Exploring the relationship between entertainment and profit in the sports industry
One of the challenges of sports managers today is balancing the relationship between entertainment, profit, and the value of the sport itself.
Drawing more people to the sport
People are attracted to a sport for different reasons. While true enthusiasts may be attracted to it for the skills involved and the sport itself, others may become fans for other reasons such as popularity in the press or the social scene surrounding the sport itself.
Strong business principles and sports franchise success
While talented athletes are important, it is also essential to have strong business principles in place if a team or athlete is to be successful and profitable. This may include investing heavily before seeing any significant return. A team needs a lot resources to be successful. A sports manager can help give athletes the business acumen and direction they need. Max Mosley was often called upon in the racing circuit for his business prowess and legal advice. This advice has led to Formula One racing becoming one of the hottest sports industries on an international level.
Money does help athletic performance
As much as some hate to admit it, better pay does give athletes incentive to do better, especially if it is made clear that pay increases are being based on key performance criteria. Of course, there is a limit to the effect of pay on player performance because every athlete does have their limits.
Athletes do better when paid better, but sports managers must be sure that the methods they use to increase the revenue of an athlete or sports franchise does not cause fans to turn away from the sport in the long run. More serious fans are a significant source of revenue because they tend to buy more merchandise than those involved in other aspects of the sport. While wacky antics can draw crowds, those there for the actual sport can be turned off. Just look at the Super Bowl in the US; while crowds do gather for the game of the year, it is the entertainment and half-time shows that draw the other half of fans.
Bridging the gap between shareholder and fan
Sports managers are the middlemen or women between fans and corporate shareholders. While shareholders are concerned about growth and profits, fans are more concerned about the fun and the sport. Finding a middle ground can be difficult. The key is to explain how long-term profits can actually suffer if too much value is placed on entertainment and not the sport itself.
Look to the past
Proper marketing by sports managers has led to the success of football clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester United. They are good examples of clubs that have achieved great success without diminishing their sport. They are also examples of clubs that did not have much support at one time but achieved success by scouting better talent that led to their teams winning on the pitch.