via either attendance or participation. Quick et al. indicated that these processes identify the four primary variables involved in sports marketing including product, price, promotion and place, otherwise known as the traditional four Ps of marketing.

According to Mullin et al., sports marketing has developed two major thrusts including the marketing of sports products and services directly to the consumers of sport, and the marketing of other consumer and industrial products or services though the use of sport promotions. As further explained by Mullin et al., sports marketing also involves the promotion of the game itself. For example, as noted by the authors, both professional leagues and member franchises are active in the promotion of their teams and sports through advertising and Web sites. Marketing through sports has become increasingly popular as companies outside of the sports industry recognize sports as a medium for marketing their own products and services (Mullin et al., 2000). The purchase of stadium naming rights by companies including Coors and America West Airlines and the sponsorship of NASCAR teams by Home Depot and Valvoline are but a few examples of marketing through sport.

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Sports Marketing And The Media

In relation to sports marketing, media organizations have emerged as assuming a critical role. The media is active in the marketing of sports, as they provide the various communication vehicles through which sports games are seen, read about, and heard (Thorne, Wright & Jones, 2001). Media companies traditionally have included television, newspaper, and radio (Thorne et al., 2001). According to Thorne et al., media rights, especially through television, have �symbiotic� or closely knit relationships with sport, with sports aiding in building the media while media exposure aids in further building and establishing an audience for the sports industry. Consequently, as noted by the authors, as efforts are made by the media and the sports industry to enhance the numbers of viewers, readers, and listeners, stronger advertising revenue for the media firm are generated. As a result of this relationship, owners of media companies have increasingly acquired professional teams, leading to further complexity in the relationships that can exist between sports and the media. As further explained by Thorne et al., media interests often clash with those of teams and leagues under the Sports Broadcasting Act (1992, 15 U.S.C. 1291-95), which granted an antitrust exemption for broadcast rights to leagues, though teams’ sale of broadcast rights is subject to antitrust review.

According to Kotler, Rein and Shields (2007), the direction of future trends in sports marketing are evidenced in a number of areas. Increasingly, the owner’s of sport properties form their own media company, providing a means for those in sports marketing to interact directly with consumers without the filter of traditional media (Kotler et al., 2007). An example of this trend offered by Kotler et al. is that of the National Football League (NFL), with most television networks recognizing the NFL as a competitive asset for its’ value in high ratings and promotional lead-in to other programming. As noted by Kotler et al., the NFL has begun building its own television channel which competed against ESPN with its own NFL draft show and broadcast eight regular season games during the 2006 season. Additionally, as pointed out by the authors, the NFL is investing its own media brand rather than selling its Thursday and Saturday night television package to other networks. Consequently, the NFL network is rapidly developing into a backup source for whenever other networks fail to pay the right fees for NFL programming.

Additionally, as identified by Kotler et al. (2007), the Internet has emerged as another major sports marketing venue. Using the example of the Major League Baseball’s (MLB) use of the Internet for providing streaming live video of baseball games throughout the season, Kotler et al. indicated that such business endeavors have created another means for generating additional substantial income for the league. According to Kotler et al, the Internet has provided the MLB with a further profitable means of defining and marketing itself as well as its’ teams through broadcast sports
As concluded by the authors, the MLB has provided a benchmark that can be used by other sports identities for integrating new technology into marketing strategies for the purpose of meeting the changing needs and expectations of fans.

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Internet Marketing: On A Fast Track

While marketing has unlimited means of reaching its target audience, Internet marketing has grown to be the most popular marketing medium . Companies are aggressively using search engine optimization and other techniques to reach remote consumers. Businesses use constant emails and video advertisements on websites to woo customers. popular Internet marketing is emerging as the favorite marketing strategy of both small and large enterprises.

Online Shopping this Holiday Season

According to eCommerce research firm comScore, shopping by online customers grew significantly this holiday season. Spending grew to $28 billion, up 19% compared to last year. On December 26 (the day after Christmas), sales touched $545 million, a record 50% jump compared to the same day last year. December 10 was recorded as the heaviest individual spending day of the season. Online retail giant Amazon.com announced its “best holiday season ever.”

However, with the sub-prime crisis hitting the U.S. markets and with talks of a jittery U.S. economy, it is not surprising that the growth in online shopping was not as robust as the 2006 holiday season.

Advertising on the Internet

A study by AT&T conducted by Western Wats revealed that approximately 65% of small enterprises advertise in the yellow pages directory. However, about 53.1% of the small business respondents said that in the next two years they expect to advertise through online videos. AT&T noted that although many consumers are still using the yellow pages for business information, they search on the Internet before actually buying a product.

With the Beijing Summer Olympics approaching, spending on advertisements in every sector is expected to accelerate. Multinational corporations are sure to make further inroads into China’s fuming economy.

Studies reveal that in the coming years, more companies will resort to advertising with Internet videos. People now have less time to read through text-dominant advertisements; plus, videos have proved to be more appealing.

Though the U.S. economy is said to hit a recession track, online ad spending is expected to be resilient.

Marketing through Social Networking Websites

Sending bulk emails is a marketing stunt used to date. Many companies are now switching to social networking websites to market their products. MySpace and Facebook are expected to be major players in the online social networking space. These sites in the future would be top destinations for online shoppers.

Online Customers Rank High with Retailers

The Customer Respect Group’s “Customer Respect Index,” has ranked retailers high in respect to handling their online customers. The study evaluated retail websites on three parameters �” usability of sites, communication in respect to emails and online chats, and trustworthiness. In all three situations, retail websites such as Ralph Lauren, Gap, and Old Navy outperformed the industry average. v 2008 is predicted to be a good year for Internet marketing. Companies are gearing up not to miss a piece of the cake.

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Finding the Most Diverse Sports Store

Odds are, if you enjoy one athletic activity, you probably enjoy a few others as well. Finding people to keep up with your active lifestyle can sometimes be challenging, but finding gear doesn’t have to be. If you are determined to buy all of your sporting goods in one place, you will find that there’s a sports store for you.

Health and fitness are becoming a much more regular part of the society today, and with this increased interest in physical fitness, there are more stores selling the right equipment. Many chains are popping up around the country that offer all of the usual gear: running shoes, compression shorts, jump ropes, and all other varieties of equipment. Despite this, not every sports store carries everything that you need, especially if you are interested in more extreme outdoor activities.

When you have a real drive for that active lifestyle, you know that there is simply no good time to have down time. You have an activity for every season and for every occasion, always working to keep your heart pumping. During the summer, you might be caught playing some disc golf and during the winter your friends will find you skiing on the slopes. If this describes you, then you need more than the run of the mill sporting goods retailer.

Fortunately, finding a sports store that can keep up with your lifestyle is not a fantasy. In fact, many cities around the country have one or more all-purpose stores that offer this type of equipment. Rather than having to go from shop to shop hoping you find what you need, this helps eliminate your trips and allows you to get everything in one place.

Of course, the last thing you want to do is trade convenience for quality or price. In other words, you need to be careful when you find an all-purpose sports store to ensure that you are not purchasing inferior quality goods. Fitness and activity may be important, but inferior products could lead to injury, which is something you never want to endure. Similarly, buying your products in one place should help lower your overall cost, so don’t waste time shopping at a place that will inflate prices just because of the convenience factor.

Ultimately, a good sports store will offer equipment and apparel for a variety of different activities. Whether you are looking to get gear for your competitive sporting event or simply looking to prepare for another outdoors adventure, having the right store in mind can make your supply run that much easier. This will help ensure you always have the right equipment when you need it, and that you will never have a dull moment.

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