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GLOBETROTTING WITH CRAIG TARTASKY
Published October 7, 1994
The NBA in Canada, the NFL, Arena Football, and CISL in Mexico. That's only the beginning of a new international push by the U.S. sports industry. Yesterday, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY spoke with Craig Tartasky about global sports marketing. Tartasky is Exec Dir of the International Sports Summit, and the company he works for -- E.J. Krause & Associates -- is about to announce a Japanese Sports Summit, and is exploring the market for a European Sports Summit. Highlights of our conversation follow: THE DAILY: Who is driving the move overseas? Corporate sponsors or the leagues? TARTASKY: I think it's a combination of both sides asking if the market is ready. Leagues are not going to new countries arbitrarily. Rather, they are talking to their sponsors and gauging their interest. At the same time, the sponsors want to know if there is already an understanding of the league's product in a foreign market. THE DAILY: Is it important to move licensed products first, as a way to build fan awareness? TARTASKY: Absolutely. While we tend to look at licensed goods at home as an extension of our teams, in many countries they are nothing more than fashion statements. But, they do create consumer identification with the product. People will go to see a team or league just because they've been wearing their colors and want to find out what it's all about. THE DAILY: How does the ever-changing international telecommunications industry figure in to the globalization of sports? TARTASKY: The biggest problem facing the international media is the same problem our regional cable companies have right now -- and that's the struggle to find product. Overseas, there are no strikes, but sports television is still developing, so there isn't necessarily a lot to put on the air. American leagues -- which provide great visuals --are perfectly poised to take advantage of that gap. THE DAILY: What are the hot international marketing approaches? TARTASKY: I don't think anyone's come up with anything too novel. What you're seeing are new ways to skin the same cat. We're trying to reach the same demographic -- mostly men, a lot of 18-34. ... The key is to appreciate [cultural] differences, start with licensed products, add an exhibition game or two, and begin to build grass roots interest.