What are “second tier sports”? In an article posted by Ross in May of 2009 in the “Orgtheory09.wordpress.com” he listed Arena Football, WNBA, and National Indoor Soccer League. These three associations have gone through drastic changes over the past few years in the economic uncertainty, but did their attendance drop because they people don’t have enough money to go to these events? Or are people deciding that the “excitement value” they receive from going to these sporting events not worth the time, money, and sluggish experience? I would disagree with Ross and present the idea that people spotted going to these second tier sporting events because their excitement levels failed in comparison to the bigger “first tier sports”.
Second tier sports remain second tier sports because of a few factors that affect all sports leagues. The market size of the audience, excitement level of the event, and importantly the recognizable sports endorsers that play they sports. The WNBA is competing against the much larger NBA, the arena football league is competing against the much larger and more exciting NFL, and the National Indoor Soccer League doesn’t have a direct competitor because Americans really don’t like soccer. The second tier sports do not have a very large market for audience, a low excitement level, and they usually do not have any recognizable sport endorsers. Sports that last have to be able to generate enough revenue to cover their own costs, which is usually done through ticket costs. If a sport is not popular enough to be able to cover its own costs, is it really an effective business? Is their product the best on the market? If not, then they either have to change their approach to capture part of the market or fail.
Though the idea the these second tier sports were struggling due to the effect that the down ward economy had on people’s discretionary income, which is true, I would tend to believe that people are not going to these second tier sporting events because they feel that they are getting enough of an experience, and not because of the economic down turn. In direct comparison, people still have enough money to be able to go to NFL, NBA, MLB games. People go to sporting events because they want to be entertained. Most of the second tier sports are targeting a very small niche market that does not have enough of an audience to make enough money to survive. Why would people pay nearly the same price to go see second tier athletes compete against other second tier athletes when they can spend a little more and go see the best in the world go head-to-head?
Though this is inappropriate, I think it drives the point home.