Emotion in Sports Commercials: Best Way to Gain Fans?

This Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will clash in the highly anticipated Super Bowl LI in the final step towards the coveted Lombardi Trophy. The Super Bowl is one of the most celebrated sporting events in the United States, as last year’s matchup drew 111.9 million total viewers, according to Statista. As a result, corporations are presented with a prime opportunity to reach a high level of exposure through the utilization of television commercial advertisements during the game broadcast. A detailed report by Fortune explains that a 30-second commercial could be obtained for a whopping $5 million during last year’s Super Bowl. Given these staggering numbers, the effectiveness of the commercials is a critical determinant of whether these corporations experience a significant increase in sales and publicity.

football fans

One key component when it comes to commercial advertising is its ability to gauge the interest of the viewer, even if he or she does not exactly fit into the company’s target market. When examined from a sports marketing perspective, new customers may be gained if they feel inspired in some way to follow or participate in a specific sport. Prospective consumers may be influenced to purchase a sports product if manipulated by specific internal or external factors. Additionally, consumers may develop an interest in a sport or sports product through a fundamental marketing concept known as the Learning Theory, which explains three basic characteristics that may occur in any  order to influence the consumers’ involvement in a sport. These types of involvement are known as behavioral, cognitive, and affective involvement.


Behavioral involvement includes physically participating in the sport through practice or competition, or in a fan’s scenario entails rooting for their team at home or at the competition itself.

Cognitive involvement entails educating oneself in order to gain more information and knowledge about a specific sport. Individuals may utilize sources such as the internet, sports networks, and game broadcasts to further increase their understanding of the rules, traditions, and significance of that sport.

Affective involvement deals with the attitudes, feelings and emotions that a consumer has toward a sport, which may include pre-game tailgating, watch parties, or fan superstitions. Many sports corporations use this technique in commercials to tap into the viewers’ emotions, therefore producing within them a desire to follow that sport and purchase that company’s product or products.


An excellent example of how these factors influence a consumer’s buying decision is seen in this 2011 New Balance television advertisement entitled “Tell Me”, featuring Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia:

Of the three components that form the Learning Theory, this commercial places strong emphasis on the idea of cognitive involvement. It is intended to stir the viewers’ emotions, as the 5’9″ All-Star rattles off multiple statements that he has heard over the years from people who doubt his ability because of his lack of height. Pedroia is seen overcoming these criticisms throughout the commercial, in turn generating a supportive reaction from the viewer. This is a beneficial marketing technique for New Balance because they will likely gain customers who want to start playing baseball despite any personal doubts they have had in the future. It may make the viewer think, “if this 5’9″ man is one of the elite players in baseball, and wears New Balance cleats while doing it, then maybe I should purchase a pair and give it a shot too!” From here, the consumer will likely exercise cognitive involvement in order to grasp the overall concept of the game, and ultimately reach behavioral involvement when they begin practicing baseball and playing in games.

A series of individual and environmental factors influence the behaviors of the consumer as well. The most obvious individual factor of consumers based off this commercial is his or her motivation. Those who purchased New Balance cleats after seeing this advertisement likely did so because they buy into the “underdog” concept that Pedroia models. Of all the environmental factors that influence consumers to purchase the product, market behavior is likely the most important, since much of fan behavior relates to the success of their favorite players. New Balance adequately harnesses this fact through the endorsement of Dustin Pedroia in their “Tell Me” advertisement, as he is one of the most talented and beloved players in all of Major League Baseball.



-Collin Wallace


One Action, Multiple Consequences: Rutgers Coach Hurts Players, Team and School

It is no secret that sports play a significant role in the United States’ current society. Every year, the total revenue generated by sports increases drastically, as this industry represents one of the fastest growing markets in the world. A recent report by Forbes estimated that the North American sports market was worth $60.5 billion in 2014, and is estimated to arrive at a whopping $73.5 billion by the year 2019. It is expected that approximately $20.6 billion of this total will come from sports media rights, therefore expanding the coverage and importance of media with sporting events and teams. This suggests that the business side of sports is crucial to the success of a particular sports organization, from the performance of coaches and athletes up to the team’s promotional strategies. Given this fact, every action that occurs within the organization has the potential to create either a positive or negative impact on its overall image.

mike-rice-shoesRutgers University men’s basketball coach Mike Rice is a prominent example of how a negative internal environment can harm a sports organization’s reputation. In April of 2013, Rice was fired after a video surfaced on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”, which showed him shoving and throwing basketballs at players during a team practice. He also included multiple gay slurs in his dialogue toward his players, which ultimately sparked widespread controversy around the nation. This language-censored video can be seen here, but take caution as viewer discretion is advised.

