Sports Marketing Affected by Internet of Things

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Introduction

Technology has changed different aspects of life and business. Particularly, companies have been impacted by the trend because they seek increased efficacy and profitability, which are two of the main forces driving technological change around the world (Devari, Nikolaev and He, 2017). The sports industry is a neglected area of business that is undergoing transformational change as well. A growing body of literature is showing that the sports industry is undergoing a transformational change from the increased use of technology by customers, entertainers, companies and brands to promote various aspects of the business (Abeza, O’Reilly and Seguin, 2019). For example, social media is one of the most impactful forces affecting the industry based on how it has revolutionized corporate structures and market outreach programs.

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As technology advances, it may become easy to forget how brands used to advertise before the advent of the digital age. Print media was one of the most popular platforms where brands used to spend their marketing resources to reach their targeted audiences (Rohm, Stefl and Saint Clair, 2019; Vakulenko et al., 2019). The transition from old forms of communication to new and more effective ways of engagement has largely been fueled by the growth of connected devices using computing technology (Carrington, 2016). These gadgets are further connected to the internet, thereby broadening their information processing capacities (Hing et al., 2015). In the sports industry, the proliferation of connected devices has brought excitement back to the sector as it integrates the functions of different stakeholders, such as fitness experts, equipment manufacturers and personal trainers, on one platform known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT refers to the interconnectedness of various types of computing devices on one platform – the internet. These devices are connected using existing networks, sensors and software that allow them to communicate with one another (Leung et al., 2018; Kumar, 2018). Based on its functionality, the IoT has been used in various businesses, such as home security solutions, provision of elderly care and transportation (Caretenuto et al., 2018; Berg and Johnston, 2019; Boysen, Schwerdfeger and Weidinger, 2018). The concept has also been implemented in other fields, including health and medicine, industrial development and military software production (O’Farrell, 2020; Ma, 2017). Its adoption in the sports industry is a relatively underexplored area and its effects on sports marketing is even less studied. The present study aims to fill this research gap by providing a holistic understanding of how IoT affects sports marketing plans.

This topic is worthy of review because technology is quickly shaping various aspects of sports marketing plans and stakeholders need to be prepared to exploit opportunities that exist as a result. Thus, this study is useful to stakeholders in the sports industry because they will help them to better plan for changes that are likely to occur due to increased levels of automation. This investigation will also expand the body of existing literature, which is discussing the impact of technology on business and particularly on the sports industry. Consequently, stakeholders can better plan for this change and seize opportunities that may emerge as a result.

Critical Reflection of Methods

The narrative review technique was used to undertake this assessment because the systematic review method lacked universal standards of assessment due to the presence of predisposed bias and conflict of interests by researchers who pursue methodologies that favour them (Boland, Cherry and Dickson, 2017). The narrative review method was justifiably used in this study because it provided the researcher with a theoretical and contextual understanding of the research topic (Treiblmaier et al., 2020). This feature was central to this investigation because it focused on the IoT, which is a rapidly evolving area of technology. It was integral to use the narrative review method to accommodate the flexibility associated with the IoT or its processes and to understand its impact on sports marketing (Onwuegbuzie and Frels, 2016).

The narrative method helped to understand concepts from other disciplines that were related to the research topic. The current knowledge developed from this investigation will help to form a strong foundation for designing future research processes. The main disadvantage associated with the use of the narrative method is the lack of critical scientific rigour associated with other techniques, such as the systematic review, or meta-analyses.

Research Aim

To evaluate the extent that the IoT has changed sports marketing plans

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Research Objectives

  1. To describe the effects of the IoT on product placement strategies in sports marketing
  2. To find out how the IoT has affected venue selection plans in sports marketing
  3. To examine how the IoT has impacted pricing strategies in sports marketing
  4. To establish how the IoT has impacted promotion plans in sports marketing

Literature Review

Introduction

This chapter contains an evaluation of existing literature regarding the effects of IoT on sports marketing. To recap, the study aims to evaluate the extent that the IoT has changed sports marketing plans. Four objectives underlie the investigation; they are focused on examining the effects of IoT on product placement strategies, location options, pricing strategies and promotion plans. These are the main themes that emerged from the review.

Effects on Promotion Plans

The first theme explored in the study focused on marketing promotions and the findings is highlighted in table 1 below.

Table 1. Promotion Theme (Source: Developed by Author).

