A little while ago I was reading a thread on the Volleytalk forum, and it made me think of an insight I had had just days before that. I ended up writing my thoughts, and I have since then had a few people agree with the thoughts and find them interesting. I wrote a longer, more in depth version of the theory as well (read it here), but for those that don’t want to spend 10 minutes to wrap your mind around the longer version, here is the original post I wrote in the thread:
Recently I was reading a golf book, and something interesting hit me: golf is a sport where people spend money to buy physical products in hopes of becoming a better player. Tons of clubs, gadgets, bags etc are bought year after year, and these brands are happy to sponsor tours to get people’s eyeballs onto their logos. A new club might not make an average player any better, but for the human mind it is much easier to spend money on a new club rather than coaching, because the physical product you buy is easier to understand, and therefore golfers (and players of other gear heavy sports!) tend to spend relatively big amounts of money on gear in hopes of becoming better.
Beach volleyball, on the other hand, is a sport where the amount of performance enhancing gadgets are really really limited. Hell, players barely even wear clothes! Pretty much the only brands that make something for beach volleyball that people continually buy, is balls. Maybe some portable net systems, but these are often shared with people and last for a long time. Even if people buy balls, how much does the average player spend on balls per year? $40?
i'm wondering if ultimately, the lack of money in beach volleyball comes from the sport being so cheap and the opposite of "gear heavy"? Since you barely need to buy anything to play, there is no continuous money stream coming from recreational players which will then be the engine for tours etc.
As far as i've understood, in the days when beach volleyball was thriving financially, it was sponsored by beer brands? And the "thing" was to make the tournaments a party?
If that was the case, then all of the sudden, we do have a similar economic system running as in other sports that are financially thriving - a tons of "average level" players spending money on both:
1. Something they feel the get direct value from (much easier to buy a gadget that is $50 overpriced but that $50 goes to tour sponsorships rather than just straight up donating $50 "for the good of the sport”.)
2. Something that can be directly associated with the sport, so that it would make sense for the brand of the product to sponsor a tour.
Because "beach volleyball clothing" is nonspecific to beach volleyball, it doesn't make so much sense for clothing brands to sponsor beach tours for example.
I hope what I am rambling about here makes sense to someone. It's like there are certain "critical points" in how "average level players" (the masses) spend money in the sport, but if those requirements are not met, the sport will suffer financially..
i might be very wrong here, and I'd love feedback on these thoughts. In general, I see a lot of "there's no money in this sport" but very little "I wonder why there's no money in this sport" thrown around, so I guess this is an attempt towards the latter, even if it might not be perfect. Hope it inspires some conversation or new thoughts for someone!
There you go, that was just a copy of what I posted on the forum. If you want to see the entire thread including some answers to me, you should go to: http://volleytalk.proboards.com/thread/76536/future-unclear-walsh-jennings-p1440?page=2#ixzz5jChpPK9a
Also, if the explanations are too quick, doesn’t make sense, or you’d want to read a text where I’m rambling way more examples and details, you should go and check the long version out.
Have a good day! / Alex