Sports and Business – What’s the Connection…

78461030   This is a pretty busy sport’s weekend, especially if you are football fan – which I am! Although I do follow other sports, I will admit that I do not spend nearly as much time watching other sports as I do football – just do not find them as interesting.

So as I sit here today watching the playoffs evolve and then get tasked with writing my blog post, I got to thinking a little about how sports and business really have quite a bit in common. After all, the argument could be made that in reality sports is nothing more than big business! Sure we get hung up on who makes the playoffs and wins the big game – especially if it is our very own team, but let’s not forget that each season there are franchises that count on a budgeted amount of revenue from tickets sales, apparel sales, food and drink sales and even parking income to help fund the huge amount of player salaries that we read about every year. And don’t forget the income from television and radio as well!

To continue the analogies,  just as businesses are tasked with advertising and marketing, so too are your favorite sports team. They continually are out there promoting themselves across a wide variety of media – radio, television, print, social media, etc. The better job they do, and the more revenue they will generate – sound familiar? Of course they typically have a pretty strong budget to work with, but even more the reason they need to try to “knock it out of the ballpark” with a new campaign, and one that is typically very interactive with the fans. They will even team up with other businesses to offer co-marketing opportunities, such as those that provide giveaways at games or pay huge amounts of money to have a stadium named after them.

Another area that has a strong correlation to business is that of player personnel. While most of us in business could not even think about paying the type of salaries that sports teams do, none the less we also have similar personnel challenges. Fortunately most of our changes are not as public as those in sports, on the other hand, perhaps we could learn from them! Sports teams are continually evaluating talent. Who are the new draft picks that will make a difference, versus perhaps some players that have passed their prime? Do they have contracts that become excessive over time, when someone is not living up to the expectations? Do they make a trade for some one on another team? When a mistake is made, they hear about it, and the pressure is always on to make the right choices – we should be as diligent in business!

When a business does a good job, they will receive a testimonial. If they are continually doing well by their customers, they will build on this and grow. It will become a place that others want to work at.. a reputation will be built and they will truly become successful! The same can be said about the perennial champions in a given sport. Their fans will go crazy and paint their faces even to show support! They will flood the streets after a championship is won – just to celebrate and promote their favorite team. The enthusiasm and faithfulness is unbelievable! On the other hand, when a team loses – and regularly, then the fans are not bashful about letting them know – this just is not acceptable! Social media will go crazy with people offering their advice – the press will take every opportunity to evaluate the problems, and at the end of the year… the drop in ticket sales or revenue loss from apparel sales will make an impact and reinforce the need for change. Want an example of this? Just check out the Chicago Bears this last year!

What other similarities are their between sports and business? Who are your favorite teams?



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