Considering Games-Sites in Sports Marketing: The Case of Stick Cricket
By Paul Kitchin, Lecturer, London Metropolitan University
Collaboration between web-page developers has created one of the most frequented cricket websites on the Internet.
This case study discusses some important Internet issues, such as; exploring the development of key partnerships to create a committed fan base; how a core online product has been extended to offer increasing value; and an examination of the issues of adopting an advertising revenue financing model.
Implications for sports marketers are considered for developing online content that encourages viral communication and increases user interactivity and retention.
Research into sport marketing has examined a number of issues concerning the use of the Internet by sporting organisations.
Primarily the Internet was used by sports organisations to provide news and information to the sports consumer. As websites have evolved more importance is placed on e-commerce applications and hence the Internet’s role in supporting the marketing communications mix is paramount.
Issues concerning the interaction nature of website and the ability for these website to retain customers are important issues.
Entertainment-Games sites involving sporting applications have not been considered ‘real’ sporting properties as they may have been perceived to cater for different target groups.
This case study will highlight the utility of these games sites to attract and retain valuable segments of consumers. To highlight the challenges faced by the developers and opportunities available for sporting organisations and their online marketing teams this case study is organised into the following sections; first, an analysis of the market for cricket websites is briefly introduced to provide context for viewing this case in sports marketing terms.
Next the development of the website is discussed to highlight the formation of the current offering.
Following this the case will examine the problems encountered by the developers in growing the website to achieve viability. These reveal important concerns regarding the development of advertisingrevenue finance models in general.
The case also addresses the maintenance of partnerships and relationships between the website and its B2B and B2C markets.
In order to attract and retain unique users the website developed its initial offering and then reinforced this with frequent product and service extensions, these are presented and discussed.
A final section highlights future options for the website and implications for online sports marketing.
This case concludes with the acknowledgement that central to all these issues is the attraction and retention of online consumers. In this case this was achieved by the involvement of a core group of users into the operations of the website.
Using online forums for customer feedback and product-testing purposes engages with online users and makes them more committed users that can increase their value to the organisation.
Sports organisations can look to the management of this website to examine methods of customer/fan involvement. The development issues have been presented including obstacles for advertising revenue financing of websites.
The maintenance of key partnerships and continual developments were also important in this case. Finally, implications for sports marketers have been presented in light of these issues.
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