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The commercialization of sports has meant a gradual, albeit reluctant in some quarters, adaption to market economy and its rules. The market approach has developed various manifestations, the most apparent being the global labor market of football, where successful players are bought and sold for what many ordinary workers must consider fantasy sums, and then paid salaries that seem equally unreal. Such expenses for football requires corresponding revenue, and the effective promotion of sports is not only a necessity but also a separate, vigorous subdiscipline within Business Administration. Not surprisingly, the United States is far ahead in this field, closely followed by the UK and Australia. Today, all sports must be marketed, and marketing skills and competency are made available on all levels. One easily accessible presentation of sports marketing fundamentals is David K. Stotlar’s Developing Successful Sport Marketing Plans (Fitness Information Technology), now in its third edition. We gave it to Björn Anders Larsson, who recommends the book for the sport management and sport marketing students at undergraduate level, while post-graduate levels at universities or colleges require more detailed theoretical and methodological treatment.

Excellent handbook

Björn Anders Larsson
IEC Sportanalys

David K. Stotlar
Developing Successful Sport Marketing Plans: Third Edition
129 sidor, hft.
Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology 2009 (Sport Management Library)
ISBN 978-1-885693-84-6

This third edition of David K. Stotlar’s Developing Successful Sport Marketing Plans should be read as a companion to Fundamentals of Sport Marketing (Pitts & Stotlar, eds.).

Stotlar presents in this new short book a mixture of general marketing praxis and actual examples from US sports. Common marketing theory and marketing models are used as bases for planning the marketing of sports.

Marketing, according to Stotlar (and he gives many references to well known authors such as Brenda G. Pitts, Philip Kotler, J. Scott Armstrong, and many others) is a general management aspect and a practice with good methods. Systematic marketing plans must be included in all types of organizations from sport companies, clubs, associations, arenas, events, cities, regions and nations (for example bidding for world sports events). From our Nordic perpective I agree with his pledge for more marketing understanding in our sports industry. Today, in 2010, we can see lots of sports related activities driven with poor market orientation. The consumer and market orientation is often not worked through and incomes fall out lower than the economic needs of the clubs, arenas or events.

The text is organized as a handbook, a manual in step by step marketing planning. Stotlar explains it all in a logic order starting from market research and then all the way to market activities.

Every chapter includes actual examples of marketing of products, services and events, and we can find inspiring examples of marketing of a youth sport program, a county fairground, a driving range for golf, a health and sports club, Nike ( they know about marketing!) a global brand plan, and a baseball club.

The first chapter describes the sporting industry and the role of marketing in this industry. This helps me as a management researcher, but also an interested sports economist, once again to look at the broad societal, and especially the economic, dimensions of sports. This chapter confirms several other measurements the last three years on the size and structure of the sports industry in USA. The industry produces and consumes a partial GNP (Gross National Product) of $410 billion (2007) This compared to Sweden, which is roughly 1/33 of the US economy and population, gives us the estimate we already have of SEK 60-65 miljarder GNP in Sweden’s sporting industry, and the proportional size in other Nordic countries. Stotlar concludes that sports ranks “among America’s largest industries”. Sports industry calculated in this way creates 2 percent of the US and the Nordic economies measured by GNP.

Chapter two describes how a sports product (service) is defined and the consumer values could be understood and communicated. The step-by-step method is logic and simple.

I can easily recommend teachers and students as well as boards and executives to read the book and use the step-by-step market planning procedure more often than they do now.
Chapter three recommends a systematic environment and market analysis of several factors such as demographics, consumer trends and life cycles, and competitors, ending up in the classic SWOT analysis, whereby the sports organization creates a solid base for market action.

Chapter four discusses the very interesting procedure of targeting in the market. The systematic identifying and targeting of market segments is necessary for success in marketing in sports markets. The consumers have many choices with hundreds of different sports and events every week.

Chapter five is about marketing objectives. The sports organization will of course be more successful with a logic structure of goals and objectives. As we say in management: what is measured will (probably) be fulfilled.

Chapter six explains marketing strategies, and Stotlar helps the reader through this central aspect in all marketing and in all organizations.

Chapter seven combines different marketing methods and practices into the marketing mix. This activity from the organization is a rich world of creative possibilities in sports markets.

The book recommends some useful methods in chapter eight, whereby management can create better implementation, control and evaluation of the marketing plan and the planning of operations.

Stotlar concludes his book with a broad and actual list of references with all the well-known authors, books and articles in general marketing and sport marketing.

To summarize – the book is simple to follow and helps the sports marketing professional in medium and large size sports clubs, event managers, arena and other sports venue managers and managers in sporting goods companies to plan marketing better than before. Our news media tell us every day about financial problems and severe markets, and subsequent economic failures in the sports industry. I can easily recommend teachers and students as well as boards and executives to read the book and use the step-by-step market planning procedure more often than they do now.

The student in sport management and marketing will understand the topic after having read and worked with the planning process in each chapter. The book is an efficient work manual on basic student courses in the early stages of higher education in sport marketing. The teacher in Scandinavia can easily construct local and more recognizable cases from many different sports in these countries.

For students on higher levels of university studies, such as master courses in marketing, more theory and advanced methods than is found in this planning manual are necessary. They can easily be found in disciplines such as statistics and econometrics, consumer psychology, and sociology, among others.

© Björn Anders Larsson 2010.

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