Sunday, July 21

Global sports franchises and sports teams are big business. As well as the always fierce competition on the field, in the arena, on the rink, on the pitch or within the lines of the court, there is another contest raging: the chase for global audiences and the money that this can generate. Whether it is through merchandise, television rights, ticket revenue or any associated revenue stream, the amount that a sports franchise, i.e., a business can make is what matters as much as the sport itself, at least to the owners and interested stakeholders. 

Though there are millions to be made in the traditional sports worlds in Europe, the franchise sector is also big business in the US and beyond. Indeed, the soccer teams of the Premier League, Serie A, the Bundesliga and more around the continent are multi-million-dollar businesses in themselves, with an established global audience already there. Whether it is the thrill of attending live games, documentaries about their favorite team or player, football fans are enthusiastic, committed and loyal. 

With football, or soccer to some, and apart from the USA, none of these leagues are franchise based. In the world of franchise sport, although there are set up leagues and teams, the emphasis is often of growth. This means growing in both stature and importance for both money and audience considerations, and with current technology and television opportunities, the audience in question is now an international one. Whether it is American Football, which has inspired some of the best football movies ever made, or any other franchise-based sport, the money continues to help build the global audience. 

With Marketing Comes Money and Global Growth Goal Achievements

If you look at the Indian Premier League (IPL) you will soon realise what a superb marketing machine this cricket franchise set up has. From small beginnings it has become the leading cricket franchise league in the world, bar none. Though there are relatively successful limited over leagues in many cricketing nations that are also popular, they are not close to being as financially successful or watched by as many as the IPL, the undoubted banner 20 over cricket league

The power of the media and the global news exposure that this franchise league enjoys, much like franchises in the NHL and the MLS, to use a North American example is, at least in part, one of the true success stories of the marketing strategies that are leading to further global growth for these sports and individual franchises. With global television deals now commonplace, the money that franchises can generate is growing exponentially. 

Add to this the advertising potential and you will soon see what a marketing departments dream is: the confluence of the existing and organic popularity of the sport and the global growth that is fuelled by money. What you see with the framework of any franchise league you can clearly find how much focus is put on the business side of sport. When Lionel Messi signed for Inter Miami of the MLS, the global news and media reports were ubiquitous, making it both a coup for the club but giving the biproduct of more marketing opportunities for the entire league and all its constituent franchise clubs. Anyone who looks at the most valuable franchises around the world will see that any and all marketing can lead to revenue numbers that are in the millions, further showcasing the business and fiscal potential of sports franchise model. 

Streaming and Selling: Franchise Sport Enjoying Mainstream Media Markets 

Watching certain sports on television used to be more difficult. Whether it was a lack of interest leading sports channels to eschew coverage or, in the past, the absence of technology that made accessing live coverage of various sports overseas almost impossible, there was a time when people could not simply tune in whenever and wherever they wanted to enjoy their favorite sporting moments. How things have changed. 

These days, selling franchise sports around the world is invariably easier, or at least the opportunities are vaster and more accessible. Sports channels are now available via cable and satellite, each offering round the clock global sports coverage of franchise sports and leagues all around the world. When you couple with the ubiquitous streaming services that offer subscription packages it means that sports fans need not miss a second of any fixture or event anywhere in the world. In marketing terms, this is a financial opportunity that amounts to the golden goose, the open goal, opening a marketing maelstrom. 

For franchise sports in particular, this opening up of global audience is hugely significant and incredibly important. Not only does it play sports more accessible to more viewers, but it also essentially brings sports such as the NFL, previously only really enjoyed in North America, to a genuinely mainstream media audience. The same can be said for the MLS, which is now carried by more international sports channels and streamed on more platforms than ever before. With more sports franchise money now being generated, the global audiences are likely to continue growing, which can only be music to the ears of both franchise owners and fans all around the world. 

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