Introduction

Houston University is located in Houston Texas which is the world fourth largest city in the US and the energy capital. The Houston athletics is an athletics department within the Houston University. This organization operates all the athletic sports in the university (University of Houston athletic, 2009).

The university of Houston athletics promotes various sports within the university, they include; various teams in both women and men. The various men teams in university of Houston athletics include, baseball, basketball, cross country, football. Golf, and track field, the women teams includes, basket ball, cross country, soccer, tennis, track field, volleyball and swimming.

Houston university athletics has been branded the Houston cougar. This is the brand name they are identified with and has become very popular in the American student arena. The current athletics director is Mack Rhoades who took the position recently after the retirement of Dave Maggad. The Houston cougar marketing department is responsible for advertisement campaigns, selling of tickets, promotions, and the internal game management of all the Huston university athletics events (University of Houston athletic, 2009).

Houston cougar marketing works together with the athletics administration, the ticket office, and the ISP sports network to organize for the promotion activities and enhance the cougar brand. The cougar marketing is headed by three assistant directors who reports directly to the director of Houston athletics. The assistant directors who are currently in office are Sean Randall assistant director for marketing and promotions, Gren Brungard the assistant director for internal marketing, Brice Wiley the assistant director for external marketing, and Teykl the assistant director for event marketing.

The cougars are members of conference USA and make the part of the west division. Conference athletic conference members’ institutions are located within the southern USA and they are participants of NCAA division I in all sports, the cougars brand can be recognized with scarlet red and albino white colors. The Houston major rivals are the cross-Town Rice University.

The Houston men basket ball is currently coached by Tom Penders and the team is a member of conference USA. The last time the team played in NCCA division was in 1982. The team plays in Hofhenz pavilion as their home ground. The Houston cougar’s foot ball team also competes in NCAA division I, as a member of conference USA. The team uses Robertson Stadium and their current head coach Is Kevin sumlim (University of Houston athletic, 2009).

The Houston cougar gets most of its support from the alumni of Houston University who are the key sponsors and give this team their full support.  Houston athletic also work’s in conjunction with the Nike, the manufacturer and distributor of sports wears. Their relationship is aimed at building the both brands for mutual benefits.

The Houston athletic is owned by the University of Houston but it operates independently, this organization is headed by a director who is assisted by several assistant directors from different sub-departments, such as the marketing department, the sports department, and the store department. The director is an important personality in this organization because he provides directions on key functions in the organization.

The leadership office of Houston cougars looked at to provide direction. The organization members attach so much importance to the kind of leaders the organization has and believe that it influences its success. This gives the leaders the responsibility to gives directions. The other very important personalities in Houston Athletics are coaches for various teams who are looked at by the public as a source of success and pride. The supporters for various teams have trust with there coaches. This has developed through the culture of hiring experienced coaches’ with good track records. The coaches are always on the public eye they affect the marketability of the organization .The public have the trust on a given team if they believe in the coach abilities. This element has led the Houston athletic to be popular to the public over along period of time.

The effect of positive perceptions and trust that people have in the Houston athletic has led the organization to be ranked high. This has made the organization to be popular and many people want to be associated with it. The leadership has made many people want to be identified with Houston athletic; this is because the organization is associated with success. This aspect also has made many Houston University alumni want to be identified with the Houston athletic.

SWOT analysis of Houston athletics

Strengths

The Houston athletic has the advantage of getting full support from the Houston University which is very popular in America. This supports has seen its popularity grow, this is by using the university name has its relevant figure.  This relationship has given the organization a competitive edge in marketing of its brand.

The great support this organization gets from the alumni both financial and moral support. The aspect of the alumni using this organization as a sense of pride has helped this organization to grow and become popular in public. The alumnus has also provided financial support to the events organized by the organization, this has made many events organized a success. (George, 1994),

The experienced leadership is also a source of strength to this organization. This is because the leaders are able to come up with various sports programs that enhance the growth and development in the organization. The leaders bring diverse experience from different sporting field which enables the organization to be productive. (Dan, 2000)

Weaknesses

the Houston athletic uses the students as the source of  its players this means they only have temporary players who after they complete their studies move to other Areas, this is a great weakness because the teams  invests in training  players who  finally leaves the organization. This shows there is drainage of resources from   the organization through the lost talents (Franklin, 1994).

