Pro-Yakyu “Nekkyo” no Keiei-Kagaku (Management Science of Enthusiasm in Professional Baseball: Fans’ Psychology and Sports Business)
Enthusiastic fans gathering together to support their favorite team at a professional sports match is quite a familiar sight. Sporting events such as Olympic Games drive people wild across the globe. Avid fans are not limited to sports; entertainment events also attract many such fans. Fanaticism of this type, on the other hand, creates major business opportunities, and management of which is a contemporary challenge in the field of business management.
This book approaches the topic through professional baseball and presents an original collection of essays by specialists in a variety of disciplines, including marketing, business management, accounting, social psychology, and history. Part I, “Identifying value: a marketing perspective” analyzes the results of surveys conducted to fans of professional baseball. Using the concept of “brand love,” it explores how supporters’ “love” is strengthened as they conform to the true or ideal selves with their favorite team. Part II, “Securing fans: a psychological perspective,” probes these fans’ psychological mechanism through survey and experimental research. For instance, it is interesting that a behavioral experiment involving fans of the Hiroshima Carp reveals that acknowledging others as supporters of the same team by the fact that they wear the team T-shirts generates a sense of unity, and is more likely to encourage actions of mutual assistance. Part III, “Managing a baseball team: a perspective of management,” implements an analysis focusing on players and teams rather than fans. Enthusiastic fans often debate their team’s policies and player selection; which is the best policy, to populate the team with long-term loyal players, to recruit immediately-effective players, or to leave it to the players themselves to decide. Chapter 7 attempts to apply computer simulation to this discussion, suggesting a possibility of creating a strong cluster that attract devout fans, even if that performance should be short-lived, by taking the policy of creating the baby-boom generation (that large number of players are in a certain age group).
Truth be told, this publication is also unique in the way it came about. Many of the contributing authors are fellow fans of the Hiroshima Carp, cheering for the team together at Jingu Stadium several times a year. We would have a round-up in a bar afterwards and discuss the game from the perspective of academic researchers, being the academics that we are. Those occasions begot the idea of pursuing a study by taking advantage of each other’s strong fields. The project was later joined by members who were fans of the Hanshin Tigers. I myself am a life-long fan of the Carp. The book was published the same year that the Carp won the Central League for the first time in 25 years, and I remember writing my manuscript amidst the tide of enthusiasm. My frame of mind at the time may have brought about certain overeagerness or biases, but there is nothing better than working on something you truly love. I hope the readers will enjoy this book and at the same time appreciate the contributors’ own enthusiasm behind the texts they produced.
(Written by INAMIZU Nobuyuki, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics / 2018)