No. Authors Sample and Location Area of marketing Methodology Key Results
1. Machado, J.C. et al.(2020), An online survey was performed with 214 responses received from two groups of respondents who watched football games by visiting a physical stadium or using mediated means, such as streaming services. The study was conducted in Portugal Branding Multiple linear regression was used to assess motivation levels among fans who consumed sports content via Instagram and Facebook The researchers established that social media influenced consumer purchasing behaviours. The need for entertainment and rewards were the main drivers of the adoption of technology in the sports industry. However, group moderation affected the manner users consumed Facebook content
2. Giroux, Pons and Maltese (2017) The researchers sampled the views of 2,400 respondents online Influence of brand personality on promotional plans The researchers used the mixed methods research approach The findings of this study highlight the importance of factoring in the influence of brand personality and a customer’s financial position when developing promotion strategies. The authors also note that customers are likely to experience incongruences when they are exposed to marketing strategies that do not appeal to them or are sensitive to their current social, political, or economic dynamics, as well as their perceptions of brand personalities
3. Burton (2019) The researchers evaluated the efficacy of six marketing campaigns associated with the 2018 FIFA World Cup Digital promotion Researchers followed a sentiment analysis method to assess the reactions of respondents towards promotional hashtags on Twitter. The statistical modelling program was used to assess responses The researchers noted that consumers tend to have a positive reaction to ambush marketing. This is because most users express positive sentiments towards creatively made campaigns and those that have a non-attached brand value.
4. LaGree, Wilbur and Cameron (2019) The research was designed to investigate the response of the NFL towards concussion crisis using social media management tools Crisis management The researchers assessed the impact of two crisis response strategies involving the NFL. The scope of their assessment procedures included an evaluation of fan engagement and exposure to negative media coverage as one of the key pillars of reputation protection Involving fans in the crisis management process, through social media, helped to generate a favourable market response from fans. Nonetheless, exposure to negative media created a negative perception of the NFL. These findings mean that crisis management should be an important part of sports marketing and digital assessment tools, such as social media are integral in its use.
5. Von Felbert and Breuer (2020) Empirical information was gathered from a group of 240 respondents. The informants were supposed to fill an online questionnaire and submit their views using the same platform. Brand endorsement The effects of four groups of endorsers were analysed and compared with one another. The endorsers included celebrities, peers, experts, and company managers. The research responses were tested using the serial mediation analysis technique Using four criteria of assessment, sports celebrities were determined to be the most impactful persons in shaping purchasing behaviours among consumers. Celebrity endorsements using internet-enabled platforms also influenced consumer-purchasing decisions.
6. Duffett (2015) The study involved a survey of the views of 3,500 Facebook users in South Africa Consumer purchasing behaviours The respondents gave their views using self-administered structured questionnaires and the generalized linear model to analyse data. The researchers established that social media played a significant role in positively influencing consumer purchasing intentions.
7. Abuljadail and Ha (2019) The researchers studied Facebook page “postings” of 20 local and 20 international brands operating in Saudi Arabia. Internationalization strategies The researchers used content analysis methods to analyse data. The authors found that local and global brands followed different marketing strategies. International brands tended to be more engaging as they offered customers immense rewards, giveaways, games and competitive programs that kept customers engaged and excited. Comparatively, local brands liked to convey informative messages to their customers. Sometimes, they made their customers aware of the dangers of international brands.
8. Vashisht, Mohan and Chauhan (2020) 224 undergraduate management students took part in the study In-game advertising The multivariate analysis method was used to test the research hypotheses. The effects of the internet on behaviour was analysed using a spectrum of congruent and incongruent behaviours as well as an analysis of high or low effects. Incongruent newness was associated with higher levels of brand recall compared to incongruent news conditions. The practical implications of this finding on the current study are that introducing newness and game interactivity in sports marketing is essential in promoting brand engagement.
9. Tarhini et al.(2019) Data was collected from 530 users of mobile commerce in Oman Barriers to the adoption of technologically developed products The researchers developed a conceptual model for understanding the barriers to m-commerce adoption by using SERVQUAL and UTAUT 2 frameworks. The scholars found that consumer behaviour was significantly influenced by the quality of the information received. Moreover, they found that this statement explains about 65% of the variance n employee behaviours. Comparatively, social influence and system quality did not have an impact on consumer purchasing decisions
10. Cluley and Green (2019) The researchers analysed 17,553 messages posted on Twitter to find out how social representations of marketing work or are done on social media Digital media Links and images were analysed using the structured thematic analysis method The researchers found that advertisers considered their work to be a fun but constraining exercise because they had to maintain relationships with customers and colleagues at the same time. These challenges explain the push for the adoption of social media marketing tools in sports branding because they help marketers to better handle these pressures.
11. Lin et al.(2019) The researchers collected the views of 19 respondents using interviews. The study was based in China Brand Management The authors adopted a novel methodological approach and netnographic analysis to analyze data The researchers found out that multiple approaches can be used to manage business-to-business and business-to-customer relationships
12. De Souza-Leão et al.(2020) The researcher analysed 14,500 fan videos in Brazil Pop culture marketing The researcher used the interpretive content analysis method to analyze results Fan culture continues to play a significant role in influencing sales as people still look up to celebrities for fan endorsement. In this regard, people are proactive consumers of pop culture and sports products

