Publication Date

2-2012

Committee Chair

Fang Ren, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Mark P. Kumler, Ph.D.

Abstract

Since its inaugural season in 1996, Major League Soccer (MLS) has developed steadily, growing from ten franchises at its inception to eighteen today, with plans to expand to twenty over the next two years. MLS was faced with some critical marketing questions to ensure that growth was coupled with stability. The League desired to know what types of neighborhoods their fans lived in and how far the fans were willing to travel to matches. They also wished to know where they might find similar neighborhoods to these, where they could market more effectively. Geographic information systems (GIS) were utilized with a year’s season ticket sales for a single MLS club, Chivas USA, to conduct analysis. Demographic and socioeconomic information from Esri’s Business Analyst was used, and research yielded several conclusions. These included a profile of the season-ticket holding neighborhoods, as well as suitable areas for marketing based on this profile. Further analysis of total MLS customers sales in southern California covering a four year period, as well as the general population in the same region, substantiated these conclusions. The methodology used for this project can be used for further MLS (or other sports) teams’ marketing strategies.

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