Shorts not Skirts!!

What do you see when you turn on the TV? In Germany it would likely be soccer, in the USA football, baseball, or basketball, and in the UK rugby. Every nation has its own favorite traditional sport, which of course is a good thing. But now, who do you usually see playing these kinds of sport, men or women? Yes, usually it’s men that have the greater media attention. Now, I am neither a feminist nor the contrary, but I thought that this is an interesting fact to investigate. We have heard a lot about marketing and commercialization of sport from my fellow blogger Mirja, and I would like to extend that to the issue of gender equality. (more…)

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My First Steps

When I heard that we have to create a blog, I was very enthusiastic about the topic sport and was very happy that our group has so many different people and different Sport interests.

Stumbling along the way

After I started my first topic with Commercialization and Money in Soccer, I realized that I have a passion for Marketing. I decided to move away from my first ideas and dug a little deeper into the topic of Marketing. I have always wondered why Rhythmic Gymnastics is not as popular as Soccer? Are Gymnasts worse athletes? Are they not as dedicated? I think it is not just a matter of a large fan base…it is a matter of Marketing.

So I started to randomly search the internet, whether webpages or blogs, to get an idea of the dimensions of Marketing and saved all the interesting posts and ideas on Evernote.

Fighting Fears

In the beginning I was rather scared that I wouldn’t find any links to IT, but after researching my first few blogs and gaining a certain basis of knowledge on the topics, I realized that Social Media are one of the greatest Marketing tools today. As social media enables fans to really live their passion and follow the news and day-to-day activities not only about TV or Radio, but can even connect to them via Facebook or Twitter. It is a completely new dimension…

Getting the Link

So thats what my next post is going to be about. I came to Social Media in sport after I found a great blog, treating only topics in Marketing and Social Media in Sports. I found the blog after reading an interview with the author that immediately caught my attention.

The blog sportmanager.de has been a great innovation to my research work and got me so interested in Marketing and Social Media, that I couldn’t stop continue reading the posts. The blog led my to other blogs and twitter accounts that had amazing ideas on Marketing in Sports and especially concerning Social Media.

Future Out-sights

For the blogs after Social Networks in Sports I plan to stay in the Marketing Sector and perhaps get a little more into my sport, Rhythmic Gymnastics, and perhaps compare it to other sports and why such a beautiful sport is so underrepresented…

Continuance: Money and Commercialization in Soccer

Whether buying a whole Premiere League Soccer Club for 136 Million Pounds, earning 23.2 Million Pounds salary per year or being considered worth more than 90 Million Euros…In soccer we talk about the most incredible amounts of money.

Already commercialized in the past?

According to Gabriel Kuhn, many leading clubs were exploited by companies and factory owners, at least for prestige. So the increasing commercialization in the twentieth century was not a result of an external force but of intrinsic logic.

Kuhn claims, that over the last twenty years, the commercialization has taken on momentum. Champions leagues, multi billion dollar TV contracts, celebrity players, a ruthless merchandising industry that doesn’t stop selling and marketing corporate-sponsored jerseys are all an expression of this.

Soccer: Show Business?

Dirk Zingler, President of Union Berlin emphasizes this; “Flag wavers, cardboard clappers and goal music- football has become show business.”

As Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC is quoted from the IOC website, “Without the support of the business community, without its technology, expertise, people, services, products, telecommunication, its financing — the Olympic Games…cannot happen. Without this support, the athletes cannot compete and achieve their very best in the world’s best sporting event.” This can be transferred to all the other sports as well and every sport has its price usually it is advertising, which makes it possible for companies to identify themselves with a certain club, for example, and appear to a certain target group as well as publicize themselves. http://www.olympic.org/

According to Mark Fisher, quoted by blogger Ben Jeffrey, the price of success just is the ballooning wages, the de-nationalization, the conspicuous consumption of the top-class players and the ruthlessness of clubs where loyalty counts for little if it doesn’t pay.

Exploitation or Benefit? 

The commercialization of football has yielded immense benefits for fans, in terms of infrastructure, quality of play and global coverage to cover the passion for their loved sport, claims Ben Jeffrey.

The number of wireless smartphone owners, who have downloaded an app nearly doubled in the past two years, from 22% in September 2009 to 38% in August 2011, with sports apps belonging to the most common downloaded apps, believes Hugh Thompson.

Given this rapid adoption of smartphones by average consumers, Pat Coyle was curious to see if social sports fans were adopting smartphones at similar rates. Turns out they’re not. Sports fans adopting smart phones much faster the mainstream average. In some cases, 9 of 10 fans already have smartphones. So for any sports marketer who didn’t get out of bed this morning thinking about smartphones should take this as their wake up call, says Pat Coyle.

One example, named by Samantha Goldberg, is the ESPN ScoreCenter an app that had about 1.7 million daily unique visitors in the past three months.

My opinion

These apps might cost little, but they sum up to amazing sums. I must admit that I have quite some on my phone as well. The marketing strategies and the merchandising strategies used by sport clubs and federations can be considered perfectionised. There is nothing we can’t get today; soccer apps, playstation games to simulate a mangers life or the life of a celebrity soccer player…there are no limits.

              

Sports, Commercialization and Money

Whether earning $120 Million a year, traveling to a different country every week, earning millions just for having their face in a magazine or tv advertisement, getting payed for wearing the newest clothes or be a present figure in news, newspapers and magazines…money clearly matters in sport.


Move away from traditional sport

Robert Colls from the Leicester University claims in an interview that we are at the culmination of a relentless move away from what used to be the ideals of sport. According to him, earlier games were not played with a ruthless desire to win and make money and supporters were still loyal to their local teams and not large brands.

But is that such a recent Development?

According to Robert Colls sport has always been closely related to wealth and cultural capital. “To ‘sport’ used to mean to have fun, and those who had the most money usually had the most fun.”, says Robert Colls.

Colls thinks the crucial point is the difference between professionalism and commercialism. Commercialism represents the business model where all, identities, cultures and economies are lowered to the lowest possible denominator in order to allow corporations to buy and sell sports on the widest possible market. Professionalism is getting paid for doing something well.

“Fans are encouraged to commit to the brand through the sport, which is itself being turned into a brand.”, claims Robert Colls.

The Sport Market

According to blogger Karan Singh, the commercialization of sport is not a cultural development but a product of unique technical, social, and economic circumstances.

DANIQUE1217 claims that nowadays athletes are commodities, sport teams are traded on a market, sponsorships exceed millions and television stations pay a lot of money to broadcast games.

My Opinion

Personally I believe that commercialization of sport has its advantages and disadvantages, but today it has become inevitable. For the professional athletes it has become a profession, for countries part of their culture, for fans the essence of their lives and for the media the most important five minutes at the end of their show.

Sport has turned into a market adapted to our globalized world. Before the globalization sport might have been free time entertainment for those who could afford it, today absolute nobodies coming from the slums can become great soccer players and great athletes. Through commercialization sport has become available to everybody. The success, reported on by the media, inspires others to play sports and do their best.