The rapid growth of the sports industry — which doesn’t show any signs of slowing down — bodes well for those interested in pursuing related careers. But the reality is that sports businesses face more challenges than ever before when it comes to competing in the entertainment marketplace.
Successful organizations in the sports business rely on leaders who understand how to create competitive advantages. Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Master of Science in Sports Administration — Business Online has a strong marketing curriculum that can provide the educational foundation for you to become one of those future leaders.
Loyalty Isn’t What It Used to Be
The concept of brand loyalty and how to create it has evolved over the decades as outlined in a recent article by Brian Wallace on CMSWire.com. He includes a brief history of some of the major shifts and the time frame in which they occurred including:
- Pre-1950s – The best products from a quality standpoint had the best brand loyalty.
- 1950s – Product quality increased across the board and companies marketed and advertised their best qualities to attract customers.
- 1960s – Advertising campaigns and jingles became the rage with less focus on a product’s specific qualities.
- 1980s – Advertising campaigns started to become less effective, and companies began to market loyalty programs.
Another shift is occurring now with the Millennials — one of the largest generations in history — about to enter their prime spending years. Millennials aren’t as responsive to loyalty programs and, instead, use the internet to research and buy what they want when they want it.
The Effect on the Sports Business
Young Millennials have loyalty issues when it comes to sports as well — at least traditional sports. Jere Longman’s June 2017 article in the New York Times points out that Millennials are now the largest population group in the United States, yet they don’t follow traditional sports with the same fervor as their parents and grandparents did.
Both Longman’s article and Jeff Grubb’s article on VentureBeat.com from June 2017 point to the internet as the culprit for the decline in Millennial loyalty to traditional sports — and the generation’s addiction to esports or competitive gaming. Grubb points to an L.E.K. Consulting survey in which 40 percent of Millennial respondents preferred esports versus 42 percent who preferred traditional sports.
It’s not just esports distracting Millennials either. A May 2017 story by Marc Bona on Cleveland.com listed alternatives that keep Millennials away from Cleveland Indians’ games, including bars featuring video and board games and the continued popularity of craft breweries. The internet is the source of another problem here, too, as on-demand streaming video services are extremely popular with Millennials who stay home and binge-watch their favorite television shows.
Marketing to a New Generation of Sports Fans
Both the New York Times article by Longman and Bona’s story on Cleveland.com illustrate some of the ways in which sports teams are trying to attract younger fans, like offering craft beer choices to pull them out of bars and restaurants and into the ballpark.
They also highlight the difficulty in building relationships with Millennials who are increasingly favoring their mobile devices over traditional media outlets. Sports organizations should provide more digital, fantasy and esports offerings since that’s where Millennials are spending significant portions of their time, notes the Times article reference to a study by L.E.K. consulting group.
A Curriculum Designed for the Future
Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Master of Science in Sports Administration with a Business emphasis includes a strong marketing curriculum as part of the course of study.
In the Marketing Management course, you’ll use a comprehensive case study method to develop and implement marketing strategies that help your organization stand out in a crowded marketplace.
The Social Media Marketing course offers an in-depth look at social networks, social media platforms and online advertising. The course is designed to give you an advantage in positions involving marketing, consulting and brand management.
Future leaders in the sports industry will be challenged to come up with innovative ways to market their teams and businesses to a fan base with more entertainment options. Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Master of Science in Sports Administration — Business Online can provide you with a strong marketing background to face those challenges and become an effective leader in the modern sports marketplace.
Learn more about SOSU’s Master of Science in Sports Administration — Business Online.