Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., is the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and director of Baylor University’s Sports Sponsorship & Sales program. He is an oft-quoted expert on marketing and branding of professional sports teams and serves as publisher and editor of The Baylor S3 Report (www.baylors3.com), the industry-leading publication featuring best practices in sports sales and marketing.
In response to this weekend’s protests during many of the NFL games, Wakefield said he is closely watching the “generations” of fans, particularly the season ticket holders. He explained that the average NFL season ticket holders are male, in their 40s and have a household income of more than $100,000.
“I think the question is if the NFL can truly use this as a unifying rather than divisive tool. The dilemma is that the season ticket holder base is older and more prone to see it as divisive and offensive. But the younger set, tomorrow’s fan base, is likely to side with the players. So, brand equity could erode among current season ticket holders and, at the same time, gain interest and support from millennials – who have not been watching or attending as much.”
Wakefield’s research in retailing covering more than two decades focuses primarily upon sports psychology, team sports marketing, entertainment marketing, and fan and consumer response to pricing and promotional tools. He has conducted fan research in almost every venue in sports including the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL, and NASCAR.