What Drives Sport Business?


Sports and business can sometimes seem like completely unrelated fields. In reality, it is the enormous consumer demand that drives the business of sport. And it is certainly a business… a multi-billion dollar one at that! Our Sport Marketing students looked at some factors that are directing the growth of the sports industry. Here are their thoughts.

By: Lorna Mastin

Over the last few decades we have seen a significant growth in sports. I believe a few of the customer driven factors are the product, price, place, promotion, and entertainment. Customers buy products for the value it can provide them with. Some customers buy products for the social value, monetary value, physical value or functional value. Sporting events provide customers with a fun, exciting atmosphere where they are able to watch the sporting events in the midst of other customers. Sporting events try to provide a service or products that will attract and entertain every market. I believe that’s why football games and basketball games have half times shows, raffles, t-shirt contests, and various other offers at sporting events from food to apparel.

The Nike brand has done a wonderful job over the years with appealing to everyone. Although they sell shoes and sports attire, they market themselves in a way where they are relatable to every human being. They sell tenacity and passion. No matter what your profession is in life that’s what we as human beings believe about ourselves. Nike has manage to sell their brand with their slogan “Just do it”. In the next 15-20 years the desire of consumers will likely change which means companies will have to continue to alter their product or services to whatever the customers’ needs are. That’s the key to marketing, finding out who are your customers, what do they value, and how you can beat your competitors at giving your customers what they want.

By: Chad Golembiewski

The most obvious business-driven factor that has helped the growth of sports is the always increasing and changing levels of technology. With the diverse social media platforms available today such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram, and many more, it allows businesses to easily reach out to a large target market. With the constant improving technology, you see improved sports media for the reasons of simply being able to tap into different markets so easily through multiple entries to exposure through different platforms and technologies. Another factor involves sponsorship. Every new stadium or arena that is built for sporting events is paired with a sponsor. Most of these sponsors are not sport related, but they combine their brand with a sports brand and just like that sports is grown and merged into a new group of people and business. Nike is a great example of using some of the business-driven factors. The company started out with a different name selling shoes. It has evolved over the past 50 years into what we all know as Nike. In the video of Nike’s brand evolution, it shows how Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman started by selling shoes to a local market. They had someone create their iconic logo, and then started creating advertisements to build their brand. As more people became familiar with their advertisements and commercials, their brand awareness increased. They got lucky and hit big with two big superstars in Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods before they became what they were. From a small local shoe store, they have grown into a global giant that is known and worn by people all over the world.

Looking at the customer-driven factors that have helped sports grow, you will see how advertisements and brands have evolved over time to reach people of all races, religions, genders and ages. Instead of just reaching out to adult men, more sports businesses and media have tapped into the women’s and youth market a lot more heavily. With the population growing and becoming more diverse, sports media and businesses make sure they produce the right products for their markets.  Another thing you tend to see on sports channels now as opposed to years ago is a lot of different sports and events are shown. For example, you see outdoors channels and even fox sports show lots of coverage on hunting and fishing. Then you have ESPN and other channels showing poker and other events as well. Overall, the growth of sports can be contributed to more customers being targeted through different advertisements, and even the production of a wide array of sports and events as opposed to the past. The people today want to see such a diverse set of sports, that the media and sports businesses try to cover them as much as possible to satisfy the consumer.

Over the next 15-20 years, sports are only going to continue to grow. Technology is going to continue to change and develop. It is hard to see many of these factors that exist now changing dramatically in the next 15-20 years. Some of the changes that may occur may involve different sports becoming more popular and if there is a market for those sports in the media, then the media will make sure they cover them. Consumers are still going to be driven by diversity of coverage and businesses will continue to be driven by sponsorship and the desire to grow and be known globally.

By: Malinda Robedeau

Customers and their needs are at the heart of marketing in the sports industry. As we learned through our reading, the value of a particular product or service is determined by the customer themselves. They are the man behind the curtain that runs the show because the growth of sports depends on them. Look at it this way, business is determined by two factors, marketing and innovation both of which are sparked by the consumer and who they are, what they value and how the business can give it to them better than competitors out there. So a business can’t grow without making the customer-driven factors their main area of study. There’s even theory’s regarding 4 P’s (sellers side) and 4 C’s (customer’s side) both of which are driven by the notion that business is based upon the customer and that one must focus on their needs and desires to grow their brand. Reason being, without the knowledge of their target audience, the whole business train will derail.

As for customer driven factors impacted by population changes, since the growth of sports lie in the hands of the customer anything that affects them affects business growth. Those changes could include flared diversity issues like what we have been seeing all over the country or even economic issues such as the plummet we saw during the market crash of 2008. Both of these control the needs of society changing the customer’s values. For example the issues with minor league baseball; As we learned, it’s hard enough for them to gain fans as a minor team let alone have enough of them to increase ticket sales. The market crash pulled fans from their seats because the first thing to go when cutting back costs is luxury, which is exactly what sports are.

It’s the population that spins the wheel of a customer’s life. The values taught by society and the trends that we see coming and going that change a consumer’s wants. With these ever changing values comes the continuous price fluctuation both of which impact the growth of the sports industry. So how might these factors change over the next 15-20 years? Well the best way I can put it is continuously. There’s going to be changing wants, needs, values, increased technology, and different entertainment. With the changing of our society and the diversity issues no one knows what or where our society will be 15 years from now. I’m interested to see the unique incentives and ideas the industry comes up with though to make sure butts are in the seats. I mean even above and below the line expectations and availability will change. Who knows what kind of advertisement will be needed to be done by then or how we may interact with the consumers. All I know is that the whole business of sports lies within these changes and making sure they can keep up to date with the ever changing lifestyle of the population and its customers.


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