LA Rams homecoming

Author Dylan Johnson, University of San Francisco

Posted: October 4, 2016

Tagged: fan motives

The National Football League’s Los Angeles Rams have decided to use their homecoming as their focal point in marketing and sponsorship. Hyundai and AT&T are the last of 10 top-level “homecoming” sponsors that have been secured by the estranged franchise (Lefton, 2016, para. 1). Hyundai fits perfectly into this model as they are based 30 miles from LA and are, “committed to Southern California,” as Tera Reedy, Hyundai senior group manager of experiential marketing explained (Lefton, 2016, para. 2). Pushing their homecoming, the LA Rams are appealing to, and influencing team brand associations, consumer’s (fan) attitude towards the team, as well as behavior and motivation.

The homecoming marketing strategy is clearly used to help generate game attendance. The team has not averaged a winning record over the past decade and has a 93-year-old stadium; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of oldest actively used stadiums in all of sports which limits the amount of, and quality of, amenities they can provide to premium seats. This makes the homecoming the rallying tool (Lefton, 2016, para. 6). If one is examining consumer behavior, and the motivation model that helps determine the motivation and decision making process to attend a sport event, the external influences would be: the league (as sport attractiveness). Limited environmental factors, due to old infrastructure, could lead to lower ticket prices (economic factors) but may, in turn, make attendance better than anticipated while at the same time, lowering revenue intake because they will not have as many luxury seats to fill and will not be able to sell those tickets at premium price levels (Pons, Giroux & Mourali 2014, p.25).

However, because Los Angeles has a thriving economy and has been starving for an NFL franchise for decades, the team should not have problems selling tickets as they did not have problems gaining sponsorship. One of the most noted sponsorship deals is with Corona. Adding Corona as a sponsor targets a population that could be spectators or fans as Los Angeles has a large Hispanic population. This makes the homecoming theme hit in two areas, homecoming as the Rams are back in LA, but also, with Corona being the “Official Cerveza,” they are also instilling a little taste of home for a substantial population (Lefton, 2016). This can help solidify beliefs about a sport team that will lead to feelings that influence intentions and commitment which in turn, leads to consumer behavior (Giroux et al. 2014, p.40). Fans can rally around a LA Rams team that is not only coming home but also sponsoring a hometown beer, which can influence a spectator to make the jump to a committed fan.

Using the laddering of team brand associations, the LA Rams flow chart would go as follows: the attribute/benefit is socialization; LA fans (in theory) will rally around a team returning home; a home that has a huge population and is ready to spend money on their football team. That leads to the consequence of fans and spectators attending live games and tuning in via T.V. and streaming platforms which leads to value; a sense of belonging to something greater than oneself. Belonging a team and a community/fan base.

The Rams focus on homecoming has allowed them to gain sponsorship which paired together with the proper marketing plan, should bring positive projections for fan attendance and attitude. This is a good strategy for a team that is not projected to be very good but because of location and lack of an NFL presence, should have an abnormally large amount of interest. A bit of an anomaly in sport, it will be interesting to see how consumers react and how marketing tactics impact fan acquisition and how retention strategies change throughout the season(s).

 

 

References

Funk, D. C., & Lock, D. (2014). Sport Consumer attitudes: Formation, function, and effects on information processing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 37-50). New York, NY: Routledge.

Pons, F., Giroux, M., & Mourali, M. (2014). Consumer Behavior and Motivation: Why are sport event consumers so special? In M. P.Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp.21-36). New York, NY: Routledge.

Lefton, T. (2016, September 12). Rams fill top slots with Hyundai, AT&T. SportsBusiness Journal, 19(22). Retrieved from www.sportsbusinessjournal.com

 

About Dylan Johnson, University of San Francisco

Dylan graduated from Fordham University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Information Science. Subsequently, he started working full time at The Grand Wailea on Maui in the Purchasing Department and about a year later in the Recreation Department as part of the managerial team. He is currently in the Sport Management graduate program at the University of San Francisco where he also works full time in the Athletic Department in Business Operations. Dylan also works part time at Stanford University as an Event Manager. He plans to complete the graduate program and continue working in Collegiate Athletics. This is an edited version of a paper prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Eric Garcetti, "Mayor Garcetti at the Los Angeles Rams first home game at the Coliseum", www.flickr.com/photos/99292716@N06/. Accessed via Creative Commons license.