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The Sport Product

Chapter 6 The Sport Product


The Sport Product



  • To recognize the elements of the sport product that contribute to its uniqueness in the wider marketplace of goods and services
  • To learn the process involved in product development as well as its relation to the concept of the product life cycle
  • To understand product positioning, product image, and product branding, and their roles in successful sport marketing


The Sport Product

  • The sport product is any bundle or combination of qualities, processes, and capabilities that a buyer expects will satisfy wants and needs.
  • It is inconsistent in nature.
  • The game itself is only a small part of the ensemble.
  • The sport marketer has little control over it.


Game Presentation

  • For many sport organizations, the primary product is a game, tournament, or event.
  • Marketers for these organizations attempt to create an experience enjoyable for consumers, independent of home team success.


Game Presentation (continued)

  • The combining of all elements on game day or night is an art and science called game presentation.
  • Many of the elements that go into game presentation can be seen in figure 6.1.


Event Experience: Core Element

  • Game form (rules or techniques)
  • Players
  • Fan behavior
  • Apparel
  • Venue


Product Extensions: Things That Enhance the Experience

  • Coaches
  • Tickets
  • Luxury boxes
  • Programs
  • Video screens
  • Music
  • Memorabilia
  • Mascots


Game Form

  • Rules and techniques
  • Special features that may make a sport product especially attractive to certain consumers
  • Individual moves


Star Power

  • A presence that transcends the actual playing.
  • Today’s players, coaches, and owners are extended beyond the event.
  • Star talent, or its absence, can make or break entire leagues.
  • Sponsors are keys to broad product extension.


Fan Behavior

  • Fans are an essential part of any sport event and move the core product into the realm of spectacle; they expand the drama.
  • Sport marketers must be careful how they promote fan behavior as part of the event experience, because unruly fans can poison the atmosphere and incite violence.
  • Many sport organizations are attempting to regulate rowdy fan behavior and excessive alcohol consumption.


  • Equipment needed to compete is part of the core product.
  • Apparel and equipment also go well beyond the core product and become key identifiers and extensions for brands.



  • Teams and franchises are closely aligned with their venues.
  • Memories and communities are created within those venues.
  • Venues also provide significant revenue streams during and outside game days.


Marketing the Core Experience

  • For the core sport event (product) to be marketed effectively, sport organizations must control and use additional key elements of the experience:
  • Personnel and process
  • Memories
  • Novelties and fantasies
  • Tickets, programs, and other printed materials
  • Hybrid and electronic products

Personnel and Process

  • Personnel and process refer to the event staff and the manner in which they go about their jobs.
  • From the sport consumer’s perspective, those employees and the way that they interact with consumers are part of the sport event experience (core product).



Personnel and Process (continued)

  • Personnel working for sport organizations should
  • emphasize common courtesy, “aggressive hospitality,” and extratransactional encounters with customers;
  • be proactive and decrease complaints;
  • follow a consistent dress code for event staff and consistent ethos of service throughout the venue; and
  • incorporate personnel procedures and training into company policy.

Ticket and Other Print
and Electronic Materials

  • Tickets can be used as both a promotional tool and a source of revenue.


Hybrid and Electronic Products

  • Applications on mobile devices
  • QR codes
  • Video games
  • Sport-linked music production
  • Fantasy sports


  • Sport marketers incorporate as many of these key sport product elements as possible into their overarching marketing strategy.
  • All the elements can add value to the sport organization.

Sport Product Strategy

  • Differentiation
  • Product development
  • Product position
  • Brands and branding


Product Differentiating

  • What makes one product distinctive from another and attractive in the consumers’ minds?


Table 6.1

Product Development

  • Generation of ideas
  • Screening and implementation of ideas, which includes
  • refinement of the product concept,
  • market and business analysis,
  • development of the actual product,
  • market testing, and
  • commercialization. (continued)


Product Development (continued)

Theories of innovation suggest that consumers grapple with perceptual issues when deciding to adopt a product innovation:

Relative advantage of the new product over old preferences

Complexity or difficulty in adoption and use

Compatibility with consumer values

Divisibility into smaller trial portions

Communicability of benefits


Product Position

  • Product positioning refers to how marketers attempt to create or change the perception of the product in consumers’ minds.


Figure 6.2

Managing the Five Images
of Any Organization or Product

  • Trademark imagery
  • Product imagery
  • Associative imagery
  • User imagery
  • Usage imagery


Perceptual Mapping

  • Select two attributes of product.
  • Place each on an axis.
  • Poll consumers to rate the product on attributes (scale of 1 to 10).
  • Information will assist in determining product position in the market and potentially in segmentation.


Brand Equity

  • Name recognition or awareness
  • Strong mental or emotional associations
  • Perceived brand quality
  • Strong customer loyalty


Figure 6.3

Product Life Cycle

  • Introduction
  • Growth
  • Maturity
  • Decline


Speculations About Sport Product Life Cycles

  • Game forms that enjoy any kind of maturity seem to be resistant to decline.
  • Teams and franchises have more volatile and unpredictable cycles than those of their overall sports.
  • Equipment cycles appear more technology driven than apparel cycles.
  • Apparel cycles blend the more stable trends in game forms with wide fluctuations in fashion.


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