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Course Report: Accelerated Sports Management Program – Part 2

This is the second in a series of posts reporting on the Accelerated Sports Management Program run by Infront Consulting and Stride Sports Management.

This week’s lecture focused on Marketing, Media and Endorsements and their application in regards to Athletes. Catering to many students who had little knowledge in marketing, the course began with a quick lesson in regards to the Marketing Mix, in particular in relation to the Marketing P’s.

The first guest speaker of the day was Dr. Sheila Nguyen, who is currently a lecturer at Deakin University. Dr. Nguyen spent much of her time in the US, having previously worked for William Morris and helped market many leagues and brands, including the NFL. In fact, she was part of the team responsible for creating the movie “Invicible” starring Mark Wahlberg.

Dr. Nguyen’s insight to the industry was a fascinating one, and drawing on her many facets of experience she garnered a valuble blueprint to follow. The marketing of a sports property does not follow a direct chain, but rather it works in a circle. The Marketing Circle includes Assessing, Measuring, Optimizing, Fine Tuning and Implementation. Once completed, the cycle begins again, as the said property should be continually assessed. Drawing on many examples from the US, she highlighted where marketers got things right, and where they failed.

Another point Dr Nguyen brought up was in regards to the public’s perception of what sports marketers do. Surveying sports fans close to her, she concluded that the public think all sports marketers do are give away items, create billboards and sell merchandise. She described this as only 10% of what actual sports marketers do.

The next part of session had a heavy focus on branding and promotion. Sporting Teams and Athletes are unique in the sense that they have a high level of brand loyalty. Due to this, sports marketers need to approach their objectives differently. Looking at the history of sports advertising, the class came to an interesting conclusion. In the 90’s you would see Athletes eating fast food when promoting them in ads. Nowadays, the ads cut away prior to Athletes eating. This could be due to the public’s perception changing in regards to healthier eating. One just needs to look at the MJ/Larry Bird McDonalds ad and the Dwight Howard/Lebron James one of recent times.

The second round of special guests of the day were Sports Agent Tom Petroro and his client, current AFL player Nick Dal Santo.┬áTom started off by looking through all the avenues of endorsements, and how each related to Australian Football League clients. Most notably, he mentioned that many of the top players set up a company that owns their image rights, ensuring that they are protected. Once Nick Dal Santo arrived, Tom and Nick discussed the subject from an Athlete’s point of view. Nick Dal Santo currently has deals with Puma and Channel 9 (In regards to “The Footy Show”), and mentioned what obligations he has to these companies.

This was the first of a two-part module on Media, Marketing and Endorsements. The next report will conclude with the second half.