What contributes to attaining success in sports?
What is success? It is the attainment of a new level of wealth, an achievement, or prosperity. In sports, success can be found in various forms, and have different meanings, depending on who you direct the question to. A fan would say success is when the team or individual he/she chose to follow wins or is proven to be the best in their field. To the people in charge of maintaining the image of the team/individual; success could be described by them as exploiting new markets and expanding their brand. Investors believe it is when stock prices rise and as such; their club becomes more marketable; which in turn means more profit. Which leads to my main question, which is more important? And is it possible for a club to be successful in all 3 without splitting its attention?
How does the quality of the outfit come into play?
FC Barcelona, already a major football team, and sports brand with existing basketball and table tennis clubs to name a few, had become the best football club of the 21st century at one point, due to its dominance in the UEFA Champions League, winning 4 titles in 9 seasons. The club currently boasts of having one of the best footballers the world has ever seen; Lionel Messi, as a star attraction on its books. Traditionally, Barcelona had been able to thrive without the need for a shirt sponsor; however within this same period of dominance, they initially partnered with UNICEF; and then later signed the clubs first ever sponsorship deal with the Gulf state of Qatar, beginning with the Qatari Foundation and then securing a multi-million euro endorsement deal with Qatar Airways.
Does effective branding play a significant role?
The New York Yankees are undoubtedly the biggest sports brand in the world, with its name not only synonymous with the concrete jungle it is located in, but also with the sport it finds itself in, baseball. Indeed, some people actually know the Yankees without knowing which sport they play; such is the power of their brand. And while the Yankees haven’t had a lot of success in recent seasons on the pitch; the selling of Yankee branded paraphernalia across the globe, specifically their famous baseball caps has no doubt been a major factor in the continuous upward surge in the growth of the brand.
Lately, sport brands, particularly in football, have resorted to either seeking naming rights deals for their existing stadia (think Manchester City and Newcastle United); with mixed results, or redevelop their current grounds (Liverpool and Portsmouth); or even gone outright to either build (Atletico Madrid/Tottenham); or move into new grounds (West Ham United), with the aim of becoming more attractive in investors. These are mixed blessings; especially when the timing isn’t right. For example, due to the cost of building the then Ashburton Grove stadium; Arsenal was seemingly unable to compete with their major rivals on the football field; and even with the £100m deal they signed with Emirates Airlines, endured 8 barren years in terms with winning trophies.
What does Jamie say?
Based on the evidence provided above, I personally believe that success on the field of play should translate to success in all other aspects; although focusing on the other angles could also provide a much-needed advantage in terms of achieving that. I guess it all depends on striking the right balance at the right time. But I’ll leave you to be the judge on what truly is the major contributing factor to success in sports.