Pricing Strategies

Pricing is an important aspect of sports branding because it communicates the value of products or services to customers. This is an important element of the overall sports marketing mix developed by companies in the sector. Owing to its importance to the health of the overall business strategy, the main elements of a marketing mix need to be analyzed with other aspects of branding, including product, promotion and place strategies. According to table 2 below, nine articles, which led to the formation of this theme, are explained.

Table 2. Pricing Theme (Source: Developed By Author).

No. Authors Sample and Location Area of Marketing Involved Methodology Key Results
1. Popp, McEvoy and Watanabe (2017) Four years’ worth of data were collected from 156 college students in the US Ticketing and revenue generation A regression model was used to examine the variance between ticket sale prices and estimated revenue. Success was measured using Facebook likes, Twitter retweets and shares The regression models predicted a 50% to 80% variation of the variance between ticket sales and revenue generated. Social media was highlighted as an unpredictable measure of ticket sales and attendance in sporting events. Therefore, the growing social media attention put on the sports industry was not a reliable measure of ticket sales or revenue. Therefore, pricing strategies should not be based on online engagement data.
2. Van Rijn, Kristal and Henseler (2019) The researchers used a combination of secondary and primary data to understand the reasons for sponsors and sponsees severing their relationship in sports. Twenty historical texts and 19 interviews were conducted with members of the Dutch Football league. Sponsorship The researchers evaluated the relationship between sponsors and sponsees by categorizing their main reasons or disengagement into four groups: sponsor-related factors, sponsee-related factors, inter-relational factors and external factors. These categories were later analysed individually and the ramifications for ending sponsor-sponsee relationships examined in a context-specific manner. The researchers encouraged sports teams and companies to seek collaboration with one another through partnerships and not adversaries who compete for resources to fulfil each other’s goals. In this regard, the scholars recommend that the two parties need to mend their relationship by building trust and commitment with one another.
3. Rondan-Cataluña, Escobar-Perez and Moreno-Prada (2019) The researchers conducted 1,050 interviews by sampling the views of 350 respondents from three shops Sports retail market This research paper employed a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to gather data. The findings were analysed using the ANOVA and t-test techniques, which are linked to the Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The researchers found that the process of setting prices is dependent on many factors, such as competition, economy, and capacity of residents to buy what is offered. They made this assertion after observing that the three points of sales analysed had their unique selling price points, which signified the perfect balance between demand and supply.
4. Happ et al.(2020) The researchers sampled the views of 16 respondents who were part of a focus group and 38 people who gave their views in a survey. The study was based in Germany. Sports retail The study involved a combination of both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The scholars found that a store’s in-house experience contributed to improving customer satisfaction. The likelihood that sports customers would recommend a retail store to another person is possible but remains largely dependent on the rapport they build with the store owner. Additionally, the authors said that sports customers were not only dependent on buying functional products but also on forging good social bonds for future interactions.
5. Marx, Magalhães and Lara (2019) 28 routes and six corridors plied by bus companies were analysed to understand the effectiveness of their pricing strategies. The study covered Europe, the US and Brazil. Price setting The scholars designed the research process to follow qualitative reasoning. The data collection process was done using semi-structured interviews, direct observations and through a review of published data There is a lot of potential for pursuing a low-cost pricing strategy in Brazil. However, timing is the main problem associated with the implementation of this strategy is
6. Yao et al.(2019) The researchers lifted data relating to the pricing from Airbnb using the Insideairbnb.comlink. Overall, the total volume of listing data reviewed included 1,274,844 observations and 41,124 listings, which were all posted between March and April 2017 Hospitality and tourism marketing The researchers used the binomial logistic model to determine different attributes of demand and how they impact a company’s overall pricing plan Researchers found that price considerations were only a small part of online sales and purchasing processes. The findings also highlight the need to integrate tenets of the signalling theory in determining the prices of goods and services.
7. Garcia et al.(2020) The researcher sought the views of 727 respondents who provided data using questionnaires. Customer satisfaction Data were analysed using the structural equation modelling technique. Consumer purchasing intentions were determined by several factors, including a company’s online image, the creativity of advertisement campaign, the level of trust customers have on the brand and service quality. The researchers determined that service quality and the general image that consumers had about online brand images were the most reliable predictors of pricing decisions.
8. Prathap (2020) The Indian-based study sampled the views of 202 traditional handloom apparel consumers Quality vs. price Data were analyzed using the structural equation modelling technique, perceived quality and perceived trust were also used as mediating variables for analyzing a company’s pricing strategy with the main determinants of assessment being information asymmetry and product diagnostics The researchers discovered that quality-consciousness was perhaps one of the most significant predictors of price. Information asymmetry was also highlighted as one of the major determinants of price with high costs linked to higher levels of information asymmetry.
9. Foà (2019) The researcher analysed crowdfunding platforms over 8 years in Portugal Marketing in a cultural environment The researcher to answer the research questions adopted a qualitative multiple case study approach. Data was also collected using semi-structured interviews and their designs suited to the crowd-funding process The authors argued that a successful crowd-funding campaign needed to transcend traditional forms of communication, marketing strategies and cultural enterprises. Instead, a hybrid model should be developed to create an experience-led marketing plan.

