Posts Tagged ‘Sport’

United States in Olympic Lockout

August 31, 2011 1 comment

It seems money is standing between the United States and hosting the Olympic Games

Every four years the world comes together despite any conflict or disagreements to participate in the Olympic Games. The Summer Games brings competitive sports such as Track & Field, Basketball, Swimming and Diving to the worlds eyes. We all remember Michael Phelps eight gold medals of the 2008 Beijing games or the 2004 Athens games where the United States lost in the 400m Relay by a step to Great Britain. What many don’t remember is the last time the United States hosted the Summer Olympic Games. Unfortunately, this will continue as the United States Olympic Committee has announced they will not be bidding for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky released a statement stating “Our focus is on other things,” including preparations for next year’s summer games in London and ongoing negotiations for a new revenue-sharing arrangement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “That precluded us from being focused on any sort of bidding process”

USOC Spokesman Patrick Sandusky

Apparently the bidding was cancelled due to a revenue split dispute between the USOC and the IOC. Currently the United States sponsors generate the most revenue and naturally the USOC receives the biggest portion of this revenue at nearly 13 percent of the Television money and 20 percent of the sponsorship money. The current revenue spilt has resulted in a troubled relationship with the IOC. It is because of this relationship that the U.S. has failed in two previous bids for the Olympic Games including the most recent Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games that will be hosted in Rio. Sandusky stated “Until that deal is done we would not be in a position to potentially bid.” U.S. cities such as Las Vegas, Tulsa, Minneapolis, Dallas, New York, and Chicago were interested in potentially hosting the 2020 Summer Games.

The United States has not hosted the Summer Games since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, GA in 1996

With the U.S. not bidding for the 2020 games the U.S. will go at least 28 years until they host a Summer games.  I remember when I was seven years old driving through Atlanta and seeing all the glory that is the Olympic Games. An experience I believe to many American citizens are being stripped of because a money dispute. Sound familiar? Seems as if we have just ended the NFL Lockout, just started the NBA Lockout, now we have another Lockout on our hands. Lockout seems to be the trend of the year in the sports world. Just to give you a idea of how long its been since the Summer Games was hosted on American Soil lets see what has changed since 1996:

  • Bill Clinton was President (Good Times)
  • U.S. average gas price per gallon was $1.23 ( less than a 1/3 of what it is today)
  • “Macarena” was on the top of the Billboard 100 (Ha!)
  • E.R. on NBC was the most popular T.V. Show
  • Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowl XXX
  • Chicago beat Seattle in the NBA Finals (Yeah, Seattle)
I believe the list above speaks for itself. If we’ve learned anything from the NFL Lockout is that when it comes to money, two parties will not give up easy. Unlike the NFL Labor Dispute the demands are not clearly cut out. Whatever it takes I hope the USOC and the IOC reach their deal while I’m still young. If its money the USOC is concerned about, they will make plenty of it by entering a bid and potentially hosting the games.. Their are several short term and long term benefits to hosting the Olympic Games such as the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, increase tourism revenue, new facilities that will bring in revenue to the host city, and also the groups and events the Olympics will bring during and after the Games.Moral of the story, its been to long. We need to bring the games back to the United States!

Viewing Parties Potential as the Next Best Thing

Through out the NBA Playoffs we’ve seen the Miami Heat and recently the Dallas Mavericks host Watching Parties when their team was on the road. These parties are free, with the exception of parking, and give the fans a home game feeling as hundreds of fans usually show up to support their team as they watch on the big screen.

Miami Heat fans gather outside American Airlines Arena to watch Game 5 of the Heat vs Bulls series

Seeing the reaction of the Dallas fans at their home arena during Game 2 of the NBA Finals as well as how many fans there were I begin to think, what if this became a every game thing in the NBA Finals and maybe during the regular season for highly anticipated games? Also what if teams sold tickets to these viewing parties?

Dallas fans watch their Mavericks play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the American Airline Center.

