Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Beyond the "Business Case" for the Wnba: Astrategic Perspectives Approach for League Sustainability

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Beyond the "Business Case" for the Wnba: Astrategic Perspectives Approach for League Sustainability

Article excerpt

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is comprised of 13 professional teams which are largely backed by the economic power of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Created in 1996, many WNBA teams are controlled by NBA franchise owners, share the same arenas as their men's counterpart, oversees its operations, regulates team ownership, and negotiates broadcasting rights and sponsorships (McDonald, 2000). However, the existence of the WNBA as a brand extension of the NBA provides an opportunity to examine the strategic leveraging opportunities that exist for league stakeholders. This particular dynamic is unique - in that - the WNBA's sustainability can be determined if social and cultural perspectives (to help grow the game of basketball) are considered.

In recent times, some properties housed in the professional sport industry have created league extensions (similar to the idea of a brand extension; see Aaker and Keller, 1990). For Matt Walker, Melanie Sartore, and Eric 34 MacIntosh example, the National Football League (NFL) created the World League of American Football (WLAF) which later became the NFL Europe, the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) formed the XFL, the NBA also created the NBA Developmental League (D-League), as well as the WNBA (Campbell and Kent, 2002). Historically, league extensions have garnered little success; however, the WNBA possesses some key attributes that may help its sustainability1. First, the rising influence of women in America has prompted similar rises for professional sport opportunities (Acosta and Carpenter, 2010). Second, the high cost of attending an NBA event is out of reach for the average American family but "... the WNBA is all about value" stated WBNA President Donna Orender (Brandweek, 2005). Third, the WNBA provides a unique marketing vehicle which appeals to the relatively untapped female viewership population for the NBA. Further, the WNBA is able to capitalize on sponsorship opportunities, arena deals, and financial support from the NBA and its owners.

Operationalized in the literature as efforts taken to conserve natural resources and avoid waste (Ambec and Lanoie, 2008), most sustainability discussions have been relegated to the orientation of businesses in the physical (i.e., natural) rather than the social environment. As such, the consequences of management practice for societal well-being has yet to be fully fleshed out (Pfeffer, 2010). This myopic view fails to capture the nuances of how sustainability applies to the social business environment because the term can clearly encompass a focus on human as well as physical resources. One of the foci of the Academy of Management's (AOM) division of "Organizations and the Natural Environment" (O.N.E.) is, "managing human resources for sustainability". This statement illustrates an orientation shiftof broader sustainability discussions - particularly in the broad management literature.

One argument, in particular, that favors protecting the environment is the need for guaranteeing untainted natural resources for future generations (Anand and Sen, 2000). However, similar opportunities of leading worthwhile lives in a culturally accepting and socially stable world should be equally as important to preceding generations. This operational juxtaposition means that the demand for sustainability is then in fact, a particular reaction to claims applied to the future generations - whether they are social or environmental. Consequently, our discussion (and main thrust of this paper) of sustainability is focused on the organizations ability to influence human interactions and collective experiences in social space. This orientation addresses the social and cultural dimensions of the concept, and given the increased pressure of financial performance from WNBA stakeholders (e.g., owners, managers, coaches, etc.) we bring the question of the WNBA's viability to the forefront. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.