Good Research Paper About The MLB AND Chan-Ho Park, The South Korean Hero
Why Major U.S. Sports Leagues Are So Popular In Asia and How MLB and NBA Affect Asian
Why Major U.S. Sports Leagues Are So Popular In Asia and How MLB and NBA Affect Asian
Never before and never again in order to redeem the tough loss to Soviet Union in the 1988 Seoul Olympic, in 1992, Michal Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and 8 other NBA superstars gathered together as a team in an effort to bring home the gold. Their mission was simple but very clear: “to reclaim the United States of America as the unarguable best basketball country in the world.” As almost everyone expected, the Team USA dominated its first international debut in an Olympic qualifying match against Cuba. Ever since then, what they did, what they wore, and even what they drank on and off the court became news and people went wild. However, it was not just a national sensation. As soon as the first Dream Team touched down in Barcelona Spain, they made their presence felt on the court as much as they did on the court. Their shoes and t-shirts got sold in a blink of an eye. Moreover, international news magazines began headlining their personal lives in response to the growing interest. That was how an American sport transformed into an international phenomenon. Ever since then, whenever the Olympic comes around, the billions of foreign sports fans’ attention is focused on which NBA superstar makes the Olympic roster. Even though, they already know which team is going to win the Olympic gold medal.
The National Basket Association has come a long way in terms of global marketing and it has blurred the boundaries of the global sports industry. An interesting statistic from “Strategyanalystics.com” indicates how the NBA has a significant global influence on other countries. “Now game is internationally broadcast in 217 countries and 47 languages;NBA.com web page gets about 13 to 15 billion page views outside of the United States every season; more than 125,000 stores in 101 countries are selling NBA jerseys, hats and t-shirts; the NBA is the most loved American professional sports league on social media like Facebook and Twitter.” Especially in Asia, the NBA has been a huge influence regardless of age and gender since The 7-foot-6 Chinese center, Yao Ming was selected with the first overall pick in 2002 NBA Draft. Yao’s journey in the big stage drew about 3 billion Asians’ attention. Interestingly enough, research carried out by NBA.com in 2005 showed that in 83% of Chinese males (15 to 24-year-old) regarded them’ as an NBA fan. They stated basketball as their most favorite sports to play.
In addition, Jeremy Lin shouldn’t be omitted when talking about the NBA’s influence on Asia. When the Harvard graduate Asian-American basketball player came off the bench at that night, nobody knew who that was, and who they were like “who the hell he is?” However, he introduced himself to those who didn’t know about him with 25 points, along with five rebounds and seven assists. Since then, the “Insanity” was heating the entire Asian community inside and outside of the United States and his jersey and T-shirts were outselling that of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony combined. Yao Ming Opening the China Market What the NBA brought in Asia was incredibly vast and turned into a catalyst for the globalization of basketball in less than no time. Yao Ming’s name on the Houston Rockets’ roster made it possible for the NBA to map out global expansion (Oates & Polumbaum, 2004).
Yao Ming. Inarguably the best Asian basketball player who ever played in the league, was the centerpiece of the NBA’s global marketing strategy. His rising marketability was the factor that enabled the NBA to lay the foundation for the NBA’s market expansion in Asia. With the talented and crafted Chinese basketball star’s growing presence on the court, the NBA was pleased with expanded TV rights deals in China. Also increasing web traffic in NBA.com, which drew more than 40 percent of internet users outside the United States (Oates & Polumbaum, 2004).Yao Ming’s off-court achievement was so unparalleled, and he is now considered one of the NBA products that help the NBA go global. Even comparing to Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and the one and only, Michael Jordan, his resume he built in his entire career would not be overlooked. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, because the Chinese government barely took a positive attitude toward globalization, the NBA wasn’t welcomed and paid attention to as much as it is now. The former NBA commissioner, David Stern, wanted to find a Chinese Michael Jordan in order to pry open the Chinese market (Larmer, 2005). However, ever since Yao Ming put on the red & white Houston Rocket’s Jersey, The NBA sold more television broadcasting rights to China. In Yao’s rookie year, 2002-2003 seasons, the NBA sold 170 games to China, and the viewership rating was expected to reach 400 million households (Oates & Polumbaum, 2004).
