U.S. sports franchises looking to expand abroad should take several cultural factors into consideration when desiring to increase the popularity of a sport. A U.S. sports franchise may first want to evaluate the value that a culture places on sports in general and the sport the franchise is attempting to popularize in particular (Tomlinson & Young, 2006). Although the United States is a sports loving country, not all countries share the passion of America as it pertains to sports. For example, in some countries music and other fine arts are more popular than sporting events. Additionally, one of the major cultural considerations to consider involves how differing cultures view violent sports. For instance, in some cultures American football would be taboo because it is viewed as a violent sport. Increasing the popularity of a violent sport when the culture of a country is nonviolent and peaceful may prove to be a difficult task. Additionally U.S. franchises must take into consideration the sports participation amongst children and adolescents in any given culture (Seabra et al, 2008). In cultures where participation is minimal for young people popularizing a sport could prove difficult.
Understanding cultural factors allows a franchise to determine what strategies can be used to properly market a product or service (Moran et al, 2012). Global businesses must understand cultural nuances if they want to be successful. In some instances the sport may have to be altered in some way to make it more acceptable within the context of certain cultures. Whether or not a company will be able to popularize a certain sport within a specific culture is highly dependent upon cultural norms and traditions. Certain sports will never be popular in certain countries. In such cases franchise owners may likely make the decision to not enter certain markets.
Ensuring Product Appropriateness
Franchises must thoroughly investigate a culture to ensure that products are appropriate for international markets. For instance, in Muslim countries certain products would be unacceptable because they contradict religious beliefs. An investigation of cultural beliefs and norms can assist a franchise in determining not only what products are appropriate, but also the appropriate way to advertise products. The last thing that a franchise wants to do is enter a market and offend the people in that market with inappropriate products or marketing. Franchises often employ people specifically for the purpose of studying the cultures of markets that they want to enter. Such studies provide companies with the ability to make informed decisions about what products to offer and how to market such products.
Tariffs on Imported Products
Placing tariffs on imported products is a hot button issue and for good reason. A tariff is a tax placed on items imported into a country. Individual countries decide whether or not to impose tariffs on imported products. In my opinion, governments should place tariffs on imported products. Tariffs should be placed on products because they provide governments with much needed revenue. This revenue can then be used to fund government programs and provide various services to citizens. The presence of tariffs also assists in protecting industries from becoming dominated by foreign producers and manufacturers. The absence of tariffs reduces the cost of the imported goods which can threaten domestic industries. Tariffs serve the purpose of protecting domestic employment, infant industries and consumers (The Basics of Tariffs and Trade Barriers, 2011). Although some countries thrive with discounted or non-existent tariffs, the absence of tariffs can be detrimental to a nation in the long run because domestic industries are often harmed.
- Moran, Robert T. T. Harris, Philip R. R. Moran,S. (2012) Managing Cultural Differences. New York, NY: Routledge.
- Seabra, A. F., Mendonça, D. M., Thomis, M. A., Peters, T. J., & Maia, J. A. (2008). Associations between sport participation, demographic and socio-cultural factors in Portuguese children and adolescents. European Journal of Public Health, 18 (1) 25-30.
- The Basics of Tarrifs and Trade Barriers, (2011). Retrieved from: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/08/tariff-trade-barrier-basics.asp
- Tomlinson, A., Young, C. (2006). National Identity and Global Sports Events: Culture, Politics, and Spectacle in the Olympics and the Football World Cup. New York, NY: SUNY Press.