The Role of the League Brand on Marketing

Sports leagues and teams have strong existing structures with brands. As such, the decisions by the league management works towards promoting both the league brand and the individual teams. Sports consumers value the professional spectator sports sector as they are the primary reason stakeholders in business have interests in investing, gain income for the league as well as the teams through indirect or direct consumption behaviors. Therefore, it is the league’s best interest to help the teams generate consumption and maximize their revenues, ensuring the league and individual team’s long-term viability
Relationship of teams and the league
Sports brand research indicates that professional teams and leagues have different but complementary brand characteristics. From the consumer point of view, leagues and teams have unique benefits and attributes representing the core set of mental association attached to a brand. Every brand attachment is conceptually distinct. However, the league plays the role of a master brand, creating a formal relationship where the teams play as a set of sub-brands. The symbiotic relationship from this structure is a new concept of sports brand structure, where both team and league-wide specific marketing activities influence the game attendance and merchandise sales as well as media consumption. The relationship is intuitive. However, the researchers are yet to investigate the influence of the league brand and its essential ties as well as impacts on consumer behavior towards individual teams.
Different league structures
The differences arising from different ownerships significantly influence the fundamental relationship between teams and leagues. At times, the league acts as franchise providing the framework where teams compete and work as franchises providing the core product generating income. This formal relationship is on a franchise basis or license contract, where the knowledge and resources are provided to ensure the maintenance of the required standards and quality. The other structure is where the leagues function in a single entity structure, and the league owns the players and while the teams are the investors. A good example is a major league ultimate in the United States. The other structure, the owners of the teams are the leagues’ shareholders with franchise contracts. The national basketball league in the USA is a good example. The fourth structure is like the English premier league, where leagues function as a governing body that offers teams membership to compete for a period using relegation and promotion system.
Regardless of the ownership system, leagues officiate tournament where teams compete, oversee strategic management, govern all the parties involved and manage the marketing such as promotion and change of rule. As such, professional sports teams cannot operate without the coordination provided by the leagues. Moreover, teams can utilize the brand building knowledge of league organization and use the league brand to avail their precise information on the team quality to consumers. Therefore, leagues avail team with a platform for branding and develop a customer base
Research has consistently indicated that investing in sponsorship has positive impacts on brand image, brand awareness, brand royalty as well as the organizations financial performance. Therefore such support requires maintenance and nurturing to ensure the achievement of the objectives. Therefore, it’s necessary to understand the prediction of sponsoring dissolution to monitor any indicators of such ending to the benefit of both parties in the partnership
Factors affecting sponsorship
There are factors that can cause sponsorship dissolution, such as farm-related factors, the influence of economy and property related factors. These factors can negatively or positively influence the duration of the sponsorship.
Economic conditions
In the context of marketing models such as sponsorship, the economic conditions of sponsor home country dictate the nature of support, hence the evidence of the impacts of the financial condition affecting the decision related to the investment. Therefore, a diverse economic situation in the sponsor mother country can affect the sponsorship duration negatively
Property associated factors
Property associated factors such as attractiveness of event locations can influence the sponsorship duration. Usually, the sponsor creates market awareness through sponsoring. Therefore the expectation is such that the consumer base of the next host country indicates the market potential will affect the sponsorship duration positively. The risk of doing business in a state with a lower variable people purchasing power will discourage any investor. Hence, the total number of consumers and their potential purchasing power together with the risk of operating a business in a particular country, may influence in the perception of the brand investors as far as the attractiveness of the market is concerned, and can eventually have a potential impact to determine the duration of the sponsorship
The market influence
The market influence of the host country can impact the duration of the sponsorship. When a country or a region host mega-events, the image and the pride shine, and the local coverage and sales increases due to coverage and awareness by the short-term interest of the big event. However, for the sponsorship to be long-term and sustainable, the market uptake has to persist after the event, otherwise, the support might not be viable. Firm-related factors such as leadership stability influence the duration of the partnership. Many farms have planned succession plans where CEO change plans are years in advance. As such, they can implement long-term organization strategies even when leadership changes occur. However, leadership change is not always predictable, and they can influence the present operations and policy. For instance, unforeseen events like death, company financial struggle or board members dissatisfaction. Change in top leadership can impact the company’s commitment towards long-term partnerships and affects the duration of the sponsorship negatively

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