Product Placement Strategies

Product placement was the third theme that emerged from the literature review. Although most of the articles sampled directly addressed this issue, a majority of them only discussed external or contextual factors influencing planning or strategy development. In this regard, there was a need to expand the scope of the analysis to include articles that discussed any aspect of product development. The final list of articles that discussed this theme is provided in table 3 below.

Table 3. Product Theme (Source: Developed By Author).

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No. Authors Sample and Location Area of Marketing Involved Methodology Key Results
1. Saqib (2019) The study was based in India and it involved the collection of views from 478 respondents. Tourism marketing The researchers sought the views of 478 respondents who had visited a tourism region in India. Data were analysed quantitatively using statistical analysis techniques, such as factor analysis. There should be a careful consideration of context-specific factors when choosing a product strategy to use in the market.
2. Moura and de Souza-Leão (2020) The investigation was based in Brazil and it sought to sample the views of Twitter users who watched games online. Attachment The netnography method was used to analyse the findings of the study. Specifically, the researchers analysed responses from Twitter hashtags created by the Brazilian ESPN channel. The comments of sports lovers regarding the 2016-2018 leagues were sampled in the analysis. The researchers found that online engagement helped Brazilian sports lovers to develop an attachment with the NFL.
3. Valentini et al.(2018) The study involved an experimental design analysing two product features associated with Instagram messages. The study had no specific location, as data was sourced online. Product development An experimental design was used to measure the intention of Instagram users to purchase items based on branded marketing campaigns. Two features of Instagram pages, including subject gaze and product salience features, were evaluated to come up with the research findings. The researchers found that direct product gaze and high product salience features positively influenced consumer-purchasing decisions. The findings are instrumental in helping companies to identify product features that lead to the highest levels of brand engagement.
4. Koranteng et al.(2020) The researchers sampled the views of 2,000 respondents in three Ghanaian universities but received only 912 valid questionnaires for review Trust in social networking sites Data was gathered using questionnaires. Norm reciprocity and social interactions were considered strong antecedents of trust, which is useful in developing product strategies that have a lasting impact on customers.
5. Trihatmoko and Mulyani (2019) The researchers gathered data by interviewing six wholesale business owners in Singapore FMCG The researchers used the qualitative method to carry out the research. At the same time, they deployed the grounded theory approach to review the findings The researchers found that the presence of physical warehouses and facilities described the essence of an effective buyer response system. They also argued that new product innovation could best happen where channel capabilities are significantly improved.
6. Dey, et al.(2018) The research investigation happened from April 2014 to May 2016 and involved 33 young British students. Identity creation The primary methods of data collection were in-depth interviews and netnographic observations The appropriation of the selfie phenomenon through digital media has helped to cement a dual identity among customers. This dual identity is influenced by several factors, including contextual requirements, cultural or historical influences, and post-modern effects on human behaviour.
7. Chepurna and Rialp Criado (2018) The researcher collected data using 40 in-depth semi-structured interviews. Twenty of them were with customers while the rest were with marketing specialists. The study was based online, meaning that all engagements were done remotely Barriers to effective communication and value co-creation The researchers used the qualitative research approach to structure the investigation. This technique justified using interviews as the main data collection technique. Spearman’s rank correlation was used to assess the relationship between customer requirements and the needs of marketing specialists when developing new products and services. Both customers and companies admire value co-creation using the internet of things to develop new products. However, organisations are encouraged to be mindful of the barriers that exist in limiting the potential for this to happen.
8. Shin (2017) The researcher conducted in-depth interviews to obtain data. The study was based in South Korea a Innovation in production An exploratory research methodology was employed to gather the views of respondents The IoT contains certain disruptive elements of change that could redefine how businesses undertake their marketing plans. Particularly, it can align different entities in product development. Therefore, there is a strong link between IoT attributes and innovation paths.
9. Leminen et al. (2018) The researcher interviewed 16 respondents who were recruited from seven organisations. Business modelling In addition to the information obtained from a systematic literature review, the researchers sought primary data from employees working in seven companies that were operating IoT ecosystems. The scholars used a multiple case study design to analyse data and compare them with cross-sectional information emanating from other industries. The researchers found that the IoT had a significant impact on business models because it led to the opening up of new business opportunities and enhanced value chain efficiencies.
10. Pinochet et al. (2018) The researchers sampled 747 people in Brazil Customer experiences The researchers assessed the respondents’ views by analysing their feedback based on three key criteria of analysis: functional experience, purchasing intention, and emotional experiences The IoT brought significant actionable experiences to the buying process. Its impact on purchasing intention was also real, but it was more profound among young people.

