Our gratefulness and future

On behalf of all the contributors of this blog, I want to thank all of our readers and followers for their interest and support on this blog. We all aimed to share our opinions and insights regarding sports and businesses, and we hope that our posts provided a new perspective regarding these aspects.

This week we wanted to give an overview from all of our posts during the last month, in order to help our readers remember the different topics we covered and to provide new readers a basic idea of our blog as it will remain opened until July 15th.

Nevertheless, I would like to mention that we are not going to keep posting any more. For this reason, we all would like to say good bye and thank everybody who made this blog possible and made these weeks an amazing experience.

Farewell, keep following us on Facebook and keep enjoying sports!!

Bring it all Together

I’ve been a sports fan all of my life, but I have never gone very in depth regarding the sports industry as a whole. This blog has given me the opportunity to look at another side of sports, and I learned some very interesting things.

I first talked about sports leagues and their involvement with various charitable organizations. I focused specifically on NBA Cares, a recent effort by the NBA to participate in philanthropy or community service. NBA Cares is interesting in that it centralizes and organizes all philanthropic efforts by the NBA; it is more than just a partnership. This shows that professional sports are placing more emphasis on not only giving back, but providing good public relations as well.

I also wrote an article about different ways franchises are organized, specifically public and private ownership. I especially liked writing this article because I was able to draw examples of both from the NFL, since the NFL was one publically-owned team, the Green Bay Packers. Whereas the other 31 NFL teams have a sole owner or family controlling the franchise, the Packers have shareholders and are represented by a chairman. This has allowed the Packers to limit corporate influence, at the risk of less revenue.

One topic I went in depth on was the 2004-05 NHL lockout. The lockout was a dispute between players and owners over various issues, most importantly player salaries and the debate of adding a salary cap. The negotiations did not end in time for there to be a season, resulting in the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season (the first time a major North American sports leagues has experienced a full cancellation).

My last post was about the possibility of an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has not had a team since the mid-1990s when the Rams and Raiders moved to St. Louis and Oakland, respectively. There has been recent talk about moving a team there because a new stadium has been approved. However, the process is stalling and it is unclear whether a team will move to Los Angeles in the near future.

As a sports fan, I was very excited about writing this blog. It’s always fun to write about something I enjoy, and sports are definitely an example of that. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you, now go watch some sports!

Grander Scheme of things

In keeping with the theme of sports as a measure beyond the game, I want to turn you attention to Pakistan where the budgeted Sports Entertainment sector has increased to new heights. In Pakistan, for reasons beyond my knowledge, sports is becoming more and more of social norm.

The point I want to stress is that to enjoy the fruits of sports in society, is not to enjoy teams winning, or experience dramatic plays, but rather to spend time in a unifying way with the rest of your people. It is true.

Economically, no other consumer sector can compare with sports in terms of consumer spending. But additionally, any sporting organization attracts the attention of business, fans, governments and civil society groups all at once. Such a merging of all different economic contributors implies importance.

But beyond the game itself too is faith. Having faith in the games you love keeps sports at the top. In fact, in the US, sports was a major reason for the formation of a new product category – the public good. A public good is a good which brings benefit to the public regardless of who is paying for it, as well as it’s openness to the public. Essentially, sports are free entertainment, and purposefully.

Accountants, architects, entrepreneurs, athletes, manual laborers, television, radio, advertising, government, and many other jobs come as a direct result of the sporting industry.

Astonishingly, most people would prefer any one of these jobs in the sporting world than through association with any other organization. Because sports are a fundamental human emotion. We are linked to the games we play.

In conclusion – think wisely about how you spend your money. Sports add great value to society. Additionally, you love to watch sports. So next time that you need to gout and have a good time, try watching a sports game.

 

This has been an amazing blog. Thanks for reading,

Owen

A farewell and an overview

As we reach the end of this blog, which has been a great experience for me, I would like to give a quick review of the main points I touched during these four weeks.

I began this blog writing about Cause Related Marketing (CRM), which, in my opinion, is one of the best marketing strategies that a company could implement. I emphasized that CRM is the partnership between businesses and causes to market a product or service for mutual benefit. CRM can be beneficial for both organizations and society. I also mentioned that CRM can be even more effective in the sport industry because of its reach and power.

