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The Winning Losers: Combatting the Economic and Competitive Balance Effects of Tanking in the National Basketball Association

Description

In order to establish sustainable parity in competition year over year, all four major professional sports organizations in the United States have established a first-year draft with an order decided or influenced by their Win-Loss record the previous year. The

In order to establish sustainable parity in competition year over year, all four major professional sports organizations in the United States have established a first-year draft with an order decided or influenced by their Win-Loss record the previous year. The assumption is that this draft structure should keep all teams competitive. Rather, there is an overwhelming shift to analytical problem-solving that suggests building a winning team requires a period of losing and collecting young talent. The separation has become so apparent that it has been referred to as, “Twelve teams a-tanking.” (Boras, 2018) The trend was so pronounced this last season that the seven worst teams that held their own pick all lost by more than 15 points in the span of two days.(Sheinin, 2018) This leaves the ratio of games with a 15 point or more point differential to that of less than 15 points was 8:9 on the date described by Sheinin, as opposed to the usual ratio of 2:5 for the rest of the season. This stretch of games occurred during a pivotal time in the season and should have garnered high interest for entertainment as teams grapple for playoff position heading into the post season. Instead, viewers were treated to seven blow-out games. In this thesis, the effects of tanking will be studied as it pertains to the NBA, as a whole, losing attendance in multiple aspects. This applies directly to the value of sponsorships in the NBA. In short, this thesis will answer three of questions; (1) How does expected point spread, which is highly affected by tanking, affect NBA attendance, of all teams, down the stretch of games? (2) How can the NBA protect its sponsors from the effects of tanking? (3) How can NBA sponsors protect themselves from the effects of tanking?

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2020-05

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Age and Upside: Why Youth Should be Valued in the NBA

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The National Basketball Association is the world's most recognized professional basketball league. Athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James have transcended from being high school standouts to global icons, but their careers might not have panned out the same

The National Basketball Association is the world's most recognized professional basketball league. Athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James have transcended from being high school standouts to global icons, but their careers might not have panned out the same way if they weren't allowed to declare for the draft immediately upon graduating high school. In 2005, the NBA and the NBA Players Association agreed to implement an age limit for athletes declaring for the NBA Draft. Although this was supposed to reduce the quantity of younger players declaring for the draft, the rule has been ineffective as the average age of lottery picks, also known as the first 14 picks of the draft, has decreased since the rule's implementation. Adam Silver, the current commissioner of the NBA, has been vocal about potentially raising the minimum draft-eligible age once more because of NBA team executives calling recent draft picks unfit for the NBA. The purpose of this research is to examine if lottery picks are indeed "NBA ready" upon being drafted, and if there is a correlation between the age at which they are drafted, the pick at which they were selected, the length of their career, and their career success. Various statistical analysis techniques are utilized, such as the calculation of R-squared values and correlation coefficients, and the usage of t-tests and multiple regressions. Box score statistics such as minutes per game, points per game, rebounds, and assists as well as advanced metrics such as player efficiency rating, win shares, box plus/minus, and value over replacement player were the focal point of this study. Players drafted with lottery selections from the 1985-2016 drafts had their career statistics compiled and examined for this analysis in order to adequately conduct the regressions. The results indicate that although lottery picks are having a decreasing immediate impact upon being drafted, the younger an athlete is drafted, the more long-term success they can expect to achieve in the NBA.

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2018-05

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Noches Latinas: A Study of the Effects of Heritage Nights on Fans in Professional Basketball and Sports Marketing

Description

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the Big Four Sporting Leagues of US Professional Sports. In recent years, the NBA has enjoyed milestone seasons in both attendance and television ratings, resulting in steady increases to both, over the

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the Big Four Sporting Leagues of US Professional Sports. In recent years, the NBA has enjoyed milestone seasons in both attendance and television ratings, resulting in steady increases to both, over the previous decade. (Morgan, 2017) This surge can be attributed in part to the integration of "cultural recognition" initiatives and the overall message of inclusivity on the part of NBA franchises, with their respective promotions and advertisements such as television, social media, radio, etc. Heritage Nights, such as "Noche Latina," among other variants in the NBA, typically feature culturally influenced changes to team logos, giveaways, and other consumer offerings. In markets where Hispanics make up a significant percentage of the fan-base, such as Phoenix, NBA franchises such as the Phoenix Suns must ascertain the financial or perceptual impacts, associated with risks of stereotyping, offending or otherwise unintentionally alienating different categories of fans. To this end, data was collected from the local NBA franchises' fanbase, specifically Phoenix Suns season-ticket holders, and was statistically checked for significant relationships between both categories of fans and several different variables. This analysis found that only $192K in revenue is being missed through the investment of Heritage Nights, and that fan perceptions of stereotypical or offensive giveaways and practices have no significant effect on game or event attendance, despite the stereotypes toward giveaways and practices still being present. Implications of this study provide possible next steps for the Suns and continue to widen the scope of demographical sports marketing both in professional basketball and beyond.

