I often get asked why so many sports teams are flying around the globe to play exhibition matches. There are several reasons why the globalization of sports has accelerated over the last few years. Pressure from sponsors is one that often gets overlooked.
Follow the Money
The Super Bowl is considered by many to be the pinnacle of sports marketing. Forbes has called the Super Bowl, "one of the smartest investments a company can possibly make". They point out that at "no other time during the year does any business obtain that extensive amount of viewership. Super Bowl Sunday has power! Power to draw viewers; power to capture attention; power to make consumers sit up and watch commercials."
Chevrolet recently learned that this is not necessarily true. According to Sports Business Global, when Chevrolet was launched as the official automotive partner for Manchester United at the Shanghai, China Car Show in 2012, the event "generated one billion page impressions in a fortnight -- more than the company got for funding a costly marketing campaign at the Super Bowl." It is remarkable that a PR event at an automotive industry show could challenge the mighty Super Bowl for customer attention. It clearly underlines the power of iconic sports brands on the global stage and provides a clear understanding of why teams are rushing to build a global brand presence.
Darin W. White, Ph.D. serves on the Alabama Sports Foundation Board of Directors, is Chair of the American Marketing Association Sports Marketing Academic Society (SIG) and Professor of Marketing at Samford University's Brock School of Business and Coordinator of the Sports Marketing program.
ManU Sponsors Push for Asia Tour After Truncated U.S. Trip this Summer, Sports Business Global; July, 31, 2015.