Location Options

Location options relate to the place strategy in the sports marketing mix. As a major source of entertainment, sports stakeholders pay attention to decisions involving venue selection and so do sponsors. Table 4 below outlines a list of articles that discussed this theme.

Table 4. Location Theme (Source: Developed By Author).

No. Authors Sample and Location Area of Marketing Methodology Key Results
1. Gillooly et al.(2020) The researchers gathered data from three discussion boards linked to three football clubs in England. Using location features to develop a congruent marketing plan Researchers used qualitative, quasi-ethnographic research designs to analyze data. Information was also gathered using focus group discussions and auto-ethnographic techniques. There is a need to consider the context-specific dynamics influencing naming rights for sports stadia. Notably, the researchers pointed out that the geographic fit of sports locations is an important quality to consider when making place strategies in sports marketing. The image and functional dynamics of sports activities were also said to influence how fans reacted to location choices in sports. Therefore, there was a need for marketers to make sure that their location plans aligned with their fan base’s perceptions of brand personality.
2. Duffett (2017) The researchers recruited 13,000 respondents from South Africa Marketing among young consumers (Generation Z) The researchers did not have a specific preference for any one type of social media platform when undertaking this study. Instead, all these media platforms were examined collectively. Data as gathered as s a survey, which was distributed to respondents as self-administered questionnaires. A generalized linear model was later used to analyse the data obtained. The researchers found out that social media marketing had a positive impact on consumer purchasing behaviours. However, this positive influence starts to digress at the point of saturation when too much social media content is consumed.
3. Martensen, Brockenhuus-Schack and Zahid (2018) ‘ The researchers examined and analysed user-generated content from Instagram users. The discussion was done in focus groups and the study was based in South Africa. The study also started at the beginning of April 2015 and ended in June of the same year. Fashion industry The researchers assessed the persuasiveness of citizen leaders on social media by evaluating their personalities using four key criteria: familiarity, similarity, likeability, trustworthiness, and expertise. The research was undertaken as a longitudinal netnographic study with a strong following on social media – Instagram. The researchers said that the ability of online influencers to impact consumer behaviour was pegged on people’s willingness to relate with them based on location advantages or personality associations. These leaders seem to embody two opposing dynamics of their personalities, which make them relatable and attainable at the same time.
4. Aggerholm and Andersen (2018) The researchers analysed the findings of a single case study because there were plans to undertake a longitudinal case study based on the findings of the current investigation. Recruitment The researchers drew on unique experiences from the 3.0 campaign. The study also draws from a reflexive dialogic research approach, which compares empirical findings with theoretical data. The use of technology using web 3.0 had brought prominence to the open-source recruitment strategy. It had also brought attention to the need for employees to move from striking a work-life balance to a desired private life.
5. Ahmad, Abu Bakar and Ahmad (2019) The study was based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and involved the views of 144 respondents who were randomly sampled. SME performance The study was a quantitative survey investigating the influence of social media on the performance of small and medium enterprises. The researchers used a multi-perspective framework to assesses the views of respondents from the perspectives of combining environmental, technological and organisational elements of analysis. Social media breaks down traditional geographical barriers that impeded business growth.
6. Harwood and Garry (2017) The researchers sampled the views of 1,200 respondents Building trust in systems A mixed methods research design was used to collect qualitative and quantitative findings It did not matter how much money was involved in the business because trust played a key role in shaping how customers manage techno-service systems
7. Ma, Minqiang and Yun (2020) The study was based online Virtual marketing The transfer of the value of the internet occurs through the mark-up of social value. The internet should be deemed a form of virtual land and its value can be divided into labour and location segments. Indeed, the internet has become a significant economic driving force that impacts productivity
8. Mikl et al.(2020) The researchers gathered data from eight experts using interviews, which were conducted over zoom Business modelling Data were analysed using the case study model The researchers found out that the digitization of business processes have led to changes in traditional business plans through value proposition, value creation, value delivery and value capture
9. Kaartemo, Nenonen and Windahl (2020) The researcher analysed three market contexts from separate economies in Finland Sweden and New Zealand Institutional work mechanisms The scholars used an abductive theorizing process to integrate information from secondary research and empirical data based on three cases analyzed Institutional actors may be working at cross-purposes even though they are operating in the same market. This finding means that individual interests could easily trample over common marketing goals.