Teams could make revenue on both home and away games during the post-season. Fans always gather together to watch big games. Friends get together, either at home or at bars and restaurants, order food, and cheer on their team. Fans would be able to gather in bigger groups and watch games at their home arena with hundreds of other fans. It’s no secret that games are more entertaining to watch when you are surrounded by people who support the same team.

Tickets for Viewing Parties would be sold at the beginning of each series.  Initially tickets would be general admission, but could potentially lead to normal game seating based on demand. To encourage more fans to purchase these tickets, each ticket could include some sort of concession discount or coupon. Fans gather together to watch games as is, certainly given the opportunity to watch their game not only together, but in their home arena fans would come in packs. In-Game Promotions could be used for giveaways and contests just as they would be if the game was being played at that arena. You would want to create a near identical game experience. The revenue from these Viewing Parties would not  a franchise, but it would be revenue none the less and you can never have to much of that.

I believe this idea has the potential to take off, not only in Basketball, but Hockey as well. With a series Hockey fans could watch games in their home arena.  I know WHEN the Pistons make the finals again I’d love to go back to the Palace and watch a game on the big screen.

Marketing A Bad Team

September 24, 2010 1 comment

As a Michigan resident and Lions fan I’ve had the pleasure of having many of the Lions games “Blackout”. For a while when I said I was “watching the game” that meant I was sitting at my computer waiting for updates on ESPN’s Gamecast. I can still remember sitting at my computer during the 2009 season and seeing that the Lions were within the five yard line with seconds to go against the Cleveland Browns. I waited for 25 minutes before the final score came up. So how does a team avoid getting blackout? Well sell out, but that’s of course easier said then done. Winning teams fight to keep their tickets online, while losing teams fight to get people in the stadium. So how do you go about marketing a losing team to get people in the stadium? Make the customers’ experience, affordable, unique and memorable. As a intern for the University of Michigan Sport Marketing department I have the pleasure of doing a lot of marketing for the Big House. Even when the team was losing we still managed to get over a 100,000 fans in the stadium. Of course this has little to do with the marketing, but more on the tradition of the Big House. Being at a Michigan game, regardless of how the team is doing, is an experience like no other. Aside from the football, I also get to participate in the marketing for some of the lesser known sports such as Field Hockey, Gymnastics, and Track & Field. Increasing attendance at these sporting events is a little more difficult as you can imagine. People are less interested in these sports and naturally less likely to come. To give students and fans incentives to come we offer giveaways, food, and other prizes for people to come. For many games or events here at Michigan the students are given free pizza or hot dogs.

Ford Field during a good game

The Detroit Lions offered good deals on their concessions such as free refills on soda and popcorn at their home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. You want to attract fans to the games with the free food and prizes, but you want them to stay for the experience they had. You want to them to think of the sporting event when they are deciding how to entertain themselves or friends and family. You can’t continue to give free food for every event, but you can provide a great experience for them. The Lions are lucky in the since that they finally seem to have a team being put together. After a very successful draft and busy off-season the Lions have a building defense and a young offense with high potential. The new team facing the “Worst Team In The League” title is the St Louis Rams. The Rams are out to an expected 0-2 . St Louis is slightly different from Detroit in the sense that one decade ago St Louis was a threat. Detroit has not had an amazing team, a team worth watching, since the 1950s when they had one of the best secondaries in the league. St Louis made the right move and drafted QB Sam Bradford with the first pick of the 2010 draft. Now the Rams only need a couple of rebuilding years to strengthen their team. They need to make sure they hold the fan base by keeping the atmosphere of the games high, because god knows it won’t be the success of their team that keeps them coming back.

Teams that are going through struggling years need to keep the atmosphere of their games high. Fans incentives for coming to games is to see their team win. When the team struggles to get those necessary wins it is up to the franchise marketing department and provide the atmosphere  to give fans incentives to buy tickets and come to the games. Most fans (excluding the life long die-hard fans) will use the excuse “I’m not going to pay to see my team get killed. I will be a fan from my own home and keep my money in my pocket until they prove to me they can win games again.” Providing that atmosphere will get fans to the games.