1. Aim, objectives and feasibility of the dissertation
The aim of this dissertation is to seek out what type of marketing strategies International Basketball Federations use in order to develop the game within developing markets?
In terms of feasibility, references to journal articles, finding and interviews that will be conducted with authors as well as sports marketing and management professionals hopes to shed light on this area. Furthermore interviews with respective officials close to federations will give further depth and understanding of how practices have been developed and are developing constantly. Finally, there will also be accounts given, of respective executives from multinational sports agencies, a premium European sports broadcasting provider to get an indepth view of the media aspect of the basketball industry, and how growth and affects of the marketing efforts vary on a global scale.
Basketball has evolved from a means of physical exercise into entertainment as well as a business on and off the court making it one of, if not the most profitable medium for companies seeking visibility as well as profit from alternative marketing resources. As Emekci (2013) states in his empirical work there are different variables that cause how marketing strategies are put into effect, yet pinpointing the best practices is a discussion for future research.
While in today's economy conglomerates as well as multinational companies seek more and more exposure to push their products to market and increase visibility, apart from coming in second to soccer/football, basketball has become revered as an appealing medium where strategic partnerships allow for businesses to find alternate success outside of mainstream business venues. It is therefore that strategic marketing while having an appeal, as discussed by Andreff & Staudohar, (2000, p.258) on its own does not have enough to attract big money. Therefore with the help of media elements and strategic planning conglomerates and multinational companies find place to invest in an array of diverse sides of the sport, such as sponsorship and marketing communications.
A part of this work will attempt to show how companies are trying to entice their customers through branding and alternative marketing solutions as Horsmann (2011) points out, by making themselves not only on a retail scale but also commercially viable.
This work will aim at proving the effectiveness of how sponsorship and its best practices mentioned by Alex and Ris et al. (2007) bring about funds for international basketball federations and how this in effect reflects on international business overall.
While more and more international federations are attempting to expand their reach via marketing globally and seek opportunities into other nations as Khan (2010) states it does give results and also creates an opportunity for the global stance of the sport of basketball to be elevated.
Given the evidence that, international businesses that are willing to place large amounts of investments and sponsorships into a line of business where they get a high value of return both in the short and long haul outside of their regular scope brings on the true trigger. Its therefore worth figuring out exactly, what type of marketing strategies International Basketball Federations use in order to develop the game within developing markets?
So to sum up, looking at accounts given by professionals in the field that directly deal with the subject matter, strategically planning, marketing, seeking out sponsorship deals with MNCs & conglomerates trying to find funds to seek-out advancement for the game and broaden the horizon of respective developing federations is what this work hopes to reach in terms of objectives.
2. Literature review
Basketball is among the world's recognized and widely enjoyed sports that has high entertainment and market value. In developed markets, basketball has been commercialized to a large extent. Based on the high commercialization in the basketball industry, good market strategies are required to help steer the game to greater heights for markets that are emerging so that markets can be explored as the game is developed as stated by Farrelly, Quester and Burton (1997, pp. 170-182). Commercialization of this sport implies that basketball federations as the key players must take positive steps towards the strategic marketing of the game to ensure real benefits are obtained as Çalışlar (2009) explains in his work the given fact that big brands are figuring out irregular ways of communicating with masses sports and specific kinds of games are appealing more. To ensure successful marketing of basketball, international federations have deployed effective marketing strategies like sponsorship, partnerships and community projects that have had impact. However, it is vital to listen in to the fact that basketball in this case is treated like a product of the international federations which must be given the appropriate attention. Part of the attention needed for effective strategic marketing of the game must involve the accurate application of marketing mix which is empirically researched by Jackson and Andrews (1996, pp. 57- 64). Good marketing mix of product, promotion, place and price will steer basketball as a sport to greater heights in developing markets as stated by Ferrell & Hartline (2008, pp.12-16).
Sponsorship has been pointed out as one of the most effective avenues of this game since expansion efforts have been first made use of by the leading league and international federation, the National Basketball Association of the United States (Ratten and Ratten 2011, pp. 614-620). Just like the marketing of any other product available, the kind of sponsorship(s) needed to market basketball in any developed market must take note of the accuracy of marketing mix needed. The starting point of good sponsorship(s) as a strategic marketing strategy for basketball is based open the image as well as the branding of the sponsor in the market. At this point, federation required to take note of the element of place in the marketing mix plan. A company with good corporate image selected for basketball sponsorship will help place the game in the right minds that would come to assist or join the game. Although all federations around the globe have managed to secure various sponsorships, the difference between successful and failing federation measured in terms of sponsorships deals. Based on this, it is important for international federations to consider ascertain or signing sponsorship deals with companies of good image to society such will help draw people close to the game. Apart from the corporate image of the sponsor, it is important that the fiscal stability of the sponsor is considered (Mullin, Hardy & Sutton 2007, pp. 22-24). This is necessary to ensure the federation and the teams involved getting appropriate funding.
