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Seattle Mariners

In: Business and Management

Submitted By muchjames0
Words 3200
Pages 13
Name
Business Prospects for The Seattle Mariners
Institutional Affiliation
May 27, 2016

Executive Summary
The Seattle Mariners have been in the region since 1977 with the aim of entertaining and representing Seattle in the highest level of playing baseball. The present home of the Mariners is the Safeco Field in the SoDo area of Seattle. The team has won the league in 1995 and on 2001 the team set the league record winning the highest number of games for one season.
The Mariners are one of the best-managed clubs returning profits even when the other big players are operating at a loss. Some of the reasons for its sustenance and success are attributed to firstly, the Nintendo group. The controlling owners bought the 55% stake when the company was experiencing difficulties in the maintenance of the former home necessitating a change of location. They brought the peace of mind and stability to the community. The other reason for the team's rise is because of the management that has made wise decisions regarding the present building and home of the Mariners.
A SWOT analysis of the institution shows that the firm is in a good position to compete with other national league teams because it can increase its local support base as well as appeal to International market because of the presence of icons from other nations among the team members. The weaknesses are glaring but can be avoided by building a team that is very ambitious to win and reach levels that have not been reached before this time. In this case, competing, winning and dominating the World Series. The threats can be mitigated by forming a loyal support group and ensuring that children uptake baseball from their very young ages.
The club’s competitive analysis reveals that it is still going to compete very well against the competition that it faces in the business world as well as on the pitch. Importantly, if the brand wants to garner international recognition, they should aim for the success on the field and compete in the World Series, which is an elite tournament that would make people start taking them seriously. Advertising rates on the team would increase thereby increasing the total revenue. People would also start supporting the team more seriously, increasing the turnout and fees collected at the gate.
The social media development is an opportunity for the club and the players to interact and share their lives and moments with their supporters. By keeping the fans updated on the latest happenings at the club and in the lives of players, the firm will reap by having a more loyal base of supporters. Social media is also an excellent opportunity to market the club and its merchandise online and to various international communities. Different media have different valuable selling points. For video, the organization can use YouTube, for pictures it can use Instagram, for news Tweeter is best while Facebook is the best for an online community and interaction.
Finally, the paper concludes by making recommendations that the firm would have to take so that it can improve the standings it has as well as the rankings in the baseball world. Suggested ways to address this include signing the best players around who are superstars and massive crowd-pullers. These are the people who give the fans a thrilling game and increase the interest of the game among people. The club could also diversify the income streams instead of raising gate fees which will punish their supporters. Getting players from overseas will also increase the level of interest in the team with people from international markets desiring to buy merchandise to support one of their talents. The net effect is increased revenue, and more finances will increase the chances of success of the club beyond the league only.
Introduction
Formed in 1977, the Seattle Mariners are a baseball playing franchise in the premier division of the Major League Baseball. The name Mariners was chosen to reflect the cultural association of life to the city it represents. Seattle is a seaport city that gives the great pride and a rather attractive income to the people here (Seattle Mariners, n.d.). The team is the pride of the community and attracts a rather moderate following compared to the other sports activities in the city. Though compared to other franchises in the league, the team is rather small and modest regarding capacity and success (Oz, 2013). Oz also notes that the team had the 10th lowest payroll, 26th lowest attendance and 11th lowest wins in the league in the year 2012 (Oz, 2013). That notwithstanding, the firm was able to turn a profit of almost six million dollars which is commendable for a modest franchise of its size. By 2014, the profits had nearly doubled to twelve million (Eaton, 2015). Many other brands have a substantial revenue base, bigger venue, and prominent stars but still cannot register profits. It is the aim of this paper to describe the business environment of the franchise detailing how it has gotten to where it is and at the end of that give prescriptions on how it can achieve more value for the brand of its caliber.
In 1992, the team was at the risk of being acquired and be moved away from the Seattle region. Quick thinking local representatives acted swiftly by approaching a local tycoon from Japan, Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi Acquisition from Nintendo. As an act of goodwill to the local community for their warmth and kindness in helping him do business, Mr. Yamauchi responded by investing his funds in earning a controlling stake of 55%. He later transferred his ownership to his company Nintendo of America which has been holding the stock in custody following the demise of the President. The company kept the share until 2016 when they announced that they would be will to relinquish the controlling stake to other present owners until they were left with ten percent (Plunkett, 2016).
S.W.O.T. Analysis STRENGTHS * Convenient location * Good Ownership * Stadium and management structure * Good weather that encourages huge fan turn out. * Modern design and state of the art field. | WEAKNESSES * Inability to hold on to star talent for long. * Weak personnel management policies | OPPORTUNITIES * Increase in population in Seattle * Television and Internet transmission. * Economic growth and increase in employment which increases the disposable income of the people | THREATS * Rise of other Sports * Alternative entertainment |