Even though the history of the globalization of the Major League Baseball is short, it has been an enormous influence in Asia, especially South Korea. Like the most Chinese people view Yao Ming as one of the most influential Chinese sport stars, Chan-Ho Park is inarguably the South Korean sports sensation whom South Korean people often name when being asked who the most favorite athlete is. Being proud of hosting the 1988 Summer Olympic, South Korean people, however, were still thirsty for the birth of a sports hero. Although these days, some South Korean athletes are pursuing the American dream, such as Hyun-Jin Ryu (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Shin-Shoo Choo (Texas Rangers). Also most recently Jung-Ho Kang (Pittsburgh Pirates), none of South Korean-made the American major sports leagues’ roster back then in early 90’s. No one had believed that it would happen until Chan-Ho Park was recruited by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994.Ever since Chan-Ho Park made the Major League Baseball team, the popularity of Major League Baseball in South Korea began rapidly increasing. Before broadcasting the Major League Baseball games in South Korea, Korean Baseball Organization League was the only sports league that South Korean people had developed their interests. Nevertheless, as Chan-Ho Park played well and began making his name heard in United States, it eventually led to the success of Major League Baseball in South Korea.
Major League Baseball began becoming more and more popular American sports league in South Korea, and even the South Korean government tried to broadcast locally the American baseball games (Cho, 2009). Consequently, the popularity of Korean Baseball Organization went down and the number of spectators also significantly decreased from 4.4 million in 1997 to 2.6 million after broadcasting the MLB games (Cho, 2007).However, the fast growth in the majority of the American baseball league emerged as a significant issue. In the late 90’s, South Korea’s economy plunged as the financial crisis hit South Korea hard. After achieving the huge success in South Korea, the Major League Baseball wanted to ink television broadcasting rights at $3 million dollars, which was 320,000 dollars a year ago. But over 90% of South Korean people were not supportive of the deal, arguing that saving the country from the economic crisis shouldn’t get prioritized over watching the Major League Baseball. Therefore, the money should be spent to pay off the national debt.
However, the Major League Baseball and Chan-Ho Park’s images helped South Korea overcome the economic crisis in the late 90’s. It is important and interesting to see how much the growth interest in the MLB in South Korea has to do with the IMF intervention (Cho, 2007). As the Major League Baseball games became the large part of South Korean people’s lives, People were significantly influenced by the MLB and Chan-Ho Park. Both soon became the positive and optimistic impact on South Korean people who were struggling during the IMF intervention. People began to view him as a hero providing people hope and will overcome the economic crisis and keep moving forward (Cho, 2007).
Why is Asian Market Important?
As the popularity of the major U.S. professional leagues has been rapidly growing in Asia, the demand for America’s most famous sports has hit an all-time high. Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, has shown his passion for the Asian market, especially China. Here he believes the NBA is the number one sport, carrying out his global mission by holding two pre-season games in Shanghai and Beijing in order to provide estimated 450 million Chinese fans with an authentic NBA experience. Similarly, the Major League Baseball has held so-called “the MLB Japan All-Star Series” in Japan that is a best of seven series played between America’s Major League Baseball All-Stars and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball All-Stars every even-numbered year. Now eyeing Asian market is a must not an option for the major professional sports leagues in the United States. As transforming into the promised land of the sports market, the continent of 4.4 billion people has become a centerpiece of the globalization of sports and considered an important marketplace outside of the United States. The two most contributing factors are the potential of the Asian consumer market and growing revenue from a sponsorship deal with Asia-based companies.
First and foremost, the potential of the Asian consumer market has played an enormous role in making a constant attempt to capitalize on the Asian market. Comparing with the U.S economy, the average GDP and consumption growth of the Asian countries are 6.98 and 6.22 respectively. That translated to almost three times more than the United States’ are. That implied that the Unites States based markets began sensing a new opportunity in Asia. U.S. based professional sports leagues were one of those markets trying to penetrate into the new market. They attempted to make the most of the Asian market by recruiting Asian players, which would upsurge TV rights revenue, aid income, and marketing prospects. After the NBA’s eminent success by the employment of Yao Ming, the NFL, which is not as much popular as the NBA, tried to employ Chinese soccer players for the role of place kicker? They believed that recruiting Chinese players would increase their presence in the Asian market and revenue as well (Cozzillio & Hayman, 2005).
