International sport marketing

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Strategic Direction International sport marketing: Practical and future research

Article information: To cite this document: , (2014),"International sport marketing", Strategic Direction, Vol. 30 Iss 7 pp. 13 - 15 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/SD-06-2014-0074 Downloaded on: 16 September 2014, At: 00:51 (PT) References: this document contains references to 1 other documents. To copy this document: [email protected] The fulltext of this document has been downloaded 9 times since 2014*

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International sport marketing Practical and future research

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One estimate has put the sport industry’s global worth at $141 billion. You might well wonder how anyone can come up with such a precise figure, but no one can possibly dispute sport’s importance as a money-raiser. As a business, sport offers massive potential for revenue generation for all the parties involved. Communications experts Michael Goldman and Kate Johns have observed that the business of sport is a “significant economic sector at the individual, organizational and national levels and is an important contributor to economic activity and wealth creation”. Sport has become increasingly commercialized and internationalized over the past decade, as a result of the entrepreneurial marketing ventures that have been created. In today’s global market, sports companies need to be progressive service sellers to compete with other leisure activities. Entrepreneurial sport ventures that do this succeed in the competitive marketplace; those that do not are more than likely doomed to failure. There are two ways of looking at sports marketing: as the marketing of sports (major events such as soccer’s recent FIFA World Cup) and marketing with sports. This includes promotion of non-sporting products or services at or during sporting events and the use of athletes to promote them. Of course marketing of and marketing with are often inextricably linked. Viewers of commercial TV during the recent World Cup had to sit through a string of endless advertisements in which the leading footballers promoted everything from hair products to cars and snacks.

Larger audiences – and markets Technological advances have, of course, promoted more opportunities for international sports marketing and so, by definition, has globalization. Most contributions have come from North American, Europe and Oceania, while the marketing efforts of large corporations have focused on professional sport in developed countries. But the definition of developed countries is becoming more inclusive, as, for example, China and India have seen a growing number of middle-class households. Professional sport is being attracted increasingly to these countries, among them cricket’s recently established Indian Premier League, which invites players from around the world to play in domestic teams. In an international context, sport is fundamentally entrepreneurial, as it changes constantly to suit adapting business needs. Sports people from George Foreman to David Beckham use their name and image to promote products. There are also instant responses to swiftly changing circumstances. Several English soccer players have actually made money out of failure in major tournaments, an inability to convert penalty kicks. It is really a case of whatever works – the primary goal of a sports entrepreneur is to make a beneficial impact

DOI 10.1108/SD-06-2014-0074

VOL. 30 NO. 7 2014, pp. 13-15, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0258-0543 STRATEGIC DIRECTION

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‘‘Viewers of commercial TV during the recent World Cup had to sit through a string of endless advertisements in which the leading footballers promoted everything from hair products to cars and snacks.’’

that might also affect other areas of the economy through its social and environmental influence.

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One of the most important assets of a sports organization is its brand. Many sports brands have transcended geography by focusing on the global appeal of the sport. The world’s most famous soccer teams, Manchester United and Real Madrid, have been estimated to have brand values of $259 million and $150 million, respectively. And United’s brand worth is much, much higher. It is the most valuable sports franchise in the world. The club has business partners everywhere, especially in Asia, where increased levels of purchasing power make people a prime target for merchandising operations. In the same way, many of the bodies running professional sport have long-established business partnerships. FIFA’s alliances with large multinational firms include Adidas, Hyundai, Coca-Cola, Emirates, Sony and Visa.

Corporate social responsibility As sport has become more corporate, so issues of corporate social responsibility have become more prominent. Most professional sports leagues have incorporated corporate social responsibility in their business models, among them the USA’s National Basketball Association, which encourages players to partner with social institutions. In England, many soccer clubs have initiatives involving the local community. In some cases, these are targeted at people living in areas of considerable social deprivation. In addition, more sustainability initiatives involving sport are being used as a form of corporate social responsibility, as many sports have a large amount of infrastructure from sports stadiums to playing fields and practice areas. As long as international sporting events have been held, tourists have followed in their wake. But like everything else, it is an area which has grown exponentially as events such as the Olympics and the World Cup have become much bigger. There have also been a growing number of sporting events throughout developing countries – notably in Asia – as they try to catch up with the United Stated and Europe. A World Cup has already been held in Asia (Japan and South Korea, 2002), and Formula One motor racing has come to Japan, Malaysia, China and Singapore. More people now plan holidays and work events around sport.

Acting globally Internationalization of the economy has meant that many sports marketers now look to the global market instead of one region in their marketing efforts. Innovative international marketing techniques provide a way to support sport and at the same time enhance a company’s image. Again, technological innovations have played their part, while interactive marketing approaches – from cell phones to iPads – that encourage innovation and risk-taking encourage novel ideas to flourish. New opportunities will arise as new sports become more prominent. This might well be particularly true of action sports such as BMX bike riding. Windsurfing has now entered the mainstream. Examining which other sports will join them will be a fruitful area for

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researchers and sports practitioners themselves to consider. Likewise, sports that have long been associated with one part of the world might conquer the globe – and, if so, at the expense of which sports? Perhaps sports popular in Asia such as martial arts and tai chi could gain in popularity worldwide at the expense of traditional US sports such as baseball and basketball. However, practitioners in sports management cannot ignore local issues. They must encourage a form of “glocalization” in the branding of sports teams so that they can appeal to the local market. Colors are important, for example, with red a sign of good luck in China. Professional sports teams from the West must know the right sports marketing campaigns in these regions, which involves understanding issues of culture and taste.

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The world continues to globalize. Practical and research inquiry into international sport marketing must reflect that. Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Sports, Market trends, Sport marketing

Comment This review is based on “International sport marketing: practical and future research implications”, by Ratten and Ratten (2011). The writers provide a concise overview of the growth of international sport marketing and where it might take us. For sporting “romantics”, it is to some extent a view of their world as it is, rather than how they would like it to be.

Reference Ratten, V. and Ratten, H. (2011), “International sport marketing: practical and future research implications”, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 614-620.

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