Sports Marketing
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Sports Marketing

Michael J. J. Fetchko, Donald P. P. Roy, Kenneth E. Clow

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eBook - ePub

Sports Marketing

Michael J. J. Fetchko, Donald P. P. Roy, Kenneth E. Clow

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About This Book

Highly practical and engaging, Sports Marketing equips students with the skills, techniques, and tools they need to be successful marketers in any sporting environment.

The book combines scholarly theory with the perspectives of those who have been actively involved in the sports business. A worldwide range of examples from all levels of sports, as well as insider expertise, strongly ties classroom learning to real-world practice, and assures students that the theory is relevant. New material includes:

• Expanded coverage of marketing analytics and the use of market-driven tactics showing students how to strengthen customer relationships and maximize profits

• Greater attention to the impact of new technologies on customer relationships, such as social media, content marketing, ticketing strategies, and eSports, ensuring students are exposed to the latest advancements in marketing for sports

• A stronger global focus throughout the book, including several new cases from outside the U.S., as well as coverage of international sporting organizations, such as FIFA and the ever popular English Premier League

• Six new "You Make the Call" short cases to offer opportunities for analysis and decision making in sectors of sports marketing including sports media, experiential events, and eSports

These popular "You Make the Call" cases and review questions stimulate lively classroom discussion, while chapter summaries and a glossary further support learning. Sports Marketing will give students of sports marketing and management a firm grasp of the ins and outs of working in sports.

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Chapter 1

Sports Meets Marketing

By the end of this chapter you should be able to:
1.Describe the characteristics of sports marketing
2.Discuss the three roles of marketing in sports organizations
3.Summarize the evolution and history of sports marketing
4.Describe contributing factors in the growth of sports and sports marketing
5.Define the components of the framework of sports marketing


You probably have encountered the influence of Arthur Blank without knowing it. Blank, along with Bernie Marcus, founded home improvement retailer The Home Depot. In the 1970s, the two men were executives for Handy Dan, a chain of home improvement stores. After Blank and Marcus were fired from Handy Dan in 1978, they joined forces to start The Home Depot. The first two stores were opened the following year in Atlanta, which is still the location of the corporation’s headquarters. Under the leadership of Blank and Marcus, The Home Depot rose to become the nation’s largest home improvement retailer and second largest retailer overall, second only to Wal-Mart. Blank retired from The Home Depot as co-chairman in 2001.
Two of Arthur Blank’s passions are the city of Atlanta and sports. Blank found an outlet for putting these two passions together when he purchased the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise in 2002 for $545 million. The franchise had been owned by the Rankin Smith family since it joined the NFL, and aside from an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999 (a loss to the Denver Broncos), the Falcons had been mired in mediocrity for the better part of four decades. When Blank bought the Falcons, he made his top two priorities improving player personnel and persuading more fans to attend games at the Georgia Dome. He would face a major challenge in making the Falcons successful, as the team ranked near the bottom of the NFL in average attendance and revenues.
Arthur Blank brought the marketing magic he worked with The Home Depot to the Falcons franchise. The team conducted surveys and focus groups to find out what fans wanted in their relationship with the Falcons. Some of the responses to fan feedback were relatively minor in impact, such as stocking concession stands with more ketchup and straws. Other responses were rather bold. In an unusual move, Blank lowered ticket prices for 25,000 seats. He purchased land in downtown Atlanta to improve parking options for fans attending games. And, in response to fans’ feedback that they did not want to be exposed to commercial messages during games, the team opted not to sell in-game advertising spots. These changes led to the Falcons enjoying their first sold-out season in more than 20 years.
A state-of-the-art stadium plays a major role in the Atlanta Falcons, creating great experiences for fans.
Under the leadership of Arthur Blank, the Atlanta Falcons have striven to build relationships with the Atlanta community. Blank, long known for his philanthropic efforts in the Atlanta area, brought that focus to the Falcons. The team’s charity went from raising a few hundred thousand dollars when Blank bought the team to an annual fundraising figure of about $2 million. All members of the organization are encouraged to be involved in charity and community work. Blank personally donates $2 for every dollar given to charities by anyone in his organization, up to a $10,000 match.
Although the Atlanta Falcons have enjoyed their share of on-field success in recent years, including a trip to Super Bowl LI following the 2016 season, Arthur Blank’s crowning achievement in sports may be the state-of-the-art stadium he envisioned for Atlanta. Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in 2017 at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. The new venue has amenities such as wi-fi access throughout the stadium, a 360-degree HD video board, and more practical features including more restrooms and wider seats.1 While fans attending events at Mercedes-Benz will enjoy modern conveniences and comfort, the venue will minimize its environmental impact. Construction of a storm vault to catch rainwater addresses a flooding problem. Water collected will be used for the stadium’s irrigation and cooling needs. Installation of 4,000 solar panels is another sustainability initiative, providing enough energy for nine Falcons games a year. A payoff of the water and solar programs is that Mercedes-Benz Stadium will use 47% less water and 29% less energy.2


