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International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

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Back issue   Volume 8   Number 1   October 2006

Technology and the future of sport

In a recent survey of sports marketing trends, respondents were asked: “What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing sport marketers in five years’ time?”1 Whether they were managers, rights holders, property owners or academics, their answer was, without exception, changes in technology.

In some ways this is not so surprising: the pace of technological change is arguably more rapid than ever before and its impact and spread is generally and globally pervasive. But think again. Sports marketing is a relatively new discipline and many organisations are still getting to grips with what it means for them. No doubt some will still be grappling with the intricacies of segmentation and positioning in five years’ time. So the preoccupation with changing technology is not so obvious or inevitable, my point being that no matter where we are in our understanding of sports marketing, we recognise that we will not be able to resist what is coming our way.

Nevertheless, just as many of us would have struggled five years ago to predict the iPod revolution (or, for that matter, the Walkman revolution back in the late 1970s), knowing just what is going to be happening in 2011 in sports marketing is a challenge for us all. There will be some enlightened individuals among us who will foresee developments, and marketing is replete with prophecies of individuals using integrated handsets to access what we currently (parochially?) call ‘the internet’, ‘mobile phone services’ and ‘podcasts’. Who knows if these will be right? But for most of us, reading market signals, observing changes in technology and devising creative ways of using the technology will be our main challenges.

It is pleasing to see that authors who submitted papers to this special edition of the Journal are already preparing for the future. It would probably have been easier for many of them to ‘take stock’ of what is currently happening or what has gone before. Yet such is the dynamism of sports marketing that leading thinkers in the field are already beginning to address how new technology will impact on various sports. What is equally impressive about this work is that they are clearly trying to conceive of how change will be beneficial to sport and add value to the consumer experience. If predicting the nature of technological change is the most important challenge we face, then identifying how we can engage with technology for the benefit of sport has to be next up on the list.

The debate about the proliferation of new media and the convergence of technology has become increasingly relevant over the last few years. To an extent the papers appearing in this edition emphasise the technical aspects of change. But let’s not forget that for every technologically generated space, there will inevitably be a need for content. Quite whether in 2011 we will all still be watching Formula One motor racing on television at home on a Sunday afternoon in June is an interesting point. Similarly, will our dash to the newspaper kiosk every morning for our daily dose of the latest sports news be consigned to the past?

Technological change throughout the ages has been accompanied by grand claims, myths and whimsy. Whatever the outcomes, I hope this special edition of the Journal prompts a debate about when, where and how new technology will impact on sport. Of course it is also to be hoped that it will help sport to improve and that sports marketers view impending developments as opportunities rather than as change for change’s sake. Most important of all, I hope we are all still around in 2011 to appreciate how resonant the research appearing here has become.

Simon Chadwick

Interview with Bjørn Taalesen, Sports Editor TV 2, Norway
Paper 1
Willingness to pay for soccer reports on the internet
Sven Theysohn, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University
Global reach, together with rapidly increasing broadband coverage, makes the internet a potentially interesting distribution channel for video highlights and full-match viewings. This study investigates willingness to pay as well as consumer preferences for type of report to derive marketing implications for soccer clubs. Survey results from more than 12,000 respondents supporting seven soccer clubs in the German first and second divisions underline the potential of this new distribution channel in finding a high average willingness to pay.
Paper 2
An exploration of motives in sport video gaming
Yongjae Kim, University of Minnesota
Stephen D. Ross, University of Minnesota
This study examined motivational dimensions underlying sport video game playing, from a uses and gratification perspective, with the use of focus groups and confirmatory factor analysis. Through a rigorous scale development procedure, seven motivation dimensions were identified – knowledge application, identification with sport, fantasy, competition, entertainment, social interaction and diversion. The results also suggest that the pattern of sport video game use is more purposeful and active than uses of more traditional media. Future research opportunities and managerial implications for using video games in developing a more creative and interactive communication tool are also discussed.
Paper 3
Moneyball as a supervening necessity for the adoption of player tracking technology in professional hockey
Daniel S. Mason, University of Alberta
Sports leagues and media providers are constantly seeking new ways of improving the consumption experience of viewers. Several new technologies have arrived in the industry, but many have not proved financially viable. Among these new technologies is tracking technology, used to augment television coverage and for coaching enhancement. This has had mixed results. In this paper I argue that the emergence of Moneyball management practices in sport have created the supervening necessity (Winston, 1998) required to drive demand for player tracking technology in ice hockey. This technology is able to collect the data necessary to implement statistical analyses comparable to those used in professional baseball to cover media enhancement, coaching enhancement and Moneyball management.
Paper 4
Analysing the effects of advertising type and antecedents on attitude towards advertising in sport
Gregg Bennett, Texas A&M University
Mauricio Ferreira, Texas A&M University
Ron Siders, University of Florida
This paper examines the effects of advertising type and antecedents of attitude towards advertising in general (AG) on individuals’ responses to advertising in a sports broadcast setting. Both AG antecedents and advertising type were assessed using Brackett and Carr’s (2001) model. Our results indicate that individual responses to advertising vary according to the type of advertising (television commercials, virtual ads by location).
Paper 5
Forecasting the importance of media technology in sport: the case of the televised ice hockey product in Canada
Norm O'Reilly, Laurentian University
Ryan Rahinel, Ryerson University
Although literature exists that profiles the effects of technology on sport, there has been little exploration into the specific effects of media technologies. This case study contributes to the existing literature on the convergence of technology and sport by examining which of five key media technologies will have the greatest impact upon the televised ice hockey product. The results demonstrate the importance of forecasting media technology in sport.
Paper 6
Considering entertainment-games websites in sports marketing: the case of Stick Cricket
Paul Kitchin, London Metropolitan University
Stick Cricket is a website visited by more than 2 million unique users every month, with each user averaging more than 20 minutes per visit. The website is positioned outside the sporting website category by internet research firms, and this oversight does not consider the valuable consumer segments that these types of websites may hold. This case study describes the business decisions of the Stick Cricket developers in taking a flash-based computer game and creating a website that has been transformed into a sporting portal. The factors that contribute to this success are discussed and provide useful tips for website developers and sports marketers.
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