The practice tapes were first shown to Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti in November 2012, which led him to suspend Coach Rice for three games, fine him $50,000, and enroll him in anger management classes. Once the footage finally became public, however, the university faced heavy fire from fans, parents, and even LGBTQ equal rights groups. This left Tim Pernetti no option but to fire Rice from the position completely, despite still having two years left on his five-year head coaching contract. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shared his thoughts on the situation as well, issuing this statement to the public: “Parents entrust their sons to the Rutgers athletic department and the men’s basketball program at an incredibly formative period of their lives. The way these young men were treated by the head coach was completely unacceptable and violates the trust parents put in Rutgers. All of the student-athletes entrusted to our care deserve much better.” Mike Rice’s inappropriate actions amplified an already growing disapproval from fans, as the team went 44-51 under his leadership, including compiling an underwhelming 17-39 record in Big East Conference play.

Despite the fact that Rice’s actions were his own, the effects of those actions stretch far beyond himself. One example of this can be found in Derrick Randall, a former player under Coach Rice who filed a lawsuit against him in December of 2013. In addition to Rice, Randall also cited the university, Rutgers president Robert Barchi, athletic director Tim Pernetti, and three others as defendants in the case. Also after Rice’s firing, four players from the Scarlet Knights basketball team transferred to another school, including top 25 recruit Eli Carter. Three more players were lost after Eddie Jordan took the helm for the 2013-2014, providing further evidence of the players’ lack of desire to remain in the crumbling program. It is clear that Rutgers University is now faced with lasting backlash from the incident, thus unfortunately impairing the prestige of the men’s basketball program, the athletic department, and the school altogether. A conscious effort must be made by Rutgers University and its basketball program to restore its credibility and erase its tainted past. It may be a long and difficult rebuilding process, but it is important to remember that most good things take time.



-Collin Wallace


Welcome to the League

My name is Collin Wallace, and I would first like to take the opportunity to thank you for visiting my sports marketing blog, World Series of Marketing. My intent is to utilize this blog so that it provides an in-depth analysis of the crucial role that marketing plays in the wide world of sports. Professional sports teams, college teams, and many other sports organizations use sports marketing in order to gain and maintain customers, create personal relationships, and ultimately generate a profit. World Series of Marketing is dedicated to the examination of some of the major facets that compose sports marketing, as well as provide real-world scenarios in which these components are applied. This blog will be updated every week, with each post focusing on a different area of sports marketing, including advertising, sponsorships, and marketing strategies. Additionally, some of today’s most successful sports organizations will broken down from a marketing standpoint to expose crucial aspects that contribute to the success of that organization.

One of the easiest ways to keep up with posts from World Series of Marketing is to follow my personal social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and/or Snapchat. Each week that I publish a new post to this blog, I will place a link through these programs in order to serve as a notification that the new content has been posted. My social media info is as follows:

  1. Instagram: ib_shaggy13 
  2. Twitter: ib_shaggy13
  3. Facebook: Collin Wallace
  4. Snapchat: rolltribe13

Now for a little bit about me! I am currently a sophomore at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia. I am a member of the Men’s Cross Country and Track teams, competing in long distance events such as the 8k in cross country and the 5k/10k in track. I am a Sport Business major, and am presently on track to earn a Master’s degree in Business Administration through Wesleyan’s five-year MBA program. Two of my biggest passions are sports and outdoor recreation, so one of my primary goals in life is to have a hands-on job within one of these disciplines. Due to the broad opportunities for employment in the field of sport business, I have yet to decide on a specific career. I am, however, required as a Sport Business major to obtain an internship before graduation. Therefore, I am considering a possible with college athletic department, a minor or major league baseball team, or a four-seasons resort.

Although I am not fully capable of controlling my future after leaving Wesleyan, my ideal scenario would include living in the city of Loveland, Colorado. With a population of approximately 72,000 residents, this beautiful mountain town possesses a relatively low cost of living and is located less than an hour from the cities of Denver, Fort Collins, and Boulder. The close proximity to Denver would provide plenty of employment opportunities in professional sports, given the fact that the city is home to MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL teams (Rockies, Broncos, Nuggets, and Avalanche, respectively). If I end up pursuing a career in college athletics, the University of Colorado and Colorado State University, located in Boulder and Fort Collins, respectively, are less than a 45 minute commute from Loveland. A career in outdoor recreation could be fulfilled through working at one of several Colorado ski resorts or at Rocky Mountain National Park, all of which are located within an hour of the city.

Now that you know a little bit more about me and my sports marketing blog, I sincerely hope that you enjoy this page and check back often. Feel free to share World Series of Marketing with others, as well as engage with and provide feedback on this blog. It is my mission to provide you, the reader, with high-quality, detailed information on the various ways in which marketing plays a substantial role in sports, whether professional or amateur. Thank you!



-Collin Wallace