Summary

The four main themes identified in this literature review relate to the four main research objectives of this study, which explore the effects of the IoT on sports marketing plans. The highest number of articles were linked to the promotion aspect of sports market planning because 12 articles discussed this area of research. Comparatively, the product planning process had ten articles discussing this area of market planning, while pricing and place strategies each had nine articles talking about them. Overall, 40 articles were reviewed in the literature review process and their findings contextualized within the 4Ps marketing framework proposed by Philip Kotler.

Analysis and Critical Discussion

Aims of the Review

As highlighted from the onset of this study, the investigation aimed to evaluate the extent that the IoT has changed sports marketing plans. The investigation was defined by four key objectives that sought to describe the effects of the IoT on product placement strategies in sports marketing, find out how the IoT has affected venue selection plans in sports marketing, examine how it has impacted pricing strategies in sports marketing and establish its effects on promotion plans. The findings are analyzed below.

Effects on Promotion plans

Promotion is an important aspect of sports marketing and management because the industry is dependent on having a constant stream of fans to generate revenue and popularize the sport. Just like other types of businesses, companies need to segment their markets according to various needs and preferences. In this regard, they have to use unique promotion strategies that appeal to distinct groups of customers. For example, fans who watch the English premier league in Europe could have different needs and requirements compared to golf fans in the US. The same could be said for people who watch the Olympics winter sports and the National Basketball Association (NBA) or the National Football League (NFL) in America.

Based on the unique needs and preferences of different customer segments in the sports industry, companies should pursue unique promotion strategies that appeal to their market segments. There is scanty literature on IoT derived from this review, but there has been extensive research done to explore the effectiveness of unique promotion strategies in marketing. Most of the investigations have been domiciled in the areas of television and print media, while more recent studies have focused on email marketing. There is also evidence of nested investigations, which have discussed how alternative forms of marketing promotion, such as celebrity branding, influence customer behaviours and marketing success (Zhoua et al., 2020; Bhattacharjya et al., 2018). Recently, the evidence on internet-based marketing has been growing because of an increased interest in the role that social media is playing in sports marketing. Consequently, the academic interest on marketing has started to be drawn towards understanding the effects of social media marketing tools and platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Relative to the above discussions, Machado et al. (2020) conducted a study to investigate the role of Facebook in sports branding and found that online engagement on sports branding can affect how consumers perceive elements of quality in their purchasing experiences. Their study also showed that social media branding efforts whose success is now pegged on how much companies can keep their audiences engaged have significantly shaped consumer-buying attention. Issues about consumer switching costs have also been explored in this study with a majority of them showing that customer switching costs have significantly declined in a digitized world because people can easily switch their attention from one company or brand to another without any ramifications.

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Studies have also shown that social media has expanded customer awareness regarding specific products and services because it has broken down geographical limitations of branding which made it difficult for customers from other parts of the world to know about products or services that exist in other countries. Research evidence indicates that the most interesting aspect of this development is the fluidity of information across traditional channels of marketing, which has made it possible for brands to emerge from nowhere and become big companies in a short time (Hood et al., 2020). To demonstrate the impact that social media has had on promotion strategies, researchers have also demonstrated how viral videos can make or break a brand as multiple pieces of evidence showing how a user can simply report a company’s production practices and have people boycott the brand, thereby causing significant monetary losses.

