Sports & Stadia Management

“Sport and Stadia Management” Research Laboratory

Sport has clearly become a global business—but in fact it has been since long before “globalisation” was invented. International sport dates back to the 19th century, and the commercial exploitation of sport is even older than that. What is new is the degree of commercialisation and its spread to emerging markets.

One sign is that capital is chasing sporting profit across borders. For example, nine of the 20 football clubs in the English Premier League last season were owned by foreigners.

Another sign is the international integration of sport’s labour markets. Brazilian footballers, for instance, turn up in leagues from the Faroe Islands to Vietnam. Successful sportsmen and women are now earning sums that the stars of a generation ago could not have dreamed of. Money from broadcasters and sponsors inflates pay packets to eye-popping dimensions, especially when an attractive image meets sporting brilliance.

Sport’s product markets, too, are becoming ever more global as Western businesses target the newly affluent in developing countries. And those developing economies, notably India in cricket, are creating powerful sports businesses of their own. Ambitious countries in Asia and the Gulf want their own tennis tournaments and Grand Prix.

The old marriage of media and sport has proved durable because it is so mutually beneficial. What they both get out of it is eyeballs. The sports business is based on the idea that people are willing to pay to watch others play, and television expands the audience vastly, from thousands inside the stadium to millions outside. For broadcasters, more eyeballs mean more subscribers and advertisers. And sport is one of the few things that still has people tuning in by the million.

More recently, stadiums and arena played an increasingly crucial role in the sports and in particular in football clubs growth strategies.

From rebranding, modernization to capacity increases, stadium refurbishments and new stadium projects are becoming headline hitters for the investments they involve and the organizational transformation they require in the sport clubs.

The live experience of a match inside a stadium is also a defining part of being a sport fan and it is one of the key factors that continues to pull in match-day revenue and allows to develop new relationships with business partners and to increase fans’ commitment.

In particular, football stadia are increasingly crucial to the commercial strategies of football clubs for a variety of different reasons.

The ICRIM Research Lab. in Sport and Stadia Management explore these issues that make sport a global business as well as a recreation for billions.

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