Thursday, July 26, 2007

Marketing and sport: a tricky situation part 2

While the situation for the cyclism is gettin worst and worst (yesterday Rasmussen, the leader of the Tour de France, was kicked out from his team, one other racer was arrested for doping and the French press claim the Tour is dead), other sports have no reason to be happy.

NBA: even if David Stern try to minimise the story, to have a referee who admit to put money of the matches he had to run and is involved with the mob, well this is a real mess.
Tim Donaghy undermined the legacy of the NBA. How many match final results were affected by the referee? Are we sure that he is the only one? No other referee, no other players were involved?

F1: in the meantime, in Paris, the International Federation is helding a trial against Mercedes McLaren team. The team is accused to have spied the Ferrari team. Lot of documents proving this story have been found at the house of one top engineer of the McLaren team. The team could be excluded by the World Championship with huge economic damage and image damage for McLaren and Mercedes. The main sponsor is Vodafone.

As we all can see, the sport world is under a big threat.

Should we expect a decrease of the audience for the sports involved in these events?
In your position of consultant and marketing men and women, what would you suggest to a client of yours?


Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

G- That's a tough one. I know that I am staying involved with team and race support. But the big money sports, like baseball in the US, simply brush all of these issues under the rug and let the players dope all they want- it seems. Here in the US, doping in the major sports is pretty much expected by the fans. Yet those same fans say that cycling is dirty because it is a European based sport. It's very silly and makes no sense to me.

If I were personally working with sporting sponsors of major teams like the Mercedes McLaren team, I'd probably advise them to fire any members linked to this scandal. Even if it means losing races. Credibility is important- wins aren't.

gianandrea said...

Tim, for a bike guy as you, it has to be really tough. You are right about the doping in all the major sports. I use to watch NFL and I suppose that without a support they simply cannot get through those match.
My question is: how far major brands which are more and more entangled in the quest for ethic, can go putting money in risky environment?

Stephen Denny said...

Gianandrea: any time you brand yourself with a personality, you're taking a risk. Imagine Pepsi using Michael Jackson in a spot (with kids, too) and how they felt. Now, put yourself in the shoes of a marketing manager who finally convinces his or her boss to try out sports sponsorships -- and then sinks a few hundred thousand into a guy who gets tossed out of the largest and most public venue because of bad behavior. Yikes. Not a fun conversation to have.

The only way I can see through this, if you have the ability (and budget) is to hedge your bets -- sponsor a few tennis players, not just the one who curses out the umpire and is disqualified -- and thus minimize the potential negatives.

Sure, when you associate yourself with an entire event -- the Olympics, the Tour, or the NFL (dog fighting, anyone?), you take certain risks -- but they're usually less than relying on one stupendously rich and selfish young man.