The influx of commercialization in the sports industry has created a melting pot in which the junction between sport and entertainment is a key ingredient. In the contemporary sports industry, serious and leading actors are competitively and continuously trying to find innovative ways to capitalize on this junction. Brand building and brand management are at the heart of this capitalization process and strong sports brands*, which have made themselves less dependent on middle men, have good opportinities to succeed due to more control and thus higher profits. If you are to compare the junction of sports and entertainment in the old days with how it is today, it is clear that the sports landscape has widened its framework over the years. The borders, within which this junction is at play, have been extended. Whereas this junction reflected a tendency to find itself at play in or around sports arenas, experiences centered around sports and entertainment are omnipresent today with new technologies breaking through the clutter and sports consumption patterns emphasizing the need to consume this junction ‘everywhere’. Sitting in the couch at home consuming sports on TV or being on the run consuming sports via smartphones or laptops illustrate a few methods, which have changed the sports industry. This has raised increased interest from marketers, sponsors and fans surrounding the sports industry and with increased interest comes new inventions and re-inventions so as of right now the junction is an on-going show.
Sport and the media landscape have undergone changes and so have the professionalization efforts linked to athletes, teams, events and businesses in the sports industry. As a result of the rapid commercialization and the invasion of entertainment factors into the sports industry, sports entities have become more strategic in terms of creating corporate bonds to capitalize on their activities. Supply and demand play a strategic role in the business models of the strongest sports brands in the world. In that regard, we have seen that the costs of doing business with these entities have increased significantly. Today, sport equals popular culture for the masses and sales of commercial rights have skyrocketed and so has the existence of side events linked to sports entitities. The most important learning from this junction if working with commercialization of sports is to recognize that sports businesses do not stand alone but are entangled with multiple business disciplines and that business value for stakeholders may be optimized from working seriously with this junction and from forming the right strategic alliances. To prove this point, take a look at ‘The Forbes Fab 40’, which displays the 10 most valuable sports brands in 4 separate categories. According to Forbes, these brands command “a big monetary premium to comparable rivals due to a combination of its size and profitability.” The Super Bowl is a great example of a sports entity, which has been capable of exploiting the commercial potential in the junction between sports and entertainment. It is a perfect mass show business experience for fans and advertisers.
* For more inspiration, look at the brands listed in ‘The Forbes Fab 40’.