When English soccer teams first played in Malaysia to kick-off Premier League Asia Cup on 2003, it signaled not only the regular globalization trend, but also increasing international joint ventures in sports.
Aside from CNN and ESPN sharing media strengths to deliver global sports news, more countries are signing international joint ventures to hold international sport events aside from Olympics and World Cup. US Houston Rockets, where Yao Ming was drafted, played the first NBA game in China. Major League clubs also played exhibition games in China. The West Indies hosted the Cricket World Cup in western hemisphere while UK hosted NFL game.
Commerce most likely drove the globalized sport events. With international joint ventures, sport franchise interests reach wider markets. Bringing NBA games in China is more than ticket and merchandise sales. It is wider product exposure because sport events are simply one of the advertising and promotion venues.
With integrated marketing campaigns in 2 or more countries, (commercial) sport managers are drawing in more audiences-or worldwide audience, to be exact. That is why English Premier League is holding more football games outside England.
Though popular sports had long engaged international audiences without the international games, they slowly are losing their audience base in the original host country. TV viewership on basketball, baseball and hockey just dived down to its lowest rating in early and mid 2000. ESPN even stopped covering full hockey games.
People just got bored with the conventional sport games. They slowly sport and watch more individual, quiet and outdoor games like skateboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, even poker and golf. In fact, Michael Jordan lost to Tiger Woods as the Most Popular Male Athlete on 2006. There is even World Poker Cup now.
Alternative sports are hitting up the televisions. Sport managers should adopt early and instantly sport an international joint venture to achieve the same successes of the popular games before they lose viewership.
By: Rivers Corbett