I gave the example regarding the partnership between Jeff Gordon and AARP. AARP is a foundation that helps struggling seniors, 50 and above, by providing them direct assistance and generating awareness in the population. This foundation launched the campaign, Drive to End Hunger, and signed a contract with Gordon in 2011. Drive to End Hunger has become the main sponsor for Jeff Gordon and has raised more than 17 million dollars.

Another example related with CRM is the Kick4Life foundation. This foundation has partnerships with organizations such as the Premier League, Microsoft and Nedbank. The foundation works to promote health education and awareness in Lesotho, the third country with highest HIV cases. This foundation has a large amount of projects that mostly focuses on HIV prevention and testing. They provide a curriculum to educate young people regarding HIV, provide free HIV testing and counseling, and have various campaigns to generate awareness, such as, the K4L FC and ICT campaign.

I also wrote about sponsorships and their negative consequences on both teams and sponsors if they are not managed carefully. Saturation levels of sponsorships create negative attitudes towards the team; therefore it ends up affecting the teams or organization’s image. Additionally, it is wasteful for sponsors because saturated levels of sponsorship generate confusion and decreases the brand recall rate. They interfere with the information processing, making much more difficult to distinguish different stimuli.

Later on I talked regarding soccer in the U.S. I concluded that soccer is not a viable “product” for the American sports market because the market is already controlled by the major leagues, American sports are strongly linked with American culture and history (which makes soccer unattractive), and because the low popularity of this sport makes it unattractive for investors and the media.

My final post was regarding social media. I exposed the major benefits that social media provides to sports, leagues and teams. It has the capacity to build direct and strong relationships with fans, promote new products or events, and gather demographic and psychographic information. I emphasized that social media can be easily implemented in sports because of the attachment of fans with sports. Fans usually want to interact with other fans, feel closer to the team and express their loyalty.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading all these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Reminiscing and Goodbyes

To sign out of “All Sports, All Business,” which has been awesome to post on these past few weeks, I thought I’d touch upon the two main things that I learned, and the things that I tried to convey to any audience I may have had.

Operate Responsibly

When looking towards China’s football league and the corruption that crept in over the years, mutilating the game with bribery, thrown matches, and resulting in hopeless fans, we can see the importance of being honesty and integrity in the industry.

This ties in with sustainability, but I’ll touch on that later– for now I want to talk more about personal ethics. The gambling rings, owner irresponsibility, and consistent player salary cuts that the Chinese were up against became a very hard hole to dig themselves out of– franchises should never get to this point. It all starts with taking personal responsibility on the part of owners and players

If you read my post on the terrible regulation and operating culture of food vendors within sporting arenas, then you know where I’m going with this. There are virtually no stadiums in any state in this country that are health code violation-free, and operating in healthy (or LEGAL) manners. Human and animal waste, a lack of clean utensils and prep areas, and simple human incompetence make these arenas disgusting on paper. The worst part is that, because demand is so resilient for food during sporting events, there is little to no actual incentive for vendors to change these habits. I strongly hope that this catches up with these vendors, but it’s hard to argue with profits. Fans must take responsibility here: be informed! Know what you’re ingesting, and vote with your dollar– sometimes, this is the only way to instate change. I know I won’t be supporting the Pepsi Center, here in Colorado, with my money anymore.

The Super Bowl Knows What’s Up

My posts about the Super Bowl, regarding Super Bowl commercials and the 2013 movement towards sustainable operations, goes to show that the Super Bowl, in itself, truly is an amazing demonstration of business operations. Selling ad revenue brings in an amazing amount of revenue (about $4 million for 30-seconds, these days), but also generates publicity for the Super Bowl, as the time to “watch those great commercials” annually– and has even become a tradition in many households. Relatively, it is also cheap for companies to reach millions of people–if they so choose to invest the money.

The Super Bowl’s move to operate sustainably and buying carbon credits to cover their share of pollution this year, was also a very environmentally conscious move. What’s more– the host committee hardly received press for it! The “Geaux Green” project was poorly advertised, but effective. That builds brand equity, in my book.

It’s been an honor, readers! Thanks for your time over these past five weeks!

