Sports Industry GuideThis guide was created on July 21st, 2010 by Chad Boeninger
Modified on: January 19, 2016
This guide lists the most essential resources to use when performing Sports Industry research. It is designed to get the researcher started in the right direction. Please note that this guide is neither complete nor comprehensive as new information will be added as necessary. Since Sports Industry/Sports Business research uses common resources as general company and industry resources, researchers may also find the Company Research Basics and Industry Research Basics guides useful as well.
Read through the entire guide or use the links below to skip to a particular section. All links on this page will open in a new browser window. As always, if you have any questions (or suggestions for this page) , please feel free to contact me by using the “Contact” link at the top of the website.
Articles from journals, magazines, trade publications, and newspapers are essential to use when performing sports business research. You can use academic journals when you need in-depth, authoritative research analysis of a topic. For industry trends and news, look for articles in magazines, newspapers, and trade publications. The list below gives you the best places to look for articles of all types.
Business Source Complete
Business Source Complete is a good place to start for articles on companies, markets, teams, products, and much more. You will find loads of business publications there, including magazines, newspapers, academic journals, and trade publications. While most of the publications there have a more business focus, you will find lots of relevant content there. A small sample of publications from Business Source Complete that covers the sports industry includes:
- Club Industry
- Journal of Leisure Research
- Leisure Market Research Handbook
- Managing Leisure
- SGB (Sporting Goods Business)
- Sporting Goods Dealer
- Sport Management Review
- Sports Marketing (online handbook)
- Sport Marketing Quarterly
SPORTDiscus is another good place to find articles on sports business. Note that in addition to sports business publications, you will also find publications that deal with sports medicine, exercise science, coaching, and sports education topics. SPORTDiscus also contains publications for niche sports activities and markets, such as Backpacker, Cross Country Skier, Equus, Dirt Biker, and many more. If there is a sport you are interested in researching, SPORTDiscus may have a magazine on the topic. Selected publications include:
- Athletic Business
- Hockey Business News
- International Journal of Sport Finance
- International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship
- Journal of the Legal Aspects of Sport
- Journal of Sport Management
- Sporting News
- Sports Law Administration and Practice
- Sports, Parks, and Recreation Law Reporter
HeinOnline can be used to find law journals that deal with specific sports topics. If you are interested in researching legal issues in sport, check out this video on how to use HeinOnline.
Journal of Sports Economics
LexisNexis Academic can be an excellent source for sports business news, provided you narrow your search effectively. For looking for sports business news, I would suggest first clicking on the News link in the left column of the Lexis home page, then choosing Business & Industry. On the Business & Industry news page, you have the option of searching a number of different sources, including consumer business newspaper pages, some magazines and journals, blogs, and business and industry news. The screenshot to the right illustrates a sample search.
The resources below are the most useful when looking for industry overviews and statistics.
Plunkett Research has a great overview of the Sports Industry. The reports in Plunkett Research Online are updated annually, so you are guaranteed to have recent information. The Market Research & Trends provides a general overview of the Sports Industry while also focusing on current issues. The Statistics section of the database provides tables, charts, and figures not easily found elsewhere. Finally, the Company Profiles section provides one-page company snapshots for professional sports teams, including sales and other financial information. You can even get a list of competitors and sort them by sales and other criteria.
IbisWorld contains industry reports for a variety of sports industry topics. The screenshot to the right shows some of the topics covered, including Sports Franchises in the U.S, that can be found by searching IBISWorld for sports.
First Research provides quick and easy to understand industry analyses. It offers a nice compliment to the content found in IbisWorld. Search for “professional sports” to find a very useful report.
SBRnet (Sports Business Research Network) is one of the most comprehensive sports business information sources. If you need statistics on sports participation, sports venue revenues, sporting goods sales, and much more, SBRNet is a great place to start. Information includes Sports Participation Trends; Sporting goods market trends and statistics; Sports venue data, including sales and revenues for college and professional sports venues; Sports Fan reports; and Organization directories.
Bizminer contains industry financial ratios, failure rates of businesses, local industry market research statistics, and more.
Sports Money (Forbes)
Sports Money (Forbes) is a good resource to use if you are researching one of the professional sports businesses in the United States. Sports Money has a wealth of information about the professional sports business. Information includes sports business profiles; sports business special reports; recent news for major sports; and a sports business blog.
Statista is a great place to look for a variety of sports statistics, covering revenues, attendance, participation, expenses, and more.
Market research reports can offer insightful information about consumer preferences and much more. The resources below are great sources of marketing information.
American Factifinder is a great resource for general demographic information including economic and social characteristics of particular city, state, or county.
Mintel Oxygen can be hit or miss, depending on the sports industry topic that is being researched. Since this is a consumer market research database, you may find reports that can be very useful, particularly with topics such as fitness and healthy lifestyles. While it’s not guaranteed to have a report for every single topic, it’s worth giving it a quick search. The image to the right shows a report on Exercise Trends, one such report that could be very useful to the Sports Industry researcher.
Passport GMID offers comprehensive coverage of international consumer markets, consumer lifestyles in other countries, economic statistics, demographic forecasting, and more. While it’s coverage of specific sports is limited, the database has a good deal of information on consumer product categories (potential sports sponsors) and information on how people spend their time (consumer lifestyle reports). Occasionally you will find specific “Strategy Briefings” that may be helpful as well.
World Advertising Research Center (WARC)
WARC is a gem of a marketing and advertising research database. It offers a wide variety of information for the sports business researcher. It’s a great place to look for sports sponsorship case studies, as well as actual marketing campaigns for products, companies, and teams. Sometimes it is hard to use the search engine in WARC, so it is often better to use the menus to browse by topic. Take a look at this video to learn how to find marketing case studies in WARC.
Mediamark Reporter contains demographic information about users of specific consumer products including: what they use, income and educational level, what types of media they use, and more. For sports industry research, you will find information such as how often people attend sporting events, watch events on television, or even participate in sports. The screenshot to the right illustrates some of the information you can find. Take a look at this video on how to find sports fan demographics in Mediamark Reporter.
SimplyMap provides demographic, business, or marketing data down to the local level, allowing users to create customized maps and reports with an almost unlimited number of variables. Sports Business researchers will find the Simmons information to be very valuable when doing research for a sports marketing campaign in SimplyMap.
Sporting Goods Market
Based on consumer survey data, The Sporting Goods Market is a statistical study of retail purchase of sporting goods and recreational equipment.