Strengths
The strengths of the Mariners are a small closely-knit community team despite being an in a largely metropolitan area. The firm’s management needs to address the issue of bringing in more members of the community to aid in increase gate fees and selling out the seats in the stadium. Attendance to games is one of the most reliable and primary ways that a team earns its revenues. Luckily for the Mariners, they can boast of strong support from the locals which though is dwindling, has consistently provided them with an audience to spur them on when having live games. The management is also a competent team which is shrewd in its operations saving the enterprise money by renting the venue where they hold the games homes. The result is increased profitability from maintaining steady costs, gaining revenue and in exchange, the ‘ballpark.org’ websites says, the Mariners keep the ballpark at the state-of-art levels (Finance. n. d.). The ownership, represented by the Nintendo of America has the best interests of the firm by insisting on letting the team stay in the city. This was a haven offered when the late Yamauchi saved the club from hostile owners. Therefore, the firm can plan for the long term knowing without a doubt that their plans are concrete and are not subject to shame.
The location of the Seattle Mariners, which was once contested because of the maintenance costs of the former ballpark, the Kingdome, resulted in the construction of the Safeco field which has an ultra modern design that includes a retractable roof and luxurious suite. These facilities appeal to the fans who want to enjoy the best in the state of the art technology. The weather is also great around this region. Only very few days of the year affect the season and are inaccessible to the outside environment.
Surrounded by city streets and a railroad, the Safeco ballpark offers a convenient location to its fans. It is easier for people to access and exit the venue without unnecessary congestions and traffic jams. The park also provides plenty of parking for the visitors to access. The railroad, going round the field, is an attractive option for those that do not wish to use their vehicles to travel.
Weaknesses
Some of the shortcomings that plague the firm perennially are the lack of professional and competent staff to help in the development of the team. The very talented ones are poached away by competition. The team also lacks that premium brand identity that is important in helping to attract the stellar talent that other clubs get. In its record, the team is one of the few in the Major League Baseball to never have won a world series (Wikipedia, n. d.). The owners are mostly non-involved and maintain a ‘hands-off’ policy to let the business run itself. In Europe and other places, wealthy owners invest outside money to help in winning competitions. Titles increase the brand equity of the franchises and in the process returning the profits on capital injection. Winning the league has been shown to be a money affair.
Retrived from www.celebritiesmoney.com
Opportunities
The potential for the Mariners to grow is tremendous, both at the native location and to international markets. The local population is growing which will represent a change in the prevailing demographics. Seattle has attracted big business names to the town which have also attracted labor from different parts of the country. The effect is compounding in the increase in wealth and increased commercial activities. The Mariners, therefore, have the chance to tap into this massive increment in the population who will help them enhance their revenues. The area experiences great weather and an atmosphere that encourages year-round outdoor events (Seattle Mariner, n. d.).
The growth in video technology will help as far much as possible in providing live games to their customers at the palms of their hands. The firm should offer subscription based content to people who missed out on season tickets or for those who request on demand content. Technology will help spread the cover and the reach to international audiences. The firm should also reach out to fans over the online platforms and social media in which these people are now mostly available and very vocal about their performance. Getting a huge following and audience is the first step in raising awareness, also called marketing.
Economic growth and increase in employment which increases the disposable income of the people have grown in the Seattle region, as well as the whole of the United States. Greater prosperity for individuals means that these benefits will circulate in the whole economy. The firm should be, therefore, keen to increase its marketing efforts to get access to this increased net worth of individuals. Since the Safeco ballpark has more than just a field, it has hotels and luxurious suites. These should be marketed to clients so that they can supplement the income from the fees charged for games.
Threats
For example, other team sports have been on the rise in the region which has proven to be quite crowd pullers. Soccer popularity in the United States is growing, and the Seattle Sounders, the region's elite football team has attracted quite a following despite being more recent than the Mariners. According to a survey done by Kolnay (2015), the Seattle Sounders was the most favorite team rank by searches conducted online and also by the number of ticket sales. It also found that the Sounders have the highest average attendance amongst all the Major Soccer League teams.
The popularity of the internet and its spread is also a threat that the firm should consider, evaluate and learn to turn it to their advantage. People are spending a huge time on the internet communicating with their friends and find out more about their world. Social media is also very entertaining which denies users time to go to live events and instead spent time indoors.
Injury to players can be costly to the whole team and even to the club. The doctors need to be wary that the players do not over train and injure their bodies in the process. When the star players are not playing, people are not very excited to attend live games and pay extra when they can catch the games from the comfort of the homes. When a team with star players visits, people are willing to pay a little bit more so that they see them. Star players are paid a lot of money and when they are not playing, and still they get paid.
Competitive Analysis The Seattle Mariners was founded almost 38 years ago, and it has competed at the highest level with league competitors such as New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, and Boston’s Red Sox to win the league, despite not having played in the World Series. The club has, however, achieved feats that have tied with the previous records of winning the highest number of games. Such achievements make the club one of the few that is best placed to compete at the highest level because it attracts a large number of supporters and talented players as well. Other than that, the ticket prices are maintained at a favored low price to encourage highest possible crowd turnouts. The team also hires the best managerial talent around for developing continuous improvement to the team.

