SBD/February 25, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Mark Cuban Gives Advice To Marketers Following Visit To SMU Basketball Game

Cuban stresses respect and appreciation for long-time season-ticket holders
Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN last Tuesday attended the Temple-SMU men's basketball game and offered his thoughts on the experience on his Blog Maverick website. Cuban wrote fans "asked me what I thought about the atmosphere at the arena." They all "wanted confirmation that this was truly a fun atmosphere. ... They had a student section that was standing, yelling , taunting and cheering. Loudly. Continuously. They had fans that chanted defense. They went nuts as SMU broke open a tight game when their point guard came alive and starting hitting big shots."

BRAND BUILDING
: Cuban then went on to offer six guidelines on how sports marketers can build their brand. The first is to "know where your team is in their 'lifecycle.'" It is "easier to engage fans when the team is turning a corner and winning is new, but you have to work hard at selling the fun of coming to an arena. ... Fans want a reason to get out of the house and have fun. But they are not going to find you. You have to find them." Marketers have to "invest in things that are universally fun for your customers and prospects. EVERYONE remembers their first game. EVERY parent gets unlimited joy from watching their child enjoy a sporting event. You have to make sure that the entertainment that you provide is not only family friendly, but also engaging for all the 6 to 12 year olds in the audience. ... All you have to do is remember this -- EVERYONE STANDS UP FOR T SHIRTS." Cuban's second piece of advice is to "know who your long time fans/customers are." Cuban: "You have to know who your ongoing season ticket holders are and respect and appreciate them. You can not do enough to reward them." His third guideline is to "price the market, not to maximize revenue," while his fourth point was that "fans buy tickets where they like to buy them." His fifth point of advice is that "selling is the most important job at a team." Everyone "majors in sports marketing. There is no more worthless major. Every school seems to have a major in sports management. Why do the schools and kids think that across the tens of thousands of graduates from these programs there is going to be a job than even comes close to paying off their student loans. Do the math." If schools "want to have any value to sports teams they should offer degrees in Sales." Cuban's final offering is to "spend money on fun" (BLOGMAVERICK.com, 2/23).

REAX: Cuban's comments drew a few Twitter responses. Univ. of South Florida Sport & Entertainment Business Management MBA Founding Dir Bill Sutton tweeted, "Sport business students and faculty- Mark Cuban referred to your major as "worthless ' in his 2/23 Blog Maverick. I plan 2 respond -DO YOU? ... Could be my March SBJ column tease tease." Goodyear Tire Marketing Manager Jonathan Norman in a series of tweets wrote, “@mcuban is partially right: ‘Teach kids sports management and you improve their chances of getting a job at Fridays.’ Where he has it wrong is the term ‘teach.’ I didn't learn a lot in grad school. But I did establish relationships and build a network. Where @mcuban has it right: There are absolutely too many #sportsbiz schools. But then again, there's too many law schools too. Where @mcuban has it wrong: there is value to #sportsbiz schools, but it mostly comes in networks, not curricula. There are outliers, tho. @mcuban, here's the challenge: Build a better #sportsbiz school, but make it functional. Honestly, it really shouldn't be a school at all. @mcuban says sales is king. And he's right. Everyone is a salesman. But very, very few people have those skills. What #sportsbiz needs is a talent incubator with rigor, guidance and mentorship. Too many kids flame out in sales. Careers unthreaded. @mcuban should know there are those who succeed in #sportsbiz who don't sell a team, per se, but we sell our strategies and concepts.”
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