GUION PARTNERS’ Founder Lindsay Guion Looks at Why Basketball has Become a Multi-Billion Dollar Global Industry
Basketball reigns supreme as one of the worlds most watched sports. In fact, Bloomberg reports that in China, the NBA is six times more popular than the three largest European soccer leagues combined.
Even in countries where basketball does not (yet) rank number one on the popularity chart, it is without question a massive part of both the participation and spectator sports landscape, with Sportsshow.net estimating 2.2 billion basketball fans around the globe.
What is behind the explosive growth of basketball across the planet; and not just the NBA whose popularity is on fire, but also semi-pro, college, high school basketball, recreational exercise and enjoyment? According to Lindsay Guion, the Founder, CEO and Global Chairman of GUION PARTNERS — and a lifelong b-ball fan, claims that it boils down to three core factors: demographics, accessibility, and marketing.
After all, it has all of the ingredients that most young people find accessible and attractive: it is insanely fast, there are tons of scoring, and it only takes a few minutes and a good run for a team to go from protecting a lead to falling behind. Crunch all of these factors, and you have a recipe for a game that is perfectly designed to hook kids at a young age and keep them engaged for the rest of their lives.
Adds Lindsay Guion, who has also worked Grammy® award-winning artists, songwriters and producers: Kids may have trouble staying awake in school, but they instantly perk up and get passionately involved when the topic turns to sports that they care about. Basketball — the plays, the teams, and especially the players, is a language that young people speak. It becomes part of their experience and paradigm. Naturally, as they get older, that intimate affiliation with basketball stays with them. It becomes part of who they are, and they take it wherever they go around the world.
One supreme advantage that basketball has over many other sports — and which is largely responsible for its global popularity is sheer accessibility. Sophisticated equipment and optimal facilities are not required. What is more, the basic act of bouncing and throwing a ball is something that most people can innately do. Of course, they may be terrible at first. But over time and with practice, improvement comes, and one begins to understand the interior of the game, which is critical for turning casual fans into lifelong enthusiasts.
Lindsay Guion states that because so many people have played basketball — maybe just at a recreational level with friends or at school, they can watch basketball on TV or online with an enhanced degree of intellectual investment. For example, when they watch a pick-and-roll or the flex offense, they know what is going on, and appreciate the strategy and athleticism on a much higher level than if they had never played the game. It is the brilliant simple accessibility of basketball that makes this happen.
For many reasons including the nature of the game itself, basketball, though a team sport, is a star driven game. The best teams with the largest followings always have at least one, or sometimes several easily identifiable players who fans can watch and admire; which is the magic formula for marketers who want these positive attributes associated with their brand.
Lindsay Guion argues that every major sport in the world owes a debt of gratitude to basketball for taking marketing to a whole new level; one that transcends the sport itself. Basketball is not just a game anymore. It’s a defining part of the culture, and shapes — rather than just reflects — the conversation and consciousness. And the best part of all is that there is so much more room to grow both in the U.S. and around the world.