In order to get sponsors, international federations have a lot to do to ensure they offer attractive settings for them as Lardinoit & Quester (2001) point out. It is important to take note of the fact sponsors are not found waiting for teams or federations to sponsor them. However, these sponsors are attracted by good management as well as marketability. Based on this it is important for federations to deploy high organization of their offices and leagues as away of attracting sponsors. Most sponsors prefer sponsoring or putting their money in well organized federations (Oates and Polumbaum 2004, pp. 187-210). Based on this, it is important to note that the research intended to be done through this dissertation intends to show that good management is part of the marketing strategies needed to attract good sponsors. Furthermore, apart from sponsorships, partnering is another marketing strategy needed place basketball in the right global map for emerging markets. Partnership in the sports environment involves joining other organizations or agencies in giving back to the community (Flores 2004, pp. 31-35). It is therefore important for international federations to seek good partnerships to allow them place basketball close to members of the society in developing markets to gain probable market interests as well as become visible and likable overall. Most partnership activities involve conducting basketball clinics to pick talents within the society, either to improve on the local basketball efforts or to figure out talent in a sense of whom to reachout to in business terms. Based on the cost involved in identifying and mentoring talents basketball-wise, it is important that international federations get good partnerships from top tier companies which this research also hopes to point to via quantifable statistics. Just like in attracting sponsorships, partners must also be attracted through well organized leagues as Yoshida and James (2010) state as customer satisfaction brings about retention, which should ideally be headed by said international federations, the organization of the leagues alone is not enough to attract good partnerships. This implies that these federations must show well developed structures of identifying and nurturing strategies that will allow them to be favoured.
Given that all published works in part point out that strategic marketing has been a given success factor for federations in developed countries to improve on their value, no work has shed light on how developing or emerging markets in terms of the game of basketball can improve, it will be the objective of this research to make use of points raised through prior works.
3. Research methodology and methods
The qualitative research method has been selected for this work so that participants offering as well as getting an opportunity to portray their own perspectives within the means of marketing strategies by interviews as the main element is the first step to be taken. Throughout the data that is gathered which will additionally allow further reflection to a secondary framework entailing several medium of variables to impose a structural concept from different perspectives. In doing so, the research data will hope to have a vantage point with sufficient insight. Marketing managers, international basketball federation officials, CEOs and sponsors that outline the many participants, 30 participants in total across the Turkish, Dutch and Indian basketball community and those close to these respective locations will play the central role in forming the participant pool. Making use of a semi structured interview from with open and closed ended questions as stated by Edwards & Skinner (2009) this method which has been utilized in former sports management research as well as other management related studies previously, brings out the best qualitative results possible.
With a minimal 10 questions that will be made use of during the interviews, uncovering insights that would allow this work to delve further into how strategies are formed from the the international basketball federations end as well as those that invest in it as sponsors is aimed to be explored with question samples such as:
1) What are the latest key market growth strategies applies by your organization/company/federation to sustain visibility internationally?
2) How many integrated global enterprises have successfully been added over the last 5 - 10 years in order to increase exposure and/or profitability at events?
3) Are there specific industries that your organization targets for sponsorships?
4) Do you think basketball has enough visibility for your organization to render it a successful marketing arena? (Yes/No)
5) Are there other sports that your organization additionally sponsors outside of basketball?
6) Does your organization take part in sports/basketball games on a corporate level? (Yes/No)
7) Are there specific basketball events that you would prefer to sponsor during the year to allow key visibility to your consumers or does a annual plan suit your organization much more?
8) Given the opportunity, if your competition would be sponsoring basketball would you consider entering a similar sponsorship deal? (Yes/No)
So in conclusion, with the example of the above of questions in focus the objective of being able to breakdown the responses so that the differing or similar views of participants allows the work to create a sufficient outcome that gives insight into how strategies are formed, made us of and help grow the game in terms of development are hoped to be explored.
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Farrelly, F. J., Quester, P. G. and Burton, R. 1997. Integrating sports sponsorship into the corporate marketing function: an international comparative study. International Marketing Review, 14 (3), pp. 170--182. Available at: http://search.proquest.com/docview/224331892?accountid=12117 [Accessed: 10th March 2014].
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GUREL, A. P. D. E. 2006. 12 Giant Men: As a Successful Practice for the Sports Sponsorship. Dokuz Eylul Universitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitusu Dergisi, 8 (3), pp. 180-192. Available at: http://www.sbe.deu.edu.tr/dergi/cilt8.say%C4%B13/8.3%20gurel.pdf [Accessed: 10th March 2014].
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Khan, J. 2010. NBA in India, In search of Fans and Players. New York Times, 28 December.
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Mullin, B. J., Hardy, S. and Sutton, W. A. 2007. Sport marketing. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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Zimbalist, A. S. 2001. The economics of sport. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Pub.
Open and closed ended questions that you should consider:
1) What are your strategies for increasing the market growth of your federation?
2) How many new enterprises has your federation attracted for increasing your revenues?
3) Which industries does your organization target for sponsorships?
4) How visible is basketball in your company? Would your company sponsor basketball for marketing your company's products?
5) Which other sports your organization sponsors apart from basketball?
6) Does your company participate in sport/basketball ...
The answer to this problem gives sample questions for a dissertation on basketball sponsorship. The references related to the answer are also included.