Forces for change in sport
This is an excerpt from Applied Sport Management Skills 4th Edition With HKPropel Access by Robert N. Lussier & David C. Kimball.
Let’s examine five different forces for change:
- Environmental forces. As we noted in chapter 2, the environment is becoming increasingly global and competitive, and organizations need to align their internal and external environments.7 The NFL has been traveling to England since 2007 to showcase games for a growing fanbase, the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers showcased their rookie quarterbacks, Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence, in the 2021 games.8 Innovative organizations strive to make internal changes to stay ahead of the competition, but as they interact continually with their external environment, they often must make internal changes just to keep up.
- Economic forces. When the economy and jobs are growing, there is more money to spend on sport programs from youth through the pros and more money to spend on sport apparel, equipment, and tickets. Today more sports, such as track and field, offer a path for amateur athletes to become pros. MLB has become a sport where big-market teams, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees, can generate more revenues than small-market teams like the Florida Marlins. Thus, the big-market teams can afford to spend more money to acquire star players. More star players mean more fan and media interest. For example (in 2019, before the pandemic), the Los Angeles Dodgers had an average of 49,065 fans for their home games compared to the Florida Marlins who had only an average of 10,016 fans for theirs.9 The MLB luxury tax for the 2021 season (after the pandemic) was set at $210 million. The luxury tax has steadily increased from season to season. Although it seems that certain teams have star-laden rosters, there are financial penalties to be paid for exceeding the luxury tax. The Dodgers have been consistently above the luxury threshold.10
Social forces. The sociology of sports is an academic discipline that has evolved significantly in the past 40 years. Social forces cause the popularity of sports to increase and decrease. You may not know it, but bowling was once a popular professional sport. Social forces also lead to the maxim that everyone loves a winner—fan attendance at games does change during winning and losing streaks.
Social factors in sport can include internal motivation, extrinsic motivation, competition, reputation, excitement, accountability, social support, networking, income and employment, gender, and race.11 Imagine you are part of a 30-person spinning exercise class. Because of the social pressures, working out with a group will keep you more accountable for showing up and exercising. This helps keep you consistent in completing your exercise program. The social fabric of competing against friends, being part of the leaderboard, and enjoying the music can take place at a Soul Cycle club or by using the Peloton app in your own home.12
- Demographic forces. Teams must take into consideration the diverse populations in their marketplaces. As the U.S. white population continues to decrease and Hispanic and other minorities increase, teams should recruit minorities who will attract fans.13 We will discuss diversity later in this chapter.
- Technological forces. Sport apparel and equipment companies such as Nike and Under Armour continue to improve their products to improve athletic performance. Information technology has changed the way we get our sports. Fewer sport fans are reaching their sport news from print newspapers and traditional TV broadcasts. Fans are increasingly watching their sport news from their mobile devices. Today, fans can use their mobile phones to get directions to the stadium, buy their tickets online, get a mobile ticket to park, and order their food online using an online menu.14 What devices do you use?
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