July 17, 2017
In this week's edition:
- Gender and the Sports Entertainment Industry (1/4)
- Oh Yes She Did! Weekly Highlight Clip
- NEW! The Upline Cut - releases Wednesday!
Gender and the Sports Entertainment Industry:
An Industry Overview (1/4)
To look deeper into the gendered inequities in sports economics, let’s take a theoretical macroeconomic look at the sports entertainment industry to gain some context. I’m a Golden State Warriors fan, so let’s use them as an example.
The Golden State Warriors are a franchise team that is a member of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Warriors need the NBA to provide a structured season to compete against different teams, and the NBA needs the Warriors to add value to their entertainment product of a professional sports league. The NBA gets money from the advertisements and media viewership, particularly of their hosted tournament – the NBA finals. This is why there were theories that the NBA used referees to blow the fourth game in the most recent finals to make it go to a fifth game, so that the NBA could get more media money. It’s in the NBA’s self-interest for the series to go longer.
The players on the Warriors, such as Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, get paid by the owners. The owners make money on the price and amount of tickets they sell, as well as the profit from selling the media and brand imaging rights. The more talented the player, the more they can negotiate their salary with the owners. The owners are likely to invest in the players they think will add to the value of the franchise. In fact, it’s well known in the business of sports that teams often operate at a loss for some time because of all the upfront fixed costs, such as team personnel, location, travel, and equipment. Most often, owners of sports teams come into the business after making a profit in a different industry and then want to own a sports team at some point in their life. The money they make from this hobby comes from the increased valuation of the team years later when the owner is ready to sell.
Companies in the sports industry make money by using the branding rights of a team’s image, and using that feature to charge people more money for it in the form of a premium price. It’s no longer just a chair, it’s a chair in the Warrior blue and gold making you the ultimate sports fan. Or, it’s not just a bar, it’s the official bar of the Golden State Warriors making it the best place to watch a Warriors games with friends, which means the bar can rely on more active nights when the games are on television. Sports and other related products pick out players to sponsor to increase the consumer value of a product and increase the consumer's likeliness to purchase the product. Curry is the poster child for Brita filters? I only want to drink filtered water from now on. Youth camps are another market in the sports industry, often hosted by former professional players and coaches, who can sell their camps for high premiums because of their experience in the NBA. Families sign up for those camps because the possible exponential return on investment of their child becoming the next big professional basketball player is worth more to the family than the amount of money spent on the camp.
From the consumer’s perspective, they are willing to spend more money when their hometown team is doing well. Up until Baron Davis reinvigorated the Warriors into the playoffs in the 2006-07 season, the Warriors’ brand was worth very little. Later, when Curry and Klay Thompson started draining three pointers and winning games, the Warriors’ value again increased, and is now tied for the 20th most valuable sports brand in the world. When consumers do not have a successful story or a strong brand to hold their attention, franchises advertise to bring them back to their games since ticket sales are still one of the primary profit drivers. During these times, the franchise still invests money into the idea that their athletes are worth your money and time to come watch.
The long-term impact of the money in the sports entertainment industry is that trillions upon trillions of dollars has gone into promoting athletes for fans to come see. The images marketed to them connect your mind with the idea that “athlete” looks like a muscular man. The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) only opened up 21 years ago, and so if we compared the amount of money spent to market the NBA versus marketing the WNBA, we would see a huge disparity in every form of marketing across the board. This unequal investment then trains our mind to see women athletes as....different than the traditional term of athlete. That’s why we have to break out from our traditional mindset, and/or acknowledge the investment gap between genders, if we want to create an open space for women’s sports to reclaim the term “athlete” as gender-neutral.
Stop and Think: How does the media use "click-bait" to drive their profit models? Who benefits from the exposure? Who does not?
Written by Laurel Oldershaw, who plays for the Vancouver Sneaky House Hippos out of Vancouver, BC.
OH YES SHE DID!
Highlight of the Week
NEW! The Upline Cut Podcast
We are excited to release our first official podcast, The Upline Cut, on Wednesday at 8 am EST. We'll release it on our home page for The Upline Cut as well as through social media, with iTunes and Spotify coming soon.
Our first episode will feature an interview with Bex Forth Solomon from the EuroStars Tour, as well as a special segment of LOL: Laurel Out Loud.
Next episode will come out on August 2, where we will interview Jenna Weiner, author of two different Sky'd Magazine articles on the Trans* experience in ultimate. Have questions for her? Tweet them at us!