SBJ/March 27 - April 2, 2006/SBJ In Depth

Sports as a global language: The market for global sports and events

World Congress Panelists
Rick Dudley
President, CEO
Octagon Worldwide
Don Garber
Commissioner
Major League Soccer
Nick Marrone
Senior director, global sports marketing
McDonald’s
Michael Payne
Special adviser
Formula One
Tony Ponturo
VP, global media, sports marketing
Anheuser-Busch
Soccer dominates the worldwide sports marketplace, attracting a third of the $6 billion in sponsorship dollars spent on sports.

In the worldwide sports sponsorship market, the NFL is second behind soccer. The United States is still a dominant player in the globe when it comes to sports spending, as nearly 40 percent of all spending on sports is under the stars and stripes. But the world is rapidly catching up.

According to an international study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, sports sponsorship, merchandise and advertising revenue, tabulated as one category, are growing faster overseas than in the United States. The same holds true for television rights revenue. Worldwide, the sponsorship, merchandise and advertising piece is growing faster than any other segment, followed by gate revenue and then television rights.

Making some more sense of the global sports marketplace, Octagon’s “Passion Drivers” research found key differences in how people in different continents relate to soccer. In the U.K, there’s unquestioned loyalty for teams. In China it’s a love of the game itself that connects people to soccer. And in the United States, participation is the connection people have with the sport.



In this section:

Global sports sponsorship spending
The $80 billion global sports pie
The global sports market
Global passion for sports


Global sports sponsorship spending

Nearly $6 billion was spent in sponsorships of major sports organizations in 2004 and 2005, with soccer getting the biggest cut.

Source: The World Sponsorship Monitor

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The $80 billion global sports pie

Nearly 40 percent of global annual sports spending is committed to U.S.-based leagues and governing bodies. Above is a look at how the $80 billion projected to be committed to global sports properties is broken up this year. The spending reflects sponsorships, merchandise sales, advertising, gate receipts and television rights fees.

Source: SportsBusiness Journal analysis of PricewaterhouseCoopers data

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The global sports market

Source: SportsBusiness Journal analysis of PricewaterhouseCoopers data

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Global passion for sports

More than a quarter of a billion people on the planet are soccer fans, according to FIFA, the sport’s international governing body. It is the most popular spectator sport in Europe and Latin America, and one of the top participant youth sports in the United States, according to several independent research groups. But fans in those regions enjoy the sport for different reasons.

Octagon last year launched “Passion Drivers,” a research product that measures the emotional connections between fans and their favorite sports. The survey divides the reasons for loyalty into more than a dozen categories, such as “Team Devotion,” “Sense of Belonging,” “Nostalgia” and “Player Affinity.”

A few of the motivating factors in being a soccer fan, as defined by “Passion Drivers:”

UK
• Team devotion: love for a team bordering on obsession and unquestioned loyalty
• Gloating: the appeal of reveling in the defeat of a rival team

China
• Love of the game: pure enjoyment of the sport and competition regardless of who is playing or who wins or loses
• Player excitement: hero worship and admiration for the athleticism and skills exhibited on the playing field

United States
• Active participation: ability to call upon personal experience playing the game at some point in their lives
• All-consuming: the power of the sport to draw the fan in to the point where nothing else matters while the game is being played

Some of the least important factors:

UK
• Love of the game
• Player affinity: interest in relating to the sports stars as people

China
• Team devotion
• Talk and socializing: sport as a topic of conversation and a means to build friendships

United States
• TV preference: U.S. fans would prefer to attend, rather than watch a match
• Player affinity

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