2010年2月21日 星期日

Smaller schools learn to play to their strengths

Near the end of an American football game against the Indianapolis Colts in November, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick ordered his team to run with the ball instead of kick it. His decision cost the Patriots the game.

Last night it was the Colts, not the Patriots, who played in the National Football League Super Bowl against the New Orleans Saints in Florida. The Super Bowl is the biggest sports business event of the year and virtually guarantees a $500m windfall for the local economy of the host city. Brands are willing to pay $3m for a 30-second television spot.

It is an event so commercially significant that Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University conducts an annual advertising review. Marketing faculty and members of the Kellogg Marketing Club convened on campus last night to watch the event and to rate the advertisers using a set of strict academic criteria. This will be used to produce a ranking of the Super Bowl's most - and least - successful advertisers.

"Sports leagues and teams receive high media coverage but, aside from one or two exceptions like Manchester United [the UK soccer team], most aren't big businesses or organisations that employ a lot of people," says Stephen Greyser, marketing professor at Harvard Business School . "And many are still run as family businesses."

According to Prof Greyser, more sports teams and leagues need to apply the kind of management principles taught in business schools. At the same time, students show a voracious appetite for sports-related content. Why then do the top business schools keep sports at arm's length?

While schools such as the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon and the College of Business Administration at University of Central Florida offer dedicated sports MBAs, few of the top-ranked US schools offer an MBA with any kind of sports business concentration.

At Stanford Graduate School of Business , professor of management George Foster points to the success of MBA graduates such as Wyc Grousbeck (Stanford), chief executive of basketball team Boston Celtics, and Larry Baer (Harvard), chief operating officer at the San Francisco Giants, as examples of how a general MBA serves sports best.

"Neither jumped . . . straight out of their MBA programmes into sports management," says Prof Foster. "Their non-sports years prior to their current positions gave them a tremendous platform to think clearly about the major decisions they make."

Wharton, at the University of Pennsylvania, seeks to satisfy students' curiosity with a sports-research approach, offering its professors and students the opportunity to act as consultants to sports businesses.

"We're funding 15 different sports research projects by professors who have not worked in the field of sports before," says Kenneth Shropshire, a sports lawyer who teaches negotiation technique to MBA students and runs the Wharton Sports Business Initiative. "After just two years, we're beginning to get some of those findings back, which we will publish in a Wharton sports business review."

At Harvard, the tack is to weave sports into the fabric of the MBA through case studies. "I have a colleague who has just written an interesting case study on pricing for a World Cup or Olympics event," says Prof Greyser. "Isn't the best way to expose a wider range of people to sports businesses to have material based on it present in the curriculum, rather than under a special heading?"

However, critics believe the reason for the arm's-length approach lies in the business school league tables published by magazines and newspapers - such as the Financial Times' rankings of global MBA programmes . "The problem is that sports jobs are usually low-paying and they hurt a business school's placement's stats," claims Wayne Winston, a professor of operations and decision technologies at Indiana's Kelley School of Business.

"I do think more professors will start using sports examples to illustrate analytic concepts because the students love them. Sports has great examples of how being data-driven makes it easier to succeed," says Prof Winston, who is also a consultant for the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

Outside the US, sports management programmes are also few and far between. In the UK, Manchester Business School offers an MBA in sport and major events, while Liverpool University has a soccer-focused MBA. But even in sports-mad Australia, leading business schools such as Australia School of Business (AGSM), Macquarie Graduate School of Management and Melbourne Business School have yet to develop an MBA with a sports focus.

But among US schools less focused on rankings, there are growing opportunities for students to concentrate on sports modules once they have completed core MBA content. The School of Business at George Washington University and Georgetown University , Washington DC, are among the latest to launch sports management MBAs and masters programmes.

The MBA at Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center was one of the first and entwines sports modules around a full two-year programme.

"We recognise that we will never compete with Harvard or Wharton on a strictly MBA basis, but to exploit a niche is sound business strategy," says Paul Swangard, managing director of WSMC.

"We also have the benefit of having in our backyard a confluence of major apparel manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas and Columbia around which we can build our programme."

Although a sports MBA programme at Arizona State University last year fell victim to budget cuts, Mr Swangard maintains the model is valid.

"What you get from programmes like ours is a 24/7 focus on the sports industry," he says.