The liberalization of information through the IoT is partly responsible for most of the changes to promotion strategies witnessed in the past decade. Indeed, information that was previously held by corporate heads and heavily financed institutions are now available online and small businesses can now purchase software, tools and applications at a fraction of the cost those big companies can pay (Ensign, Fast and Hentsch, 2016). Easy information access through social media has also forced sports brands to redesign their promotion strategies to demonstrate that they are more concerned about their client’s welfare as opposed to their traditional profit-making goals.

Effects on Pricing Strategies

Most of the works of literature sampled in this study highlighted pricing as one of the key tenets of marketing impacted by technology. Indeed, some of the investigations mentioned pricing as one of the key tools used by sports companies to differentiate markets. The concept was also portrayed as a complicated one because it is affected by multiple factors, some of which stem from consumer perceptions and others from product quality concerns (Chena, Wub and Hsua, 2019). Nonetheless, based on the findings sampled in this study, IoT appears to influence pricing strategies to the extent that they create perceptions about quality and value (Weinstein, 2020). The main levers of determining value are based on how well companies keep their audiences engaged. The articles sampled in the review discussed the concept of pricing in the sports industry to the extent that they affected ticket sales and revenue (Chena, Wub and Hsua, 2019). The investigations also addressed pricing issues through sports sponsorship programs and the reasons for failure. The body of evidence analyzed proposes that sports entities should not be in competition with one another but rather collaborate to overcome some of the cost concerns that lead to high prices.

Effects on Place Strategies

The role of place strategy in sports marketing is influenced by the need to find good locations to hold sporting activities. Most of the articles sampled in this review did not address location concerns in the context of technological advancement or the IoT but instead highlighted several areas of location concerns that have been affected by technology. For example, the elimination of geographical barriers in communication was one of the main factors affecting the design of supply chain logistics (Cichosz, Wallenburg and Knemeyer, 2020). The technology was seen as an additional attribute for analysis in this context of review because it helps to increase the efficiency of supply chain processes in not only the sports industry but other supporting industries as well. Several researchers mentioned the tourism and hospitality industries as auxiliary economic sectors supporting sports marketing (Önder, Gunter and Gindl, 2020). Therefore, it is not surprising that collaboration across various sectors was one of the proposals made to improve marketing efficiency.

Effects on Product Strategies

The effects of IoT on product strategies have been investigated within the framework of developing production design plans through value co-creation. Technology has made it possible for fans to be involved in the co-creation of sports events and the value associated with them. Therefore, the value associated with product strategy development is partly attributed to them. Social media has accelerated the involvement of fans in sports marketing. The literature sampled in this study has shown that there should be a careful consideration of context-specific factors when choosing a product placement strategy. To achieve this goal, the internet has made it possible for businesses or marketers to fine-tune their marketing plans in a way that makes it appealing to groups of people. This trend has introduced distinctiveness in sports branding, making it possible for companies to develop products that appeal to specific customer needs.

Implications of Findings to Stakeholders

The findings of this paper have extensive implications on different stakeholder groups involved in the sports marketing business. The subsections below highlight how three stakeholder groups could be impacted by the findings: academicians, policy-makers and practising managers.

Practising Managers: The findings of this study have extensive implications on practising managers in the sports management field because they highlight how different management functions can be effectively addressed using the competencies associated with the adoption of the IoT on the practice. Managers oversee different organisational functions and by failing to understand how the interconnectedness of computing devices affect their functions, they could experience low productivity. Therefore, it is no longer a privilege that practising managers employ the latest technologies in their tasks and processes but a requirement that they do so because of its rapidly evolving nature and relevance to business operations. In the context of this analysis, marketing is one of these rapidly evolving aspects of the business that require a nuanced understanding of how it could be impacted by technology through the IoT.

Policy-Makers: The sports industry is a highly regulated business because it is predicated on the promotion of fairness and equity in gameplay. The use of technologically aided tools in management further draws attention to this fact because IoT creates unique advantages and competencies that have helped to grow the industry. Policymakers would find the findings of this study useful to the task of formulating laws that do not stifle the adoption of new tools in sports management and instead encourage their growth and development. By interrogating some of the findings highlighted in this document, policymakers would also be in a good position of understanding the legal requirements of IoT adoption to aid their integration to the sports industry. By doing so, policy-makers would have a good understanding of the legal environment that characterizes IoT adoption.

