A Sport Marketing Plan for New York Red Bulls Soccer Club

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A Sport Marketing Plan for New York Red Bulls Soccer Club

Executive Summary

(Shank, n.d) defines sports marketing as, ‘‘the specific application of marketing principles and processes to sports products and to the marketing of non-sports products through association with sport.” It is the process of implementing and designing activities for the production, pricing, promotion and distribution of sports products in satisfying consumers desires and needs as well as to the objectives of the company (Masterman, 2004). Sports marketing apply marketing concepts to sports services and products, and markets non-sports products by associating them with the sport (Krotee. n.d). Therefore, sports marketing have two important features. First, it applies general marketing practices to services and products related to sports. Secondly, it markets other industrial and consumer products or services through sport. 

A sports marketer identifies the wants and needs that require to be satisfied by the process of exchange. Shilbury, Westerbeek, Quick, and Funk (2009) identify the exchange process as the action of attaining a desired need from one person by giving out something in return. A sports consumer through his/ her membership fee gains an avenue for competition, physical activity, social interaction, health, and fitness as well as entertainment. These are the benefits that need to be marketed to attract a sizeable market for the New York Red Bull Soccer Club. A sports market mix will be used by this organization while addressing a promotion mix of pricing, advertising, sales promotions, and public relations. The marketing plan will explain its issues using an implementation strategy. This marketing plan intends to examine marketing roles using a strategic perspective that highlights ways by which marketing backs the growth and development of New York Red Bulls soccer club.

Introduction

Masterman (2004) defines strategic sports marketing as the practice of planning, controlling, and implementing marketing efforts to satisfy consumer wants and needs as well as in achieving the organization goals. Supovitz (2005) states that the most critical phase is the planning phase that starts with understanding the consumers in sports through identification of consumer wants and needs and in market research. Succeeding is marketing selection that keeps the internal and external contingencies in mind followed by marketing mix also referred to as four Ps which is integrated and developed to attain the consumer’s needs.  The second phase is the implementation where decisions like when to execute plans, who to execute and how to address the executed plans are made. The control phase is the third and the last where evaluation is undertaken to determine the effectiveness of executed plans.

Contingency Model

Shank, explains contingency model, ‘‘the third form of control, contingency control, is based on the assumption that sports marketers operate in an uncertain and unpredictable environment and that the changing nature of the internal and external environments may lead to the need to reassess strategic choices’’. A contingency model utilizes a system perspective which assumes that companies do not operate in isolation but through an interaction system (Masterman, 2004). Even if New York Red Bulls organization will depend on its environment for success and existence, it will also play important roles in shaping events that are unrelated to it. Sports marketing is made unique and complicated by the complex relationship an organization has with the public in the form of businesses, government, fans, and teams among others. These environments that affect New York Red Bulls sports organizations can be separated into external and internal contingencies.

Internal Contingencies

Internal contingencies are factors that are controllable from an organizational perspective while external contingencies are factors that are beyond the control of an organization. Both external and internal factors are perceived to be beyond control but not beyond the sports marketer’s influence. As the manager of the New York Red Bulls soccer club, it is my duty to ensure that the marketing strategies are in alignment with the comprehensive organization purpose. This will be achieved by thoroughly examining the organization’s mission, culture, visions, and objectives. The internal and external contingencies should, therefore, complement each other. They are created by top management instead of sport marketers and the more an organization is market oriented, the more its functions becomes involved in the development and decisions refinement regarding these type of contingencies. 

Vision and Mission. The mission of New York Red Bulls soccer team is to make soccer better through the pursuit of passion, science, and relentless innovation. It will offer unparalleled education and support to the youth soccer community. The vision and mission will help the New York Red Bulls soccer club to have a challenging and fun environment which will give the players an opportunity to learn. The club will prepare students to be responsible citizens who will contribute positively to the society. It will also employ coaches who will be role models and teachers to the students in this club. Another objective of the club is to achieve gender equity by employing affirmative action in recruitment and retention of soccer students and hiring of soccer staff and coaches.

Organizational Objectives and Marketing Goals. The objectives of the New York Red Bulls Club originate from the vision and mission converted into performance targets that will be achieved within a specified timeframe. These objectives will define both our strategic and financial direction. Our financial objectives will specify the club’s performance in terms of profits and revenues which will help in the long-term survival of this organization. These financial objectives may include improved investment returns, growth in revenues, and increase in profit margins. On the other hand, strategic objectives will relate to the performance and direction of the organization in the competitive world by enhancing customer relations, market share and customer service. 