去年11月,在对阵印地安那波里斯小马队(Indianapolis Colts)的美式橄榄球赛接近尾声时,新英格兰爱国者队(New England Patriots)主教练比尔•贝里提克(Bill Belichick)命令球队带球跑动,而不是踢球。他的决定让爱国者队输掉了那场比赛。

2月7日晚,在佛罗里达全美橄榄球联盟超级碗(National Football League Super Bowl)比赛中,迎战新奥尔良圣徒队(New Orleans Saints)的正是小马队,而不是爱国者。超级碗是每年最大的体育赛事,几乎能确保主办城市的经济获得5亿美元意外收入。许多品牌都愿意支付300万美元购买30秒的电视插播广告。

这项赛事在商业上是如此重要,以至于西北大学凯洛格管理学院(Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University)进行了一项年度广告评估。比赛当晚,营销教员与凯洛格市场营销俱乐部(Kellogg Marketing Club)的会员齐聚校园,一边观看比赛,一边用一套严格的学术标准给广告商打分。他们将用这些评分来制作一份超级碗最成功与最不成功广告商的排行榜。

“体育联盟和运动队有很高的媒体报道率,但除了(英国足球队)曼联(Manchester United)等一两个特例,大多都不是员工众多的大型企业或组织,”哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)市场营销学教授史蒂芬•格雷瑟(Stephen Greyser)表示。“许多仍在采用家族企业运营模式。”


尽管俄勒冈大学Lundquist商学院(Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon)、中佛罗里达大学工商管理学院(College of Business Administration, University of Central Florida)等院校提供针对体育的MBA项目,但很少有美国顶尖商学院提供专注于体育事业的MBA。

在斯坦福大学商学院(Stanford Graduate School of Business),管理学教授乔治•福斯特(George Foster)以维克•格罗斯贝克(Wyc Grousbeck,斯坦福大学)、拉里•拜尔(Larry Baer,哈佛大学)等MBA毕业生的成功为例,说明了综合MBA项目为何最适合于于体育。维克是篮球队波士顿凯尔特人(Boston Celtics)的首席执行官,拉里是旧金山巨人队(San Francisco Giants)的首席运营官。


宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)沃顿商学院(Wharton)寻求通过体育研究的方法来满足学生的好奇心,向教授与学生提供了担任体育企业顾问的机会。

向MBA学院教授谈判技巧的肯尼思•施罗普希尔(Kenneth Shropshire)也是沃顿体育产业项目(Wharton Sports Business Initiative)的负责人。他表示:“我们正在资助15个不同的体育研究项目,负责项目的教授以前都没有在体育领域工作的经历。仅仅过了两年,我们就开始收获了一些研究成果,我们将在一份沃顿体育产业论估中发表这些成果。”

哈佛的做法是,通过案例研究将体育纳入MBA课程。“我的一个同事最近刚刚撰写了一份有趣的案例研究,内容是世界杯(World Cup)或奥运会赛事的定价,”格雷瑟表示。“将相关材料纳入课程,而不是开一个特别专题,难道不是让更广泛人群了解体育企业的最好办法吗?”

不过,批评人士相信,顶尖商学院疏远体育内容的原因在于杂志与报纸发表的商学院排名——如英国《金融时报》全球MBA项目排行榜。“问题在于,体育行业的工作通常薪酬较低,会影响一家商学院的排名统计,”印第安那大学凯莱商学院(Kelley School of Business, Indiana)操作及决策技术教授韦恩•温斯顿(Wayne Winston)表示。

“我确实认为,会有更多教授开始使用体育案例来说明分析的概念,因为学生喜欢。对于从数据出发如何会让成功变得更容易,体育界有一些很棒的例子,”身为篮球队达拉斯小牛队(Dallas Mavericks)顾问的温斯顿表示。

在美国之外,体育管理项目同样很少见。在英国,曼彻斯特商学院(Manchester Business School)提供一个体育及重大赛事MBA课程;利物浦大学(Liverpool University)有一个足球方向的MBA。但即使在酷爱体育的澳大利亚,澳大利亚商学院(Australia School of Business)、麦格理管理研究所(Macquarie Graduate School of Management)、墨尔本商学院(Melbourne Business School)等领先商学院,也还没有推出体育方向的MBA。

但在一些不那么关注排名的美国商学院,学员们完成核心MBA内容后可专注于体育模块的机会正变得越来越多。最新推出体育管理MBA和研究生课程的院校包括乔治•华盛顿大学商学院(School of Business ,George Washington University)和华盛顿乔治敦大学(Georgetown University)。

俄勒冈华沙体育产业中心(Warsaw Sports Marketing Center)是首批这么做的商学院之一,它将体育模块纳入了为期两年的MBA课程中。

“我们认识到,就严格意义上的MBA来说,我们永远无法与哈佛或沃顿竞争,但发掘小众市场是一个不错的商业策略,”华沙体育产业中心董事总经理保罗•斯万加德(Paul Swangard)表示。


尽管亚利桑那州立大学(Arizona State University)的一个体育MBA课程去年成了削减预算的受害者,但斯万加德仍然认为这种模式是有效的。