Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Division of Languages and Literature; American Studies
Project Advisor 1
This project examines the rise and development of modern sports marketing, as well as its impact on the economy, society, culture, and professional sports. The project explores sports marketing through the lens of two legendary athletes – Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan. Ruth and Jordan are two pivotal figures that were major catalysts for elevating the role of sports and sports marketing to new levels in each of their time periods. Ruth was the first major athlete to sign lucrative endorsement deals as he opened the floodgates, fostering the rise of sports marketing and changing the sports economy. Moving to Jordan, the historical context is particularly important in this phase as Michael Jordan became one of the first major African-American sports figures to receive major endorsement deals. Exploring this further, the project looks into the history of basketball, the Civil Rights movement, the Harlem Globetrotters, and how Jordan's persona made him so popular and marketable. With the help of his agent, David Falk, and the marketing budgets of giant product companies like Nike, Jordan redefined the image and role(s) of the athlete and branding and rewrote the rules and scope of sports marketing. Based on these precedents, perhaps the best question is “Who and What Is Next?”
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Duffy, Michael John, "“I Wanna Be Like Mike:” A Synthesis of Sports Marketing from Babe Ruth to Michael Jordan" (2018). Senior Projects Spring 2018. 282.
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