Also, NBA considers itself a global league. According to NBA, it has identified China as an important market outside USA. For example when Adam Silver took over the NBA commissioner docket he estimated that there were up to 100 million fans in China that love and watch their games. Thus, he has been sending teams to exhibitions in China and considers early Saturday morning games in the Chinese states to accommodate the audience. At one time, he was quoted saying that nothing could be number one at anything in the world unless it was number one in China. He added that the move has not been to bring NBA games to China only but through broadcasting these games they also bring China to the global light. For that he has been considering a team to play at least every two months for a Saturday morning game. He also added that the one-child policy and the limited space door in the densely populated cities of China have led to the expansive growth of basketball sports.
An exclusive interview with DW and Benjamin Morel who is the managing director of EMEA revealed that more people who have been watching the games from you tube come from the countries of EMEA (Cozzillio & Hayman, 2005). He showed that more than 100 players come from outside US, and that has contributed to connection with the people and make more opportunities in Asia than in USA. The players were also praised to be down to earth and can be accessible to any fan while they are in the court and for this reason they bond with the fans that also include young children. These then grow knowing that NBA Sports are the place to be, and thus they continue the spirits making Asia a critical market for it. Reports from the CBA have it that over 300 million estimated Chinese youth who actively engage in the sport is equivalent to the entire US population. Even with the exit of Chinese legend Yao Ming, the NBA games still hopes the market will still be the way it has been since they have worn many of the Asian fans loyalty. In 2007, he played against Yi Jianlian a match that ended 108-88 turned to be the most watched ever by more than 200 million Chinese and broadcasted on nineteen networks in China. In 2011, when Yao Ming exited due to injury the news sparked more than 1.2 million comments from the fans. For that reason, it showed why Asia is a critical market for the NBA.
In addition, sponsorship with some Asia-based corporations has been beneficial to the NBA and MLB not just in terms of branding and marketing, but financially. Sponsorship revenue of the NBA has kept increasing now that the NBA put the globalization of the league as a top priority and now sponsorship deal with Asia-based corporations is considered one of the revenue-generating opportunities. In this season, the NBA has three sponsorship deals with South Korean-based companies, Kia Motors, Kumho Tire, and Samsung. Financial terms haven’t come out into the light, but Samsung reportedly signed a $100 million deal with the NBA. On top of that, having extended Kia’s sponsorship deal as official automotive partner, not only has the NBA been able to expand its reach in Asia by allowing Kia to launch several commercials featuring two NBA superstar LeBron James and Blake Griffin. These two are loved and admired in Asia, but they could also attract more Asia-based corporations that seek marketing opportunities in the United States. Sports Brands (Nike) influence on Asia Sports brands like Nike, Adidas, and Puma, have been in the market for several years, but the Giants in branding keep soldiering. Over the years, Nike has made it be at the top due to various factors influencing the market. Nike has been on top because it carried out the customers’ preference and found out that they identified themselves with the famous stars.
On realizing that they shifted to association with the famous athletes, sponsor programs for significant events in the USA. They also heightened awareness through television advertising campaigns and finally made people perceive the quality of the products to be high tech. It has been that way since the company started way back in 1960. At that time, the brand emerged and was customized according to the American cultures. Association of the people, today using the products can also trace the love for these products from long time immemorial. When the brand came into being, it stood for core values like an accomplishment, super performance, innovation, achievements. Above all, it was made with a strong masculine and personality in focus. These values dominated the American culture during the 1960s and 1970s. During that time that Americans had just finished the Second World War making it a super power. After that, they again went ahead to win the followers trust by successfully landing in space in 1965. That was the time when Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon beating their competitors the Soviets. These acts became deeply rooted in all spheres of life sports being one of them. Nike being a brand that needed recognition stood for these values. It stressed on them and later built it through its different ways of equating resources. Some of the athlete of that time it associated itself to were Michael Jordan and McEnroe. They personified Nikes core values of innovation, performance, and achievement. After succeeding, they sponsored the basket league. It was the most famous sport in the USA and in that way it conveyed highest level of performance seriousness and success. The company has seen that they had taken over the American market, so they started expanding towards Europe and Asia. They just employed the strategies they had been using in the USA. When applied for the first time but they failed to succeed.