Opportunities

The growing sports popularity as a commercial venture is a great opportunity to the organization. There is the general trend of all sporting activities becoming highly commercial and the Houston Athletics can use this opportunity for its growth. This can be achieved through organizing events that will receive sponsorship from commercial companies to promote its brand. The company also has the opportunity of using its brand to market other products and companies dealing with sports products to raise funds that can be used for growth and development of the organization (David, 2003).

The organization can use the latest technology to market their events and make the organization more popular. The internet will provide a cheap and efficient way to create correspondence work and keep in touch with the organization supporters.

Threats

The organization is faced by the threat of increased competition by the growth of commercial sporting organization. This is in sports like football witch are attracting large number of fans who are royal. This may make the college sports to loose popularity as many sponsor and the public turn their attention to commercial clubs. This threat may affect the future survival and success of events organized by this organization.

 The education trend may also threaten the organization because students are taking their studies through correspondence without physical attendance to colleges. This may make the future membership to be low and the organization to lose many talents.

Identification of Consumer Segments:

Huston athletic is an organization with a large consumer base which includes the lovers of college sports. They are a large number of people who are fans of college sports due to different reasons. Houston athletic mostly target the youth specifically the college students. This is the most appropriate market because of its setup and its sponsorship (David, 2003).
 The Houston athletics is designed in such a way that it gets supports from fans in different category of sports. This has helped the organization to build its support from many people. Different sports appeal to different groups of people and this has been a great strength to this organization. This diversity has helped the organization to become popular in different field of sports and earn national recognition.

Houston athletic organizes various tournaments which attracts many fans within and outside Texas. Different university teams are invited to these tournaments where they compete for supremacy and for various prizes. These tournaments receive thousand of fans who come to support different teams.

The largest target group the support the Huston athletic events are the Huston university students, the alumni and college students from other colleges. This customer base keeps on growing as the organization is becoming more popular due to the promotional efforts of the marketing department.

The men football and the women soccer are the two most popular teams in the Houston cougar and they are based in Robertson stadium which is situated within Houston university ground. In this stadium Houston cougar organizes various leagues that attract over ten thousand people. The cougar tournaments are always accompanied with fun .This is because of the target group which is mostly made up of college youths. This group is out going and mostly attracted by development of new things in the sporting world. (Scott& Kenneth, 2004)

Communication:

The organization has a communication department which has assistant directors .This department comes up with a communication program which is adopted by the organization. These directors are responsible in keeping in touch with the supporters and the members of various teams. After the information to be disseminated is packaged the department uses various media for its transition.

The organization has developed several channels of communication which its target different consumer segment. Considering that the target group is made up of college students, the organization has used the internet to pass information to its members and supporters. The Houston athletics has a Cougar Daily which is an online newspaper that is updated twice a week.  It uses this paper to update its target group on the ongoing events within the organization. This also use  this paper to update members on any new development in the organization, The organization also uses other internet tools like email and face book to keep correspondence with their members and supporters (Lynn, 2006).

Houston athletic also uses media advertising; this is both the TV and the radio adverts. This is to inform their members and supporters of events and various developments in the organization. The organization also have and information office which works together with the marketing department to disseminate information to the public.

Market research

The marketing department of the Houston athletic is responsible for marketing research. The major market research conducted is to identify various methods that can be used to make the organization products more popular, this market research are aimed at making various events organized by the organization more popular and attract more fans.

This market research is mostly based in the college sporting arena. The market is meant to analyze various aspects of the sports and events that can be used to make them more attractive. This involves elements like, the time various events should be held, the setting and what complementary services should be provided (Dan, 2000).

An example of research that is conducted is to check on what games should be included in the existing range of sports is the organization. This research is conducted to analyze on whether a certain sport would attract enough supporters and sponsorship if introduced in the organization. This market research targets the audience and the commercial companies to check if it will attract their support (Gil et al, 2007).

