Saturday, November 8, 2008

Marketing a Sports League

Hey David Stern, Gary Bettman, Roger Goodell, and Bud Selig, listen to me -a nobody- on how to market your leagues.
Every league has their goods and bads. Here are the DO's and DONT's for those people out there who wants to start their own professional sports league - or something for the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL to mull over on marketing their leagues. (keep in mind these are things that happens within the sports organically that will attract the fanfare and i dont mean marketing by advertisements and spending money. However, commissioners can do their best to guide some of these suggestions instead of preventing)

These are the goods and necessities for creating a fan-base and attractions from new fans:

What else is more important than having superstars in your league. These people can single handedly draw in millions of fans. Think of any league and people can name the superstars not even being an advent fan. NFL-Tom Brady. NHL-Sidney Crosby. NBA-Kobe Bryant. MLB-Derek Jeter. Look at MLS and the $250Million dollar contract to David Beckham and you can see how much they believe in the Superstar factor.

All leagues need charismatic people. I am not necessarily talking about people that are asses but those who talk the talk and walk the walk. The ones that show emotions and entertain. NHL has Jeremy Roenick who speaks his mind which might not be popular with the league, but fans respect him for that. They might not be the superstar of the league, but just as important for a league. NFL-Chad Ocho Cinco Johnson. NBA-Rasheed Wallace.

Asses and BadBoys:
Now everybody hates these people, but they are the catalyst that starts controversies that are neither good nor bad enough to devastate the league. Terrell Owens, Sean Avery, Ron Artest, and Dennis Rodman when he was in the league. They are the ones that get the media attention, hence more coverage for the league, hence more people are intrigued by these players and the league. Any publicity is good publicity.

Now there are also those athletes that might not be the best player, but has the looks to bring in the lady fans. These players will get a notable mention, but not enough for a category.
Looking past the league and its' players, now we move onto the league and the sport itself.

How good is a league when a team consistently dominates. Whats the point of showing up to a game when you know your team is going to lose. Sports teams are filled with bandwagoners and these people are what keeps the league running. NFL is the best example. Arguably the best league in North America, competition and the chance of your team winning is a major factor to the greatness of the league.

Record chases:
Remember the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chase of Roger Maris's record 61? Some people might say that this event is the single reason for reviving baseball. Everybody wants to witness a record. A story to tell the next generation. "I was alive when so and so broke this record." It acts as a symbol of being part of history and leaving your mark in history.

Marquee championships:

Two great teams with history, superstars, and flamboyancy rakes in the ratings. Look at this years World Series - Phillies VS. Rays. It was one of the worst, if not the worst rated World Series matchup in history. We had a cinderella team that had a 150:1 odds of winning at the beginning of the season making it all the way to the finals and no one cared. The lack of superstars and flamboyant players really hindered the ratings. Celtics and Lakers. There you go. That is a marquee matchup with history, superstars, and vivacious players.

Finally, everybody wants a storyline, a sidenote on top of the game. Maybe two teams with bad blood or controversies - anything to have fans intrigued about the sideshow that occurs during a game. Sometimes the media create a phantom storyline just to get people interested in the game. The Steve Moore and Todd Bertuzzi incident is a perfect example of a storyline. Although very negative publicity wise for the NHL, but many storylines can be created from the incident. Stories are immeasurable and scenarious aplenty, that is what fans want to see - how the story will end.