Their cultures could not match and that led to conflicts in considering the brand. They perceived the image negatively as an arrogant and fashionable aggressive rather than performance innovative one. They ventured into manufacturing sportswear and equipment. These were and still being retailers that worked under Nike town name. Nike still works alongside its values of passion and competitive energy. They also started doing some research and development in the market. Their products also started selling cheap in the market for identification. The low price was due to the engagement of smaller Far East companies. Nike has been using the tag name to involve currently in the production of shoes. The team of experts has been reviewing the market demand, and thus they make goods according that their customers want. They conducted research and found out that people needed what they could use in their daily lives, and some of them included what they could wear. For that reason, they have been making different clothing brands with the tag Nike on it (Younghan, 2007). The production and distribution have been taking the fast trend in the Asian market as compared to the local brands. Nike has been achieving its position in the market differently from the other local brands.
They also improved their public relations that were more magnificent during the hosting of the major game event. They could use their slogan ‘just do it’. With that, it gave people morale and the local brands found that they had little space in the consumers’ hearts. They also invested around 280 million USD for awareness. That move increased their consumers’ confidence in them as the other local brands could invest very little funds and effort to advertize their brands. A case study was done in one of the colleges in one of the Asian universities, and it came out that most of them preferred the foreign brands to their local. The reason that contributed to that was the way international brands like Nike could make people aware of their products. Other brand factors such as equity, loyalty, quality associations, patents, distribution systems and other various marks looked. It came out that Nike provided the best for all these and that made it be on top of other local brands. According to the statistics of that study product quality for the foreign brands, was at 83.3% (Paul et all, 1996). The local Asian brands like Lin Ing and Anta of Chinese gathered only 27.6%. In the category and design, the international name again took to be the best at 79.0% while the local brands were still struggling at 37.6%. When they were asked about the after-sale services, the foreign brands still took a lead at 43.8% while the chines brands took 24.3%.
Some changes in clothing and the way of living in Asian sports
Asian cultures and customs refer to the way of life for the Asian people. It has various religions, dances, music, food, sports and other spheres of life. Nike just like other leading sportswear brands including Puma, Adidas, Reebok, and Timberland have shaped the way of life of the Asian people (David & Callum, 2010). In our daily lives there occur some harmful substances that come into the environment or those that get into our bodies. It was for this that the Greenpeace launched detox challenge and targeted these famous sports brands to be their ambassadors. Within a matter of time, Nike had introduced a plan that could make the goals of the trial be achieved by 2020. Adidas and puma later followed them. In the current past, it was illustrated that there were some activists who sued these international brands for changing the styles of clothing in their countries. The clothing has been more on branded sports gears than what was being worn in the ancient times. Anna McMullen from Labor behind the label explained how their clothing industry was far from being sweat-shop free, she was quoted saying,
‘Poverty levels of pay remains a problem right across the clothing industry. For example Philippines, recent play fair 2012 research found that 50% of workers making Adidas Olympic-branded gears have rely on loan shark payouts. In China, many of its workers can only manage to inhabit cramped dorms far from their families.'
It has come out that since the international brands started hosting the major events like the Olympic Games they have actually changed the way the Asians view their clothing and mode of life. A researcher conducted among sample students in the Asian countries revealed that they the students wished to be living the way of life like the stars they identified themselves with attached to these international brands. Most of them were frank enough to tell the researchers that if they could get chances to dress the way they liked, they could be coming to school with their favorite branded clothes (Younghan, 2009). Many of them also admitted that they were trying to cope up with the way of life of their international stairs. They said if they could get a choice of living then they would pick their stars ways and abandon the way they were being told by the local stars and their brands. They could do so because they considered their local clothing in superior to the international brands.
Some of the local clubs from the Asian countries were also noted to prefer their clothes stamped using these international labels for them to try to achieve their fame. It was for an association as a club with Nike label could be supported and associated with than a club that branded its jerseys using local names. The sportsmen in Asia also want fame and to achieve that they associate with these international stars attached to the international names to make their ways out. The sports associations in Asia have adopted the foreign methods of treatment for their sportsmen and women (Brook, 2005). All the ways of life, culture, and practices of the Asian games have shifted more to the west than remaining in their state of doing things.
In conclusion, the sports world is dynamic, and every change that takes place in it moves the fans in the direction in which it spins. Therefore, sports being international it popularity depends on how people view it, its presentations and the contributions it translates to in the lives of those it affects. Thus, the above reasons explain why US sports leagues are so popular in Asia and the effects of MLB and NBA to the Asian lives.
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