Weekly Recap

Hey everyone, thanks for checking in with All Sports, All Business this week! Here are some of the things we discussed:

Earlier today I talked a little about David Bamford, an Operations Management specialist/professor who provided his services to the Tour de France to help create the Sky Cycling Team, keep competition alive in sports, and looked into the operating environment of the 2012 Paralympic Games. This post was basically about the importance of OPIM (Operations/Information Management) in sports–from the players to the arena, the role of data gathering in analytics and creating better operations for any franchise or environment, and how KPIs (key performance indicators) are changing in sports. That is to say, pure talent cannot drive the game anymore–we, as fans, rely on viable competition and an effective and efficient method of consuming sports–in person or from afar.

The Economic Viability of LA Having an NFL Franchise: in this post,  John looked into how, earlier this year, the NFL canceled its plans to bring a franchise to Los Angeles. He talked about the vast market that was able to be pounced upon, considering LA’s high ethnocentrism with their sports teams, like the Lakers, and it being the second largest city in the country. When looking at the success Brooklyn, a comparable city, has had with the Dodgers and other sports franchises, it seems that the cost of having a franchise is the only hurdle for LA.

This week, Juan talked about social media’s place in sports marketing. He looked into the emotional attachment that fans hold for their sports teams and how social media has, subsequently, become inseparable from the idea of a sports team. The results of social media in sports marketing have lead to a greater feeling of connectivity between fans and franchises and even individual athletes. There’s also a great list of how social media has been successfully and effectively demonstrated in sports on this post–check it out!

George discussed public goods this week and how sports as a form of entertainment is classified as such. He proved his point further when he brought the opinions of Florida residents– many of them said they support tax dollars going towards their sports teams, reinforcing the idea that every state needs a team.

In our first post for this week, I shifted into Earth Day mode, and talked about how the Super Bowl Host Committee, with help from Entergy, went “green” for the Super Bowl. Entergy started a more environmentally conscious approach to their operations, and tried to pass that on to viewers of this year’s Super Bowl to promote saving electricity and supporting alternative energy solutions by making an online infrastructure for donations to the cause.

OPIM = Success in Sports!

Operations and Information Management (abbreviated in academia as the field of OPIM), are definitely one driving force behind any business, but how has it been applied in the business of sports? If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you’ll know that I’m a strong believer in the power of analytics, business intelligence, and having a well operated and informed environment in any environment of business–sports being no exemption.

For any Michael Lewis readers, baseball fans, or sports movie viewers out there, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game,” as well as its recent film adaptation, “Moneyball,” demonstrate the power of business intelligence and key performance indicators (KPIs) in sports. I’ll leave the reading/watching up to you, with my strong recommendation, but let’s look at a more scholarly approach to this same idea.

David Bamford, a University of Huddersfield professor, and a specialist in Operations Management, claims that the victory of the Sky Cycling Team in the Tour de France was due to statistical analysis, looking towards new KPIs, and more importantly, using these data to make strategic decisions regarding which athletes (in cycling currently, but soon in application to a variety of sports). He claims that this data can be used to create more pure competition, which will enthrall fans, and create less distractions from the raw nature of sports.

Bamford’s work also went into analysis of the 2012 Paralympic Games, which he was able to confirm was a very successfully operated event. The data gathering method he used here was very personal and centered around athletes of the games. Everything was done in a survey format, whether online or in-person,and questions varied from satisfaction with transportation, how efficient service was, the quality of the facilities, and many other categories.

I think that Bamford’s work in these two projects were amazing demonstrations of how the field of OPIM is one of the most monumental, yet behind-the-scenes, component of the sports that we consume everyday, every game day, or even every few years. Anlong with this, obviously, we can see that Operations can contribute to the sport itself, as intimately as who our athletes are, or as indirectly as making sure that the athletes performing are able to compete in an efficient, stress-free environment, to be at the top of their game!

With my sign off for the week, I leave you all this challenge: when watching sports, live, on TV, or even watching highlight reels, think about what it takes to:

  • get sports to your living room
  • get athletes to the game
  • make an arena suitable for athletes and fans
  • create the competition that keeps you on the edge of your seat

The passion that players and athletes put into their sport can never be broken down into just dry statistics. The reason fans watch sporting events is for the very unpredictability of the outcome and the emotion and beauty of the physical performance. Operations management can aid the athlete and players by ensuring they are at the right place, with the right kit at the right time to turn in a winning performance.” –David Bamford

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