Alexis Pinson - Global Sports Markets

By Alexis Pinson '14

There are very few things in the world that can bring people together like sports and the thrill of competition. The global sports market is bigger than it ever was and new leaders are developing everyday. I am going to focus on three regions of the world that have presented themselves as emerging markets in the sporting world – The United Kingdom, Asia Pacific, and South America.


The United Kingdom
I have pinpointed the U.K. as an important leader in the global sports market due to the NFL and the NBA both holding regular season contests in England. North America accounts for 41% of the world’s sports market which means that the world pays close attention and takes note of the trends and patterns of our sporting realm. For the NFL, the most prominent and successful league in North America, to identify London as an ideal location to showcase their international presence really speaks volumes about the influence that the U.K. has on the global market.


Londoners have really seemed to embrace the NFL when it has taken its games to Wembley Stadium. The most recent London matchup was between the San Francisco 49er’s and the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 27th of this year where the 49er’s defeated the Jaguars 42-10. The Jaguars were the designated home team for the game which drew 83,559 fans. That is a huge attendance number for an NFL game especially for a team that is struggling as bad as Jacksonville is this year. I’m not even sure they’re averaging 8,000 fans a game at their true home stadium.


Whether they like it or not, Londoners may be forced to become Jaguars fans as the team has signed a contract to play one regular season game at Wembley through 2016. There is even a fan club dedicated to U.K. Jaguars fans called the Union Jax. What do you think of the NFL marketing one of the worst teams in the league to foreign markets? Is it a smart money-making ploy to generate higher ticketing revenue than at its home stadium or is a slap in the face to all NFL fans to reduce the chances they get to see their team in person?


Asia Pacific
The Asia Pacific region of the world has stood out to me as global leader in worldwide sporting events due to it having the largest component of sports sponsorship sales in the world. This tells me that brands and companies see this area of the world as having extreme valuable and worth taking a risk on. This movement was due in large part to the great success that Beijing had as host of the 2008 Summer Olympics. It really showed how this part of the world can capture a global audience and be a welcoming host to all different cultures.


These factors and more were a crucial reason why Tokyo was chosen as the host for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Tokyo has the largest 4.5 billion-dollar GDP which is the highest of any city in the world. This astounding GDP number is a reinforcing factor of why Asia has that control on sports sponsorships and we all know by now that sponsor ships are what drive revenue in sports. In fact, it is the commitment from sponsors such as Mizuno and Yahoo! to the just the bid process itself that helped Tokyo win the bid from the IOC to host the 2020 Olympiad. You can only imagine what other sponsors besides the traditional Olympic ones will sign on because of the strong draw that the Asia Pacific market can pull. The success that Tokyo and the entire region has seen in the landscape of sports sponsorships is a crucial factor in why this area is emerging as global sports leader. Do you agree that Tokyo was the best candidate for hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics?


South America
South America has seen the largest recent growth in the global sports market and that is evidenced by the dramatic increase of media rights in the region. Since 2010, global advertising expenditures have increased by 4.2% which is the highest growth rate in the world. These rates are expected to increase even more with the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics both being held in Brazil. Brazil is hoping that the sponsors will see such success in these events that they will continue their presence in the country long after the World Cup and Olympics are over.


One interesting tactic that Brazil is employing for the Olympics is implementing a new tax law that allows taxpayers to invest a portion of their taxes to programs designed to help fund the 2016 Olympic games. This stuck out to me because I am curious to see how much money is raised through this platform. I imagine that if it were successful, other international sporting events would be more intrigued to consider Brazil when choosing a location. I’m sure that other countries will also be keeping an eye on Brazil and this strategy and attempt to copy it if it serves its purpose. What are your thoughts on this practice and do you think this tactic has helped or hindered Brazil on the global stage?



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