Using technology, consumers are now demanding more accountability from their preferred brands while shareholders are pushing to have more transparency in the management of sports organisations and leagues around the world. These developments have significant implications on policy development in the sporting arena because organisations have also had to rethink their rules of engagement and accommodate more diversified means of communication and decision-making. For example, the use of VAR technology in the world cup to influence referee decisions has been accommodated in the rules and procedures of the football governing body FIFA (Burton, 2019). This example shows that technology is not only shaping how sports organisations and entities reach out to their customers but also how games are played and managed. These developments suggest that the effects of technology on sports not only spans the field of marketing but also touches on policy management and decision-making processes. Research studies have also highlighted this fact but their focus has mostly been on social media engagement (Wang et al., 2020). New evidence is growing to show how various technological platforms can be broadly investigated within the wider scope of the IoT and its effects on sports marketing and planning.

Academicians: The findings presented in this document are useful in expanding the body of literature discussing the effects of technology on businesses. Particularly, the insights presented in this document capture some of the latest developments of technology in the sports business because, as highlighted in the first chapter of this report, few researchers have explored how the IoT affects the sports marketing field. The findings highlighted in this study provide a foundation for designing future studies to understand the impact of IoT on the competitiveness of the sports industry as a unique business segment. Here, an industry comparative analysis can be done to establish how the IoT has not only shaped the sports industry but also other interconnected sectors, such as the travel and trims sector. Therefore, the findings presented in this paper can be used to undertake a comparative review of the effects of the IoT on the sports industry.

Learning Statement

From the onset of this study, the objectives of carrying out the investigation were clear. The investigation aimed to evaluate the extent that the IoT has changed sports marketing plans. Four key objectives defined the study and they sought to describe the effects of the IoT on product placement strategies in sports marketing, find out the effects of IoT on venue selection plans, examine its impact on pricing strategies in sports marketing and establish its effects on promotion plans. Based on the accomplishment of these objectives, stakeholders can have a broader understanding of how IoT affects sports marketing in totality.

I have always had a passion for sports and consistently been curious about the “business” side of it. For example, I have always wondered how the industry has been able to withstand many negative forces, such as economic crises, that have been detrimental to other businesses. The fact that it is an entertainment-based industry comes as no surprise because people watch games or attend tournaments to relax and “get away” from their busy schedules. The sentimental attributes of the industry notwithstanding I had a clear plan of how I was going to complete this study in a short time. Notably, I was to investigate the sports marketing field within the context of how the internet has shaped marketing planning activities in the last decade or so. However, in the course of undertaking the study, I discovered that the sports industry is wide. Therefore, what may be true for one aspect of its existence may become false in another context. This is why some of the researchers mentioned in this study highlighted the need to undertake a context-specific understanding of the impact of technology on marketing.

By undertaking this research process from the start to the end, I have also learned that the business world is undergoing fast-paced reforms and it may be difficult to be completely conversant with all changes that are happening. Stemming from these observations, technology has emerged as the most disruptive force in business and it is solely responsible for most of the changes mentioned in sports marketing. The IoT is only one example of how this revolutionary force is changing the industry. Marketing is equally only a small segment of the larger business environment that is undergoing change and transformation. From these developments, I believe that there will be a heightened need to undertake more studies to understand the full impact of digitization on sports marketing and other tenets of the industry. Overall, my biggest challenge in completing this project was limited time. I underestimated the period it would take to review the literature and write the final report, paying attention to observing format guidelines and such requirements. If I were to do it again, I would do it differently by spending less time on the literature search and more on the review process. Additionally, I would start the research process early to create enough time to complete other aspects of the project design and implementation.

Conclusion

The investigation aimed to evaluate the extent that the IoT has changed sports marketing plans. Four key objectives defined the study and they sought to describe the effects of the IoT on product placement strategies in sports marketing, find out the effects of IoT on venue selection plans, examine its impact on pricing strategies in sports marketing and establish its effects on promotion plans. The body of literature sampled in this narrative review was relevant in understanding the extent that the IoT could affect sports marketing planning because it highlighted several key areas of implementation control. They also mentioned challenges and barriers to IoT adoption and proposed solutions to solve them. Although the materials sampled were useful to the analysis, they mostly domiciled IoT investigations in the social media space. However, the IoT is a broad concept that involves an understanding of interconnected devices and their influence on market planning. Thus, it covers more media platforms and services than smartphones and social media. Future research should focus on conducting a primary study to highlight interconnectivity as one of the key variables influencing performance in the sports industry.

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