In recent years, there has been tremendous growth in the use of sports industry market research to drive day-to-day business decisions. With data science, digital marketing and the internet making large scale data collection and data storage possible, organizations and leagues now have valuable data at their fingertips. Interpreting the data and putting the conclusions into operations is the next hurdle, and this challenge has encouraged many institutions within the sport industry to bring on staff internally to facilitate the management and implementation of the market research.
The title of traditional market researcher or analyst is becoming obsolete as the meaning is subjective to each club and organization that employs these strategies. In one instance you may have a professional who is adept at managing an influx of syndicated research data from various sources. Another instance may present an individual who is well versed in designing survey questionnaires and performing foundational data collection. Yet another organization may have a person who readily analyzes data, hunts for trends and takes actionable steps based on the findings. To make matters more complex, a marketing research analyst with one league may have 15 years of industry experience, whereas an analyst in another organization may be an intern completing their Master in Sports Management degree which opens the door to energetic students ready to make a name for themselves.
Needs for research arise from different places across the sports industry and fluctuate across the globe. The following examples show how different organizations use market research services.
PROFESSIONAL LEAGUES USE SPORTS INDUSTRY MARKET RESEARCH DIFFERENTLY
A market researcher within a professional sport industry can manage various tasks and roles. Media ratings and broadcast research have high importance because leagues normally reatain a portion, if not all, of their television rights. All major sport leagues utilize media researchers who mine ratings data to support the rights fees and advertising fees procured. Sports industry media research also helps to corroborate contractual obligations that leagues owe to sponsors and advertisers.
A market researcher, whether a veteran or recent graduate, can produce various levels of the internal consumer research needed across multiple departments based on needs. Primary consumers of research include the sponsorship, ticketing, and marketing departments. A league office needs to understand consumer behaviors and perceptions as they affect the branding of the league, league partners, and league markets.
Finally, a market researcher at a professional sport league often serves in the role of advisor or consultant to its member clubs. Not all firms have the same resources available in terms of staff and budgets, but a league office or confederations does not want to look across its members and see inconsistencies in their marketing efforts. A league office or organization like FIFA, for example, wants to provide as many marketing resources as possible to empower member clubs and strengthen their business operations. Budgeting for marketing research ensures that teams are maximizing the margins in good times and minimizing the impact on revenues in bad times.
PROFESSIONAL SPORT PROPERTIES
Generally, we have seen the use of market research on a day-to-day basis at the professional level increase substantially over the past five years. While some teams and organizations invest large sums of their budget to research, some do hardly any. But, at the most basic level, the vast majority of professional sports organizations collect fan feedback.
Topics frequently covered include event satisfaction (ticketing, concessions, parking, ushers, and so on), season-ticket holder satisfaction, ticket intent, and fan segment profiling. These studies help an organization keep their finger on the who, what, when, where, why, and how of their fans and helps them cater their services to satisfy the demand. This means marketing and ticketing departments use this feedback to create promotions, ticket packages, and at-event features.
HOW DO MASTER IN SPORTS MANAGEMENT GRADUATES FIT INTO THE EQUATION
Now, more than ever, in the age of digital technologies and the evolving landscape of the coronavirus, Master in Sports Management graduates are highly marketable. With digital competencies, and the ability to navigate the online sphere with ease graduates often have the advantage over industry veterans who may not have adapted to the viral wave. Innovation will be the key to the recovery of the industry that has been put on hold. Having an agile mindset will be pinnacle to the incumbent’s success.
Position yourself as a leader in sports management. Learn about the evolution of sports market research and how organizations are positioning their comeback as society tries to resume some sense of normalcy or the “new age of normal.” Redefine the industry and help shape the next chapter in sport’s history.
GBSB Global Business School’s Master’s in Sports Management program is designed to teach students how to identify, monitor, manage, and influence the business dynamics and functions that power sports organizations today. Our graduates enter the field ripe with state-of-the-art strategies and ambition to foster the best marketing possible.
Interested how you might fit into the game plan? Contact GBSB Global’s Admissions Department for more information.