Marketing of sports has become a big business because of the millions of dollars at stake. As a result, sports properties have searched for the very best people to fill those marketing roles. The authors of this textbook have reached out to those talented people for information about how marketing is really done, in the trenches. While theory and concepts are introduced, they are presented through the input of marketing professionals. In each chapter, you will hear from these sports marketing professionals in features called “Insider Insights.” Each individual has been very influential within his company and within the field of sports marketing. Here is the list of experts you will meet in future chapters:
Insider Experts
Row 1 (left-right):
Sean Hanrahan, senior vice president marketing solutions, ESPN
Derek Schiller, president of business, Atlanta Braves
Chris Eames, vice president customer marketing and sales, ESPN
Row 2 (left-right):
Rob Farinella, CEO, Blue Sky Agency
Tom McMillan, Pittsburgh Penguins
Tom Hoof, vice president marketing, Arizona Coyotes
Andrew Saltzman, executive vice president & chief revenue officer, Atlanta Hawks & Philips Arena
Row 3 (left-right):
Dennis Adamovich, CEO, College Football Hall of Fame
Scott McCune, founder, McCune Sports & Entertainment Ventures
Jeff Gregor, chief catalyst officer, Turner
Sports marketing experts share their expertise throughout the book. Biographical sketches for the industry experts can be found in the Appendix.


The customer focus Arthur Blank developed in a home improvement retail store and brought to professional football illustrates how the marketing of sports has both similarities to and differences from the marketing of other goods and services. Blank led The Home Depot to its success by emphasizing customer service and creating a positive brand experience for customers. Quality and customer focus are fundamental to marketing. Any brand that excels in these areas can be competitive regardless of the industry in which it competes. However, differences exist between marketing home improvement products and sports such as football. For example, pricing a ceiling fan or other home improvement merchandise is not comparable to pricing tickets to a football game, since the latter is perishable. When the game is over, any unsold tickets and empty seats are lost revenue. They cannot be sold later.
The marketing methods that influence customers to visit a retail store have similarities to persuading fans to attend a sporting event. But there are also significant differences. This textbook explores sports marketing with the recognition that the field has its idiosyncrasies but yet is rooted in basic marketing concepts.


A natural starting point to begin any study of a topic such as sports marketing is defining the concept and justifying its relevance. In this case, before defining sports marketing it may be useful to take a step backward and define the term marketing. When new marketing students are asked to define marketing, it is common for definitions to include such keywords as advertising, selling, or persuading. These words all describe marketing activities in which an organization might engage, but marketing is much more than those activities. A comprehensive definition of marketing developed by the American Marketing Association (AMA) states that “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”3 This definition captures the various activities marketers undertake and acknowledges the strategic nature of marketing. Also, the AMA definition identifies key stakeholder groups to which an organization is accountable. While accountability to customers and clients may be stating the obvious, this definition of marketing calls on marketers to realize a higher level of responsibility to create a positive impact on the communities in which they do business and on society at large.
While sports marketing is based on marketing principles, the nature of sports and its customers requires special consideration. Sports marketing can be defined as the use of marketing for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging sports experiences that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society. It is important to note that sports marketing is made up of two distinct elements: 1) marketing of sports and 2) marketing through sports. It is common for many stude...

Table of contents

Citation styles for Sports Marketing
APA 6 Citation
Fetchko, M., Roy, D., & Clow, K. (2018). Sports Marketing (2nd ed.). Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from (Original work published 2018)
Chicago Citation
Fetchko, Michael, Donald Roy, and Kenneth Clow. (2018) 2018. Sports Marketing. 2nd ed. Taylor and Francis.
Harvard Citation
Fetchko, M., Roy, D. and Clow, K. (2018) Sports Marketing. 2nd edn. Taylor and Francis. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Fetchko, Michael, Donald Roy, and Kenneth Clow. Sports Marketing. 2nd ed. Taylor and Francis, 2018. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.