ASU Shares Opportunities For Entrepreneurs in the Game of Sports Marketing

When Jeramie McPeek, the Phoenix Suns’ vice president for digital media, started with the Phoenix Suns more than 20 years ago, the chief way to communicate with fans was a 15,000-circulation magazine sent to mostly to local season-ticket holders. Not so anymore.

McPeek was a speaker at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business’ Sports Business Association Second Annual Symposium. The symposium started with the Sports Business Radio Road Show, featuring Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO, Derrick Hall, followed by panels with professionals from sponsorship, digital media and analytics. The topics covered — digital and social media, sales trends and marketing — are evidence of how much sports business is changing.

These days, is visited by three million fans yearly. The team has attracted 1.7 million followers to its Facebook page, 400,000 to the Twitter feed and 200,000 to Instagram. Suns’ games also are streamed live on an app called Fox Sports Go.

“A lot of people are going away from television,” said Brett Hansen, director of communications and marketing for Fox Sports Arizona. “People are looking for other ways to watch. People are busy. You can’t always be home to watch your TV. This gives you the opportunity to watch the Suns on your phone. You’ve got to give them the opportunity to watch on another device.”

Other trends may include wearable apps — such as watches that will send fans data — and an increase in fan-generated content.

“It’s an incredible time to get into sports marketing,” said Alan Young, who has been involved in the Arizona sports scene for decades and now heads the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission. “Sponsorship sales and sports marketing has probably never been at a higher level. There are so many opportunities.”

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The Sports Business Association is an undergraduate organization at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. It is dedicated to teaching students about the sports business industry.