Sports Business

Imagine a software strategy that allows an organization to combine the disparate data threads it collects about customers, then, using the Web and other technologies as well as non-technical methods, put the data to work to develop closer ties with customers. This is CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. With CRM, sports teams can cater specifically and efficiently to fans' needs and whims, react to trends, reward loyalty, fix problems, and retain its current clientele and attract more. A panel of sports executives discussed the state of CRM in their industry at the annual meeting of the Sport Marketing Association recently at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

For major marketers, competing and winning in the sports arena means more than simply affiliating a product with the team that posts the most points or the athlete who stands out in the draft picks. Marketers like Coca-Cola have learned that when it comes to navigating the tide of sports, they can no longer assume that their brand and product will be a standout player. It's all about appealing to sports fans as consumers, and adapting to their changing demands. John Cordova, director of sports transaction management at Coca-Cola, knows that scoring points and continuing to hold a lead among soft-drink consumers at sports venues requires an evolving marketing playbook.