Marketing and Social Media
To market their games and touring plans to its fans around the world, the strategy used by the Seattle Mariners is exceptionally brilliant and innovative. Since the ticket prices of the team are low, and the level of the games that Mariners play is very impressive, the club can attract more fans to its games so that they can earn more and higher income than their competitors. The fans also appreciate the level of professionalism that is on display by having to watch their favorite world stars play on their grounds.
To ramp up promotion, the Seattle Mariners often put up posts advertising about their games and the signings of star players that they have made through the various channels and avenues they have on social media. Facebook is useful and valuable in sharing pictures and encouraging the duration topics. The channel usually chose to share teasers, and small video clips from the past games is YouTube. These trailers give the highlights of a game day featuring the star performers who will pull the largest crowds. Fans also appreciate seeing the opposition players especially if they are good performers. These clips also highlight the opposition’s achievement to show the fans that they will be expecting tough opposition.
Twitter, the micro-blogging platform, is very useful for passing information about the statistics of the game, as well as communicating changes if any be there (Holt, 2016). Using this strategy also helps the fans keep in touch with the players which helps create a healthy relationship. The effectiveness of this approach is shown to be important because many people are available in social media and they will see these advertisements, make inquiry and follow up by purchasing the tickets on the Mariners website. Tully (2014) states that social media should lead customers back to your website so that you can convince them to make a purchase decision quickly and in an easier way.

Recommendation
The firm should engage superstars in their business models. Fans will love to see the people they celebrate before their eyes. Star players are individuals who can also swing the game in their favor by having skills that the competitors will fear, and the pundits rave. Such a step would be a declaration of intent to the big league teams which will help increase rivalry and a buzz in the media, thereby attracting attention. The more these firms are different in the league, the more support they will get from the locals who will want to defend their teams passionately.
Diversify the sources of income for the team. The firm should not be relying wholly on revenues from the tickets that they collect as entrance fee. In fact, since the game is for the community, the ticket prices should be lowered to allow a full capacity stadium that looks good on cameras. Slowly, this builds a habit, and people begin to attend game sessions. It is also a way to harness the young population and encourage them to love the sport. Income could be generated from the sales of merchandise around the stadium and in outlets around the globe. The firm also should invest in a YouTube channel to encourage people to watch content that it legally owns and keep them in suspense until the next live game. YouTube is a major source of passive income which could go a long way in offsetting bills in the Park.
Going beyond the local market by signing players from around the globe will increase the marketability of the Mariners beyond the local appearance. The signing of Iwakuma, a Japanese, has grown the franchise’s popularity in Japan. The firm should aim to get into foreign markets. The team should scout non-natives as well to encourage viewers to subscribe to get the content from their nations. The objective of this is to promote local TV to acquire rights towards airing games and also help the sale of merchandise in areas that other MLB teams have not saturated.

References
Eaton, N. (March 10, 2015 ) Seattle Pi. Seattle Mariners made $11.6 million profit in 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016 from http://blog.seattlepi.com/baseball/2015/03/10/seattle-mariners-made-11-6-million-profit-in-2014/
Editors (n.d. )SWOT Analysis : Discover New Opportunities, Manage and Eliminate Threats. Mind Tools. Retrieved May 27, 2016 from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/ newTMC_05.htm
Finance (n. d.). Seattle PFD Retrieved May 27, 2016, from http://www.ballpark.org/finance. aspx
Holt, D. (2016). Branding in the age of social media. Harvard Business Review, 94(3), 40-+.
Kolnay, P (February 9, 2015). Ranking MLS’ most popular teams; New research reveals fascinating results: World Soccer. Talks Retrieved May 27, 2016 from http://worldsoccertalk.com/2015/02/09/ranking-mls-most-popular-teams-new-research-reveals-fascinating-results/
Plunkett, L. (April 27, 2016). Nintendo Is Offloading The Seattle Mariners. Kotaku. Retrieved May 27, 2016, from http://kotaku.com/nintendo-is-offloading-the-seattle-mariners-1773488798
Seattle Mariners (n. d.). In wikipedia. Retrieved May 27, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Seattle_Mariners
Tully, J. (August 20, 2014) Domains, hosting and websites explained for small business: Delta Strategic Marketing. Retrieved May 27, 2016 from https://dsm-llc.com/social-media-does-not-replace-a-marketing-plan/

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What?

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