NASHVILLE, TN. (October 19, 2018) – National Pro Fastpitch is launching a new partnership that will be instrumental to gather data that will assist the league to better understand their fanbase. The relationship pairs the league with professors and consultants Dr. Ceyda Mumcu, from the University of New Haven