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2018-05

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The Elimination of Olympic Nonrevenue Sports: Unforeseen Consequences

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The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness about the problem nonrevenue sports face today by analyzing the key factors of the failing Division 1 model and providing some unforeseen consequences in the elimination of nonrevenue sports. The first

The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness about the problem nonrevenue sports face today by analyzing the key factors of the failing Division 1 model and providing some unforeseen consequences in the elimination of nonrevenue sports. The first section will explore the elimination and financial trends of NCAA Division 1 in a historical and contemporary context. The second section will provide the deep-rooted problems associated with collegiate sports. Lastly, the third section will analyze unforeseen consequences for athletic departments that should be accounted for when contemplating the elimination of a nonrevenue program.

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2021-05

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Modern NBA Fandom: A Study on NBA Fan Loyalty that Affects the League’s Recent Struggle with Traditional Media

Description

The NBA has shown to have immense popularity on social media, but has struggled recently in traditional TV viewership. Research has shown that NBA fans skew young, as the youngest fan base of the four major North American sports leagues,

The NBA has shown to have immense popularity on social media, but has struggled recently in traditional TV viewership. Research has shown that NBA fans skew young, as the youngest fan base of the four major North American sports leagues, and that the fandom of NBA teams can be highly volatile. Research has also shown that sports fans are inclined to cheer for and identify with the team who is not favored to win in a game that they are unfamiliar with. This study aims to understand NBA fan loyalty that leads to fans tuning into NBA broadcasts, and the factors that influence both player and team loyalty among fans. By understanding what factors lead to an NBA fan watching a game on TV, there will be an increase in the number of fans who are consistent viewers of games. The question being asked is: Are NBA fans more inclined to watch games because of their favorite team or their favorite players, and what factors influence their loyalty to team and their loyalty to player?

Based on research conducted on social media usage and fan identification, an online survey was created and distributed. Respondents who identified as NBA fans answered questions regarding social media usage, live sports TV viewership, and more questions regarding presumptive factors leading to NBA game TV viewership. Analysis of the responses found that loyalty to team was a bigger factor than loyalty to player in getting NBA fans to watch games on TV. Results also indicated that loyalty to team increased based on an increase in live sports TV viewership per week, loyalty to player increased based on an increase in national TV NBA game viewership, and die-hard fans are more likely to watch NBA games for their favorite team and players than casual fans. Based on these results, it is recommended that the NBA markets their games towards casual fans, with player-focused marketing for their national TV games.

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2020-05

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Expanding the Digital Footprint: How to Develop a Broadcast Audience for the NBA G League

Description

Basketball is considered one of the most progressive and innovative sports in the world. As such, the NCAA, NBA, and G League are constantly searching for ways to increase their global reach and increase their viewership. With the telecommunications industry

Basketball is considered one of the most progressive and innovative sports in the world. As such, the NCAA, NBA, and G League are constantly searching for ways to increase their global reach and increase their viewership. With the telecommunications industry seeing a decrease in overall customers who pay for monthly or yearly cable services, the sports industry is feeling pressure to keep viewers in a culture where “cutting the chord” is becoming a trend. However, the sports industry is one field that continues to drive viewership through their live cable broadcasts each year. All three leagues, which represent the college level, the minor league level, and the professional level, look to differentiate their broadcasts in the marketplace and experiment with different elements to attract new viewers and engage existing viewers. In the past, leagues and networks have experimented with streaming services, camera angles, mic’d up players and coaches, and augmented reality to demonstrate offensive and defensive sets. While both the college level and professional level have had limited issues in developing a loyal broadcast audience and attracting new viewers, the minor league (commonly known as the G League) has faced more challenges to grow. The problems the G League face with building their digital audience include competing seasons with both College Basketball and the NBA, disparaging perceptions that the games and players are not as interesting to watch, limited and expensive cable broadcast availability, and lack of fan affinity. Although these are challenges that the G League faces, the upcoming league has experienced success with year-over-year growth since its birth in 2001. Each year, the G League has increased the number of games broadcasted on traditional cable networks, and as a result, increased viewership. The blossoming league has a lot of potential, especially now that players can enter the G League directly out of high school, so capitalizing on opportunities to not only differentiate itself amongst other minor leagues, but also amongst other basketball leagues will be imperative to increase its fan base.
The purpose of this research is three-fold: to understand how people consume sports broadcasts, what levels of basketball they watch most frequently, and what elements of a sports broadcast they prefer or wish to implement. Aside from understanding consumption behaviors, this research further explores specifically how the G League can increase viewership, whether it’s experimenting with rule changes, implementing new broadcast elements, or creating off-court content that develops interest and affinity for players in the league. What the data and statistical tests concluded was that people who were classified as ‘G League Fans’ are generally fans of all levels of basketball, but that people who were classified as ‘College Basketball Fans’ or ‘NBA Fans’ were not necessarily fans of the G League. Based on this finding, the thesis provides recommendations for how the G League can increase viewership amongst basketball fans, as this will be its most receptive and impressionable group. For those unfamiliar with what the G League is, the thesis also provides a brief history and who the players are that make up the league.

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Date Created
2019-05