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Sports Industry: A Research Guide

Sports Marketing & Management

Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California 2012. Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs, Carol M. Highsmith's America Project. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This section is devoted to the management of sports teams as a whole, because advertisers have long advertised at sporting events and teams have seen it as a way to generate more money. As interest in sports grew, and cable television channels ESPN and other specialized channels were established, this relationship between team, player, and advertiser developed even more. We have included marketing related material as it relates to the promotion of sporting events, teams, and athletes as well as the promotion of products and services through sporting events, teams, and athletes.

The increasing popularity of sports has meant an increase in the visibility of teams and most importantly, its athletes. This has meant advertisers have found it increasingly valuable to team up with sports stars to make their brands even more visible. One person closely associated with the history and development of sports marketing was Mark McCormack the founder and chairman of International Management Group (now IMG), who was a lawyer who represented a number of athletes including pro golfer Arnie Palmer. He was able to secure endorsement deals for many of his clients and under his guidance Palmer went so far as to establish Arnold Palmer Enterprises.

There are two emerging areas of research - gambling/gaming and the future of sports fans. In the U.S. sports betting has been fraught but that has been changing as various jurisdictions have legalized sports betting. The major sports leagues have becoming more interested in being directly involved in some fashion.

Another area of research that has been a big concern for major sports leagues, is bringing new fans on board. This has become critical when it comes to Generation Z, who do not get their news from traditional sources and who consume entertainment more online than through more traditional TV and cable avenues. While the NBA has a significant percentage of its fan base below the age of 35, other sports leagues have begun to address the issue. The NHL has created a Gen Z focus group while the NFL has a Social Media summit to discuses trends, issues, and solutions. In 2020, Major League Baseball brought in Gen Z researcher Mark Beal for their Baseball Speaker Series with a presentation titled “Engaging Gen Z With Purpose Will Set Major League Baseball Up for Success in the Future.”

When doing research in this area, there are different strategies to gather information in order to develop a complete picture. Look for information that sheds light on the relationship between fans and their teams—sport consumer behavior (SCB) and look at specific examples of what athletes and teams are branding. Keep in mind that information may reside in places outside of sports and sports marketing literature because broadcasting, general advertising/marketing, social media, digital platforms, ticket sales, and community relations have their own literature where the topic is also discussed.


The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.


Internet Resources

Books & Articles

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

Search the Library's Catalog

Additional works on the business of football in the Library of Congress may be identified by searching the Online Catalog under appropriate Library of Congress subject headings. Choose the topics you wish to search from the following list of Library of Congress subject headings to link directly to the Catalog and automatically execute a search for the subject selected. Please be aware that during periods of heavy use you may encounter delays in accessing the catalog. For assistance in locating the many other subject headings which relate to football as a business, please consult a reference librarian.