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By Álvaro Fernández Luna y Pablo Burillo, both professors of the European University and principal investigators of the Project.

Two days ago, finished the tennis tournament Mutua Madrid Open (MMO) 2018. It has been demonstrated that it is one of the most important annual sporting events for the city of Madrid. The tournament, received a total of 260,000 attendees in the last edition of 2017, becoming one of the most recognized ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Mandatory in Europe. This year is expected to have maintained and even increased attendance as the tickets pre-sale improved their figures compared to previous editions.

For this success to be lasting, the organization tries to renew itself with each new edition of the tournament, implementing new strategies and actions, taking into the account the result of reports on the opinions and perceptions of its attendees. For this reason, part of the decision making that derives in new proposals and changes are made based on scientific and empirical data thanks to the Economic and Social Impact studies, prepared since 2016 by the Sports Management Research Group of the European University.

This collaboration, in addition to doing consulting work, involves a multitude of students of this university in the process of taking data in situ and its subsequent treatment. The analysis of the results regarding spending and satisfaction serves decisively to the organizing committee when implementing new challenges and grow in a sustainable manner according to the demands of the viewer.

“The most valued items were

the quality of the tennis players (89%)

and the quality of the matches (86%)”

As an example, the food area has been restructured in the 2018 edition increasing its variety, as well as a greater amount of foodtrucks and spaces within the installation of the Magic Box. Likewise, the tournament has continued betting on the organization of Charity Day, a solidary tournament that has the most mediatic players one day before the competitive phase, as a result of the great positive response from the viewers who consider the vast majority (80 %) that it is a “social” tournament.

 

However, this case of management success would be nothing without the biggest asset of the tournament: its players. In the 2017 report by the European University, two of the most valued items were the quality of the tennis players (89%) and the quality of the matches (86%). As in the cinematographic territory, on many occasions, actors/actresses are those who hold a film, in the sports case it is even more notorious.

When tennis players like Roger Federer fall out of the picture due to injury, or it is known that Djokovic is not at the optimum level, the managers are aware that the benefits and satisfaction may be affected. And perhaps we will be able to verify this year in the results of our research the greatest exponent of this theory, given that Rafa Nadal has fallen in the quarterfinals against all odds. Will parameters of satisfaction be modified? Will tickets or attendance have been affected in the last days of the tournament?

Therefore, we can say that beyond the atmosphere of the tournament (which is rated by the attendees as very good/excellent by 64.5% of users), when it comes to achieving optimal management results it weighs more the personal brand of each of the players who attend the tournament. That is why, in addition to the work of personal branding necessary for the career of any athlete, the tournament tries to minimize the possible absences or bad results of the most iconic players with campaigns that enhance the positive values of the tournament and its participants.

“Athlete must work with their own

personal brand through the sponsors,

activations and social channels”

Thus, we find the Charity Day celebration, mentioned previously; the Ecovidrio campaign based on the importance of recycling, which included Novak Djokovic, Juan Martín Del Potro, David Ferrer, Feliciano López, Carla Suárez and Caroline Wozniackise, and finally, the “No eres Nadie” (You are nobody) campaign of the Mutua Madrileña Foundation against the gender violence to which Feliciano Lopez, David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Andy Murray, Simona Halep and Svetlana Kuznetsova joined.

In line with this last issue, the CEO of the tournament, Gerard Tsobanian, remarked in the last results presentation of the economic/social impact study that the MMO has always had a policy of equal salaries for tennis players since its first editions.

Therefore, the message that must remain is that, in addition to the work that each athlete must do with their own personal brand through the sponsors, activations and social channels, in order for a sports tournament (at all levels) to ensure its success, it should promote campaigns that promote the values of each of its participants. These actions improve both the image of the tournament and that of its players, and minimize possible bad sports results or lack of spectacle, generating a sustainable model over time.