Sporticulture: Evolution in Geographically Expanding Markets

Hockey, baseball and surfing are arguably the colonels of spanning global competition. All three sports hold annual contests at various international venues – or in surfing’s case, international waters. Currently, no other sport boasts as much overseas attention as hockey, baseball and surfing.

Scattered about in Australia, South America (minus hockey), Canada (minus surfing) and most of continental Europe, these three sports set the stage in international sports affairs.

In these sports, competitors duel with not only fellow countrymen, but tangle with the world’s best – a catalyst in producing maximum competition, which socially and economically effects both the sport and the country the sport’s taking place in.

The American Bowl campaigned NFL pre-season games held in cities, such as Tokyo, Barcelona, Berlin and Dublin. In a single game, Futbol Americano in Mexico City tallied over 100,000 attendees. In 2005, Commissioner Roger Goodell abolished the American Bowl in favor of birthing the NFL International Series – which started in 2007.

Adopting the new series uplifted the English spirits – a chance to experience America’s favorite sport.

On the numerical side of things, over 80,000 people attend each contest – enough to fill Michigan Stadium once over and then some. London will host three games for the 2015-16 NFL season. The NFL expansion doesn’t end in London. In 2017, the NFL intends to start the campaign beyond London.

Instead of long-standing host of the Pro Bowl, Hawaii could lose the spot to Brazil. In addition, games in China, Germany, Mexico and Canada are in the works, as well.

Much like the NFL International Series, the 2014-15 NBA Global Games hosted its own world tour in Germany, Turkey, Mexico, England, Brazil and – of course – China. Since 2004, China has experienced a wealthy following in basketball, producing over 300 million players.

In a statement given out earlier this year, the NBA has decided to play two pre-season matches in the Southern China province of Shenzhen.

Over the tenure of their admirable relationship, both the NBA and China have absorbed the blueprint of what it means to encourage a new market.

Noah Graham / Getty Images


As a symbol of respect towards China’s culture, players donned Chinese New Year uniform, while China plans to extend their hand out to the NBA in striking an extension with internet service superstar, Tencent.


A culprit of introducing a sport to a new region is player management. The science in attracting a fresh fan base and extending a league’s current relationship with a sports fan is in the watchful eyes of recruiting. If a team wishes to build around a central player, the organization will have to resort to plucking international talent from existing teams.

This pulls the hair of players, agents and fans alike.

A key example in this practice is with the MLS importing European players, such as Steven Gerrard, Kaka and Robbie Keane. It’s good for the country seeking more attention in an already-existing-but-diminishing sport, but it also aches and breaks the heart of its original target market, which might harm a team’s following and spoil the sport in its mother country.


On Thursday, the Boston College football Twitter feed released a brief statement about playing Georgia Tech at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. The international presence of college football pre-dates to the early ‘80s when Clemson played both Duke (1981) and Wake Forest (1982) in Tokyo.

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Fast forwarding a couple decades, Penn State played Central Florida in 2014 at Croke Park in Dublin. The Boston College/Georgia Tech match-up is expected to generate upwards of 20-25 million Euros towards Dublin’s economy ($22,456,772-$28,070,965). Boston College and Georgia Tech are forecasted to kick-off September, 3, 2016.

Qatar will see this financial effect in its market when it hosts the 2022 World Cup. Until then, the city has overtaken a project to construct a city from scratch. Worth a projected $45 billion, Lusail has yet to be built. Although initiated in 2005 – and then forgotten – officials forecast its completion in 2020. Incorporated into the man-made city are 2 marinas, 2 golf courses and 22 hotels. And in order to customize itself for the World Cup, a planned Lusail Iconic Stadium will accommodate up to 80,000 folks.


Whether it be motocross in Australia or structuring a lacrosse league in Canada, geographically expanding a sport’s market is crucial in growing a relationship with other nations.

It’ll also benefit developing nations – in stimulating their economy with a tourism account and spurring its younger population into athletic participation.

In short, sports unite cultures. Sports invigorate passion in the world’s youth. Sports offer a country – with sensibly nothing – a beacon of hope and promise.

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Lucas Oil Pro MX: TN National at Muddy Creek Raceway
Lucas Oil Pro MX: TN National at Muddy Creek Raceway