 Tickets operations

The organization has a ticket office which is located which is in the alumni center near the Hofheinz pavilion which operates from Monday to Friday during the working hours. The tickets are placed for sale ten to days prior to the game. For those who would wish to book tickets online, should do so ten before the scheduled date of the game. The organization offers shipment for these tickets unless the fan request otherwise.  Children over the age of three years are required to have tickets (Mark, 2009). The Houston athletics have special offers for group of over ten people; they may be part of a company church or any other organization. These group tickets are mostly available at season home events. The group tickets must be purchased before the day of the game because they not available the day of the event (Wiley et al, 2004).

Some of there benefits enjoyed by the group tickets includes, reduced prices for the tickets, reserved seats which are place together, and recognition in the scoreboard. These are the ticket charges for the group tickets.

They are various promotional activities that are conducted by the marketing department .These activities includes free tickets for the first group to arrive at the stadium. This is mostly done in low demand seasons. There is also a products promotion like giving capes to these people who attends a given function. These are meant to improve attendance and strengthen the brand name. Other promotion includes discounts on bulk purchases of the organization products (Ron, 2006, p.152).

Sponsorship

The organization major sponsors is the alumni group which is referred to us the Cougar Pride which is made up of fans, former students, coaches and friend who join together to support the Houston cougar. This team contributes fund for various activities in their organization. The other sponsors include Nike sports company which sponsors some of the activities organized by the Houston Cougar. This sponsorship may be monetary or material depending on the type of event. They are also other commercial companies that sponsor various activities which they use to advertise their products (David, 2009, p. 232).

Facilities

 Robertson stadium

This is a multipurpose stadium which is located in the Huston university ground. It is the home of Huston cougar’s football team and Houston women soccer teams. The stadium is the home Houston Dynamos home games of the major league soccer which started in 2006. Robertson stadium has a sitting capacity of 32,000 people.

Hofheinz Pavilion

It is located in Huston university ground in Houston Texas. It is the home ground for the Houston Cougar’s men and women basket ball teams; it has sitting capacity of 10,000 people.

Cougar field

It is the base ball stadium for the Houston Cougars it is also located in Houston university ground, It can hold 5,000 people.

Community relation

The Houston cougar marketing department organizes various community outreach programs. This program involves the Cougar family and the member of the community. These programs include motivational speaking, visiting hospitals, drug awareness campaigns, and food and clothes drives. Each individual coach also organizes charity events for the community (Frank & Joe, 2004).

Evaluation and critique

Looking at the whole marketing program we realize that the Houston athletics is dealing with a wide range of products, the organization is having very many men band women teams. This shows that this organization has not been able to specialize in any one area such that it has no clear objective on its functions. (Bernard et al 2007, p. 95)

The other thing that can be portrayed by this organization is that it is dealing with the market as a whole. The organization has not segmented its market. There no products that have been developed to target specifically a given group of people (Aaron, 2008, p. 57).

Another important element that can be observed is that the organization clothe store is not well developed and it deals with a small range of products .The store also promotes the brand of another company Nike instead of promoting its own brand in its products (Lisa et al, 2008).

The other element of marketing that can be observed is that there is little marketing which is done on the organizational events in other colleges. There is also lack of partnership with other organization which are in similar business, this shows that it is unable to derive befits which accrues from such cooperation. (Sam, 2009, p.54),

Recommendations

The organization should come up with a program that will be able to identify different market segment of different consumers it deals with. Fore amble football fans group, this group should be well segmented and specific brand created that the football fans can identify with. This can be done through development of distinct culture that the football fans can identify with. This may be through coming up with dances and song which targets that specific market segment. The store should also develop various products for the various categories of fans (Matthew, 2008, p 64).

The organization should be able to develop relationship with other organization  who are in the same business these are  groups like the commercial sports club and this will develop a very productive symbiotic relationship .This will bring advantages like sponsorship and exchange programs. Exchange programs will help the organization acquire skills in deferent areas of operation (Stedman et al, 2001 p.231).

The clothe store should also be well developed  so that it can be able to market the brand name of the organization effectively, it should develop products targeting different groups of people the young and old. The organization products should also be well marketed especially in the times of events (Scott & Kennth 2004, p.254).

The marketing department should also put some efforts in marketing the organization in other colleges and this will expand their market base.

The organization should also have a public relations office which will be responsible for dealing with the public complains and also enhance good publicity for the organization. (Joseph, 2007),

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