The location of Oakland Athletics makes the baseball team a small market team. Nevertheless, Oakland has lived up to its performance expectation to a large extent. Given today’s competitive player market, a team with a modest payroll budget cannot afford to hire extraordinary talent. The above issue, in turn, hinders the overall performance of the team and its annual sales revenue (Chass, 2004). In Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball: the Art of Winning an Unfair Game, emphasis is placed on the need of teams with small payrolls to be more financially conscious. The price of baseball talent has almost tripled within four years: from an annual average of $52,000 to almost $150,000. The Oakland Athletics currently have a $65,275,500 payroll, which rates the A’s at ninth lowest among the 30 MLB franchises (Oakland Athletics, 2014).
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Oakland A’s Strategy and Targets for Television Marketing Growth
Billy Beane, Oakland’s General Manager, has become infamous with his management style aimed at competing against the high-payroll competitors. Beane would find and develop talent within the A’s and later trade away these prospects just before contract-renewal years (Gross, 2003). In return, his team would receive a new batch of young prospects, and sometimes veteran players with limited ‘star’ status or cash incentive interests. Over time, the Athletics witnessed high turnover and, therefore, continued to operate at low cost; an uncommon trend in professional baseball. The ideal strategy is to find a few star athletes to represent the brand as a whole. For example, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are iconic figures on the Yankees, or Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval with the San Francisco Giants. This core group would be responsible for carrying the brand of the team and defining its personality and culture (Oakland Athletics official website).
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Oakland has also partnered with long-lasting channels of brand awareness including television advertisements and establishment of a flagship radio station. Comcast SportsNet California is the local television station that covers most of A’s games throughout the season. Similarly, 95.7FM The Game carries radio broadcasts of all the regular season games, as well as analysis and reports during non-game days. These media are influential to a marketer because they stream directly to the consumer at a personal level. The sale of tickets is liberalized as customers have the option to conduct purchases over the phone, online, and in person. These purchasing methods are available throughout the league and provide extreme convenience to the customer.
Promotion is identifying the merits of the product one wishes to display. One can see marketers promoting the A’s brand by utilizing their channels of communication through the current marketing slogan. The A’s currently are campaigning “Green Collared Baseball.” The motto is an attempt to connect at that personal level with the worker who may be labeled blue or white collared. Not only is engaging with the customer effective, but offering incentives come with a high payoff. Teams contract with third-party providers to put on giveaway days and post-game fireworks displays. For example, Chevron is known to host a postgame fireworks display near the Fourth of July. Similarly, the A’s will host events like “Little League Day” or “Youth Sports and Family Night” in order to bring larger groups out to the ballpark. On occasion, after Sunday games, the A’s will permit fans to go onto the field and run the bases. These unique opportunities incentivize customers and draw crowds to the park. Interestingly, promotion days are typically linked up with a premium game. As sales offices charge more per ticket, it becomes the responsibility of the marketer to portray the “more for more” positioning strategy.
Financial Status and Growth Plan and New Stadium
The product is one of the key elements of the marketing mix. A successful product equates to successful brand identity which can be converted to annual attendance figures. Consider the 1989 World Champion Oakland Athletics. The team with Ricky Henderson, Mark McGwire and José Canseco, three iconic athletes, gave them the World Series victory. Although their attendance record for that year was 2.66 million visitors, the success of the organization ticket sales bolted to 2.90 million for 1990 (Oakland Athletics, 2014). The successful product was rewarded with franchise-breaking sales records. Conversely, with an unsuccessful product, the group’s quality suffers, therefore resulting in less fan interaction. In the 2009 season, the Athletics ended 22 games behind first place, with a meager win percentage. Subsequently, the total attendance for the next year was only 1.4 million. There is definitely a relationship between win percentage and fan attendance. Marketers can identify that their consumers’ buying behavior is heavily influenced by psychological factors. Understanding the psychological trends of the consumer can assist marketers in forecasting the attendance for the upcoming season. In a smaller market, putting out the best quality product is essential to earning the respect of your audience and hence their sales (Oakland Athletics, 2014).
Oakland A’s Target Games to be Nationally Televised
Placement is highly influential when analyzing the marketing strategies of an organization. First, the physical location of the ballpark influences marketers’ appeal to the audience. Located adjacent to the I-880 freeway, a major traffic artery for connecting San Francisco and Oakland (business districts) with the East Bay (residential district), the ballpark can be hard to access during rush hour. In this regard, the Athletics have partnered with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to spread awareness of alternate means of transportation to get to the stadium. On Wednesday home games, for instance, meal discounts are offered to fans that came in by BART means. Marketers utilize their resources to demonstrate the convenience and cost-effectiveness of attending Athletics’ game: less traffic, more baseball.
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