Organizational strategies. These strategies are the means by which New York Red Bulls club will achieve its marketing and organizational objectives. The organizational strategy works on ‘how’ and acts as a game plan for this soccer organization. Generally there are four levels of development of strategies in the organization; functional strategy, business strategy, corporate strategy and operational strategy. Business strategies will aim on gaining advantage over our competitors within soccer industry while corporate strategies will be the overall game plan of the club. On the other hand, each functional area of New York Red Bulls will have its own functional strategies which will be supported by operational strategies. Within the organizational functional areas like sales and marketing there will be formation of operational strategies like ticket sales, pricing, promotion, and product strategies. 

External Contingencies

Masterman (2004) defines external contingencies as external forces in an organization affecting its strategic marketing process and may include; technology, competition, demographics, political, physical environment, legal and regulatory environment, cultural and social trends and the economy. External contingencies of New York Red Bulls culb will be measured using environmental scanning.

Competition. Ratten (2016) states on his work that assessing the marketing environment’s competitive forces is one among the critical components in the process of strategic sports marketing. In this club, this will be achieved by learning the competitors of today and those of tomorrow. Understanding the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses is one of the company’s goals as this will help the club to learn how these strategies will affect its plan. The organization will monitor the industrial competition using Porters competitive model. These forces include; intensity of competition, buyers bargaining powers, threat of product substitutes, suppliers bargaining powers and new entrants threats.

Technology. Ratten (2016) explains that technology is the most raid changing environmental influence and that there are new technologies in the market affecting sports marketing. Some of the technological advances have a direct impact on sports marketers’ tasks while others aid in developing new sports products. In New York Red Bulls’ Sports marketing, the most growing technologies are internet sites and mobile apps which will assist in stadium signage, advertising, and distributing products. According to Shilbury, Westerbeek, Quick, and Funk (2009), internet is a new and digital way of broadcasting new soccer events to our fans whereby we have player trackers that remind the subscriber when their favorite player enters the field. In addition to game covering and provision of information, the internet acts as the most popular venue of purchasing tickets.

Political, Legal and Regulatory Environment. Government legislation is another external contingency which will alter the Red Bulls’ economic infrastructure through legislative changes. During professional sports, politicians may either encourage or discourage stadium tax issues passage. Sports officials like judges, league commissioners and sports arbiters are continuously confronted with legal challenges arising while they are in the field. Every year, the sports license money adds up to billions of dollars forming a common legal issue of trademark violation. The company will set sports guidelines and enactment of law through its regulatory agency or body. It is the organization’s focus to create an understanding and balance with the market it serves.

Sports Consumer Behaviors. Shilbury, Westerbeek, Quick, and Funk (2009) state that the study of sport consumer behavior focuses on understanding sport consumption activities by utilizing theories from psychology, marketing, communication, and sociology. This context covers a wide range of environmental, personal and psychological factors that influence Red Bulls’ sports consuming behaviors by increasing its responsiveness to the literature of sport marketing. According to Kahle and Riley (2004), the study of human behaviors is of significance by understanding the consumers of sport, and implementing an interdisciplinary approach for marketers. Sport consumer behavior research is used by sport marketers to determine where to position the marketing mix. Sports sociologists have an interest in determining ways in which group interactions shape the experience of sport through spectators or physical participation.

The principle of psychology in Red Bulls Club will explain that every individual is different from the other giving each a unique personality, capabilities and interests, life experiences, different attitudes, different perceptions, and different beliefs and values. Kahle and Riley also explain that psychological inputs are internal to the consumer and are a set of feelings and beliefs that are alleged in relation to outcomes given by a particular service or product. Psychological inputs will act as an intrinsic motivator that creates and consumes the desire to seek out a positive experience of sport consumption. Generally, consumption motives in the club will be a reflection of the desire of satisfying the internal needs or achieving intangible benefits through acquisition.

Kahle and Riley (2004) identify discrete motives for both participants and spectators. The authors examined eight motives for spectators: self-esteem, entertainment, eustress, escape, family, aesthetic, group affiliation, and economic (gambling). Beech and Chadwick (2007) examine similar factors such as achievement motives, physical attraction, aesthetics, physical skills of players, family, social interaction, and acquisition of knowledge. Ratten (2016) examines the spectator desire for aesthetics, flow, fantasy, vicariousness, camaraderie, physical attraction, performance evaluation, and celebrity attraction. In this organization, the five psychological motives of socialization, esteem, performance, excitement and diversion will be explored.

