Thursday, November 11, 2010

My 2 Cents on The Last 10 Years

To watch an interesting video about the ten biggest plays in sports from CNBC please click here or watch below.  One of the biggest issues to hit sports in the last decade revolved around Tiger Woods. He has spurred interest in golf. His infidelities brought into question athletes' images as role models, how much of a public figure's private life the media should cover, an athlete's moral accountability to fans, and if people expect athletes to be perfect. 

Athletes are seen as role models more so than rock stars or actors. Even adults look to athletes to have the perfect marriage. This is true of a more "classy" sport more often enjoyed by blue bloods. Tiger Woods made golf accessible to middle class children and showed anyone with passion, dedication, and skill could excel at golf. He broke the stereo-type and became the first billionaire athlete (Badenhausen, 2009). (Read more about it here.) 

This helped create a squeaky clean image for the athlete. Now athletes are no strangers to adultery and scandal, including in the past few years Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade to name a few. But Tiger Woods seemed to receive more press and criticism than the others. Fans were asking for apologies and people were saying he should not be allowed to play. Many of these fans being parents who passed off the responsibility of being a role model to Tiger Woods. He lost sponsorship. But does Tiger Woods and other athletes have a responsibility to be moral compasses? Can they make mistakes? Or is it the nature of being famous athletes? Fans buy products that athletes endorse and lose of fans effects business. For more on evaluating whether or not to continue sponsorship with Tiger Woods read The Tiger Woods Scandal (2010).

The internet has changed the way people participate in recreation. Recreation has always been big business and the internet will continue to affect fan participation. So perhaps the internet is the biggest player in sports in the last decade. Because of more wireless more and more people are getting their sports content online. 

Fantasy sports is one example. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA, 2010) was created in 1999. Fantasy Football takes the lead in fantasy sports. According to an article from Paul R. La Monica entitled "Fantasy football...real money" "about 85 percent of all fantasy sports participants play fantasy football, mainly online" (2006). Some leagues are free and perks include boasting rights or weekly prizes and more. Google once and one will find many leagues. iPhone applications have been created. Social networking sites such as Facebook are getting in on it. It has more than 100 member companies today. This has provided a great avenue for advertisers. Fantasy football providers are advertising on sports related sites such as Sports Illustrated. 

Of course, with all these fantasy football players do broadcasters benefit? Are those players watching the games to see how the athletes on their teams perform? Or, are they going to more games? This is a good question and time will tell who stands to gain the most from fantasy football. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bringing In the Crowd

After reading an article by Steve Fall entitled, "Taking Attendance" about facilities using creativity to compensate for lower attendance. In a down economy, where live entertainment often take a hit, facilities have to think of new ways to attract a crowd and two popular methods are increasing the perceived value an event and discounting the cost of an event. 
Taking these two methods into account I have come up with some ideas. First I noticed people love to bring their children to sports events. Facilities could create "My Child's First Game" package. Parents could purchase a package that includes tickets for two adults and two children at reduced rates as well as snacks from the concessions. They can also include autographed memorabilia. This plays on sentiment, value, and discount. A parent may not be so inclined to purchase snacks from the concessions. However, they may perceive a value if all are combined. Memorabilia is an added bonus because people will have not only a proof of attendance, but also because something they later chose to sell or have appraised. 
Facilities can also introduce loyalty packages. Avid attendees can build up points and then be rewarded by a free or severely discounted ticket to a game. They may want to run this promotion for a limited time. People are more likely to take advantage of a value if they know it will not always be available. This will encourage those who may not attend the games frequently to come more often without giving away too many free tickets to those who already frequent the facilities.  A facility may use a percentage value to qualify loyalty, twelve games, for example. They could run a promotion that states, “Attend three games at regular price between October and December and receive a 30% off and 3 hot dogs and two beverages on your fourth visit.”

Auctions of exclusive events may be an avenue a facility can take. Because auctioned items do not have a cap on how much they can generate these can be a great source of revenue. People pay top dollar for exclusive items. Facilities need to sell the experience. 
As long as people believe they are getting a bargain for something they were thinking about or wanting to participate in they will bite and facilities will see an increase in attendance.