Technologies? No, thanks. It’s a matter of time

In my Human eye vs. “Hawk-Eye” post last week I gave an example of a technology that is used in tennis when there is doubt about a ball having dropped down on the line or outside the field. It will provide us with an animated video showing with a 3-6mm accuracy where the ball hit the ground. (more…)

Continuance: Marketing in Sport

Scandal is inevitable.

What was inevitable is that the desire to win overrides any ideas of personal or corporate ethics. This need, constantly pushed on athletes, coaches and administrators clouds judgement and justifies appalling behaviors. What was inevitable is that scandalous corruption was coming to sport — because there is too much money, claims James Connor.

According to Connor, Children are plucked from the masses and selected into pathway or talent programs. They end up being coached, trained and played till they either break or make it into an elite team.

Marketing Machine

Winning a premiership guarantees further sponsorship for your team, the brand grows and more money is sucked into the system, says James Connor, and the influence of corporate control and sponsorship, where making money and exploiting your players and fans is the only option, is undeniable.

The commercial potential of sport celebrities is defined by their popular images, drawing from their achievements such as athletic ability and performance. Sponsor organizations therefore associate with the image of the celebrity in the hope that the favorable brand image of the celebrity will rub off on their image, says Ohanian.

Sport Down-Under thinks that a celebrity with multiple sponsors, and all those  sponsors speak to a different target market of those sponsors. If the celebrity manager is smart, they will select sponsors that cover varying demographics. Sport Down-Under states the example : “Guys want to be him, girls want to have him” is always better than “Guys want to be him, girls don’t know who he is.”

Scandal is inevitable

Connor believes that this drive to win, be the best and beat the opposition inevitably leads to temptation. Combine that with the corporate imperative to make a profit – the pressure becomes immense. The spirit of sport is money — gone are the ideals, claims Connor.

As soon as money enters sport we see corruption, whether it is the IOC, rugby league or Twenty20.

How do they promote themselves?

According to Mark, Blogs, SEO, Search and social networks are at the heart of Internet Marketing 2.0, and they can help you promote your business to the masses, a key trait in the world of Social and Business networking.

Lauren Drell claims that another great way to market sport are social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The passion of the fans makes them a perfect audience for Facebook and Twitter— they crave interaction with the team and will gladly engage in  communication. Even if the fans can’t come to a game the person marketing the team should make sure that those who are left at home still feel like they’re in the crowd. There should be a constant update on what the team is doing as well as upcoming events.

My opinion

I believe that social networks are a great way to change and give a certain image to a company. They can “communicate” with certain age groups and target groups and take advantage of the passion of fans for their sport. The popularity of sport is a great stage to market products or services as millions of people watch a high class soccer game or follow their team on Facebook, twitter or on special applications on their cellphones. Athletes become brands…

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.

              

What are you wearing tonight?

If I think about my favourite soccer team or the basketball team I like most, I have a picture of them in my head. First, I see their faces and then I see big lettering across their chests. But it’s neither their names nor their teams’ name but it is advert lettering. This leads me to a topic I would to discuss today:

Advertisement in sports and the “big business” involved with it

Swedish confectionery company Cloetta, signed only 2 weeks ago a multi-year sponsorship with the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOC). This makes Cloetta an official team sponsor of the SOC and gives them exclusive confectionery rights for the period of the deal.
So, what is the reason for the producer of the largest single confectionery product in Sweden to conclude such a contract?

“The world of sports is by itself a very profitable business”

Sandie gochargers blog claims that “The world of sports is by itself a very profitable business”. Further they state that there is a lot of money involved in that sector and that there are various sources of money. But the largest amounts of money are derived from advertising, they argue. As there are a large number of sports events that are broadcasted on television, one can easily address his/her adds to a very large audience.
Sandie gochargers contends that people are confronted with advertisement on television during match broadcasting breaks which they could maybe only escape by switching channels.
But there are not only television adds, but advertisement all over the place, they complain. They quote opinions, stating that making money in this sector has become more important than the actual match and its transmission itself. Sandie gochargers considers this a fair argument and in addition they remark that sports broadcasting hours were adapted to advertiser’s demands. American baseball was formerly played and shown on TV in the afternoon but in order to comply with well paying advertiser’s demands, broadcasting hours were shifted to night hours, the author(s) explain(s).

FC Barcelona reorganizes handling of jersey printing

They conclude that ads are a very important part of sports as they bring a lot of money to the different sports clubs and organizations involved with sports. And it seems to them as if it was hard for such organizations to resist to the temptation of money, “especially in these hard times when sports are really stuck”. They contend that even soccer club FC Barcelona only recently signed now a 30 million € worth sponsor contract. The soccer team used to be one of the few top level soccer clubs that did not have sponsor names on their jerseys but the UNICEF logo but this organization did not have to pay any money to the club.

So, coming back to Swedish confectionery company Cloetta, we can now imagine how BIG the deal they got actually is: the Olympics are a worldwide event and the Games are not only broadcasted nationally but internationally means a lot more attention that is drawn on the company. And not to forget about the fact that now they are able to address also sports they did not concentrate on before. In the past they have been a sponsor of the Swedish national alpine ski and national handball teams.

Walking Billboards or earnest next generation of talent?

Cloetta’s Business Development Director Tony Wiréhn says: “This joining of forces with the Swedish Olympic Committee will strengthen Cloetta and Kexchoklad® since it gives us the right to use the Swedish Olympic themes in our marketing. And having the opportunity to create two Olympic products by labeling the products with the SOC emblem or giving them specially designed Olympic packaging is naturally a further advantage”.
Stefan Lindeberg, chairman of the SOC adds that the SOC wants to open the door for more talents and give them the chance of becoming global sports elite and Cloetta will now be an important partner in order to meet this goal.

This finally leads me to a number of questions:

Do you think that the athletic focus has shifted away from sports, towards the focus on promoting other companies and products? Distraction during matches?

Are the sponsors promoting the athletes and encourage new generations to become athletes or do athletes promote organizations and encourage people to buy products?

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.