Week 14 Prompt Two-Helling

abby wambach

Marketing any new professional sports league is a difficult undertaking. There are powerful traditions and habits in place that drive people’s behavior. Adding on the fact that it’s a women’s league and the game being played is soccer, and you are going to have a rough go of it in the United States. I am not sure that without some massive cultural shifts, it will ever work financially. Of course, without attempts at making those cultural shifts occur, it would probably never happen. The strategy for this must be a winning one, because those involved have already been spotted a huge deficit before the game even begins.
Joanna Lohman is a player in the newest attempt at a women’s professional soccer league. She writes an essay about her opinion at what the marketing strategy should be for the new league. In response to Lohman’s essay, an article was penned by Kevin Parker in rebuttal of many of Lohman’s ideas. There is one huge fact that both voices have completely avoided in their arguments, and that is that the main source of revenue for the big boys is not fans.
Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL and NHL all get the largest piece of their revenue pies from broadcasting contracts. Ticket sales, concessions takes, merchandise royalties all add into that pie, but the biggest slice comes from selling broadcasting rights. If you took away the money these leagues get from media outlets which pay to broadcast the games, the leagues would be a shell of what they are now. The main point is that even the all-powerful NFL could not survive on the scale it has reached solely on the wallets of its fans.
So how should a women’s professional soccer league market itself? The real money is in convincing TV networks and radio groups that your product is worth buying. You have to convince them that if they broadcast your games, they will get enough of a market share to take those numbers and sell it to potential advertisers. That’s the golden ticket.
How the proponents of this women’s professional soccer league will compete for limited resources such as sports broadcast dollars when facing such obstacles such as gender ideology, the heterosexual matrix and even an American exceptionalism anti-soccer bias in sports is a difficult question to answer in a positive way. If ever a women’s professional soccer league is sustainable in the United States, they will have hurdled major obstacles to get to that point.


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