Marketing Mix

Beech and Chadwick (2007) explain that the marketing mix is the third component of the marketing strategy. It will include the unique blend of price, promotion, product/programs, public places, and production strategies that are designed to yield equally satisfying exchanges with the target market. Acquiring a successful marketing mix in Red Bulls Club will not be by chance.  Shank explains marketing mix as a representation of the fundamental strategies that will be designed by a manager in realizing success. 

The core of the soccer club is its programs or products and there lacks any substitute of a quality product. The other Ps cannot be tackled without identifying a program/product which will assist in meeting public wants, needs and preferences. The public is the second P who is the potential user of the identified program or product which is targeted and informed to the program’s benefit. However, our products are flexible and able to fit in the ever changing preferences of the public. 

The third P is place of distribution strategies which ensure that programs and products are available and assessable. In our implementation plan, we target schools to be the places where we are targeting to form our targeted community programs. Pricing strategy is the fourth P which states that prices are the most flexible, manipulated, and visible among the marketing mix components. It involves what a participant gives up for him or her to obtain an entrance to learn the soccer techniques. While pricing, there should be a link between price and value, and this concept should always be in mind while marketing. Pricing will have an integral role in this organization’s ability to achieve its objectives and the benefits offered by the company will either equal or exceed the price charged to the customer.

Supovitz (2005) examines the production strategies as they involve the capability of the organization to keep up with the demand of a service, product, or program. The soccer club will increase its physical space because production, supply, and demand are crucial in marketing strategies. Promotion strategies comprise the last P in the marketing mix and entail various marketing interventions and efforts that will stimulate the interest of consumers in signing on and creating awareness of the product. Promotional strategies in the club will include sales promotions, advertising, personal selling, and public relations strategies. It will bring a mutual satisfied exchange with target markets by educating, informing, persuading, and reminding consumers regarding the benefits of daily physical exercise. 

The Strategic Sport-Marketing Planning Process

Shank defines the strategic marketing plan as, ‘‘the process of planning, implementing, and controlling marketing efforts to meet organizational goals and satisfy consumers’ needs’’. It will contain details on the products the company plans to offer, the target market and ways in which products influence the target market and the means of communicating to customers on the availability of products. Strategic sport marketing process is divided in to three stages. Stage one involves identification of marketing opportunities that is illustrated in step 1, 2, 3, and 4. Stage two involves strategy determination that will be illustrated in step 5 and 6. Stage three will involve strategy implementation, evaluation and adjustment that are illustrated in step 7 and step 8.

 The first step is to perform analyses for the external environments which are the forces that drive competition in the red bulls club and the public to be served. This will be followed by an analysis of the internal sporting organization that will help in identifying the organizations’ goals, objectives, and mission as well as assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) (Beech & Chadwick, 2007). The third step in this process will involve an examination of marketing intelligence data that relates to the present product range. As a manager, I will then determine specific marketing objectives and mission for the prearranged plan period.

After the specific objectives and mission, the core marketing strategy will be determined using marketing mix variables, selecting and identifying the desired competitive position that will relate to acknowledged sustainable competitive advantage. Tactics should then be established that will assist in objectives achievement as well as formulate benchmarks that will give the degree of progress. The seventh step will involve the coordination and implementation of service and marketing mix while the last step will contain Control marketing function (evaluation, feedback) (Shank, n.d)

Conclusion

Sports marketing will apply marketing concepts to sports services and products, and markets non-sports products by associating them with the sport. Three phases will be used during the process of Red Bulls Sports marketing plan. These phases include the analysis or planning phase, implementation phase, and the control phase. Sports marketing process will help to examine marketing roles in New York Red Bulls using a strategic perspective that highlights ways by which marketing backs the growth and development of soccer.

References

Beech, J. & Chadwick, S. (2007). The marketing of sport. Harlow, England: Prentice Hall/Financial Times.

Kahle, L. & Riley, C. (2004). Sports marketing and the psychology of marketing communication. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Krotee, M. Management of Physical Education and Sport, 13th Edition, 13th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/0390135968/ 

Masterman, G. (2004). Strategic sports event management. Amsterdam: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

Ratten, V. (2016). The dynamics of sport marketing. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 34(2), 162-168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/mip-07-2015-0131

Robinson, M. (2010). Sport club management. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Shank. Sports Marketing: A Strategic Perspective, 4th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/0558582443/ 

Shilbury, Westerbeek, Quick, & Funk,. (2009). SPORT MANAGEMENT SERIES (3rd ed.). 83 Alexander Street: Allen & Unwin.

Supovitz, F. (2005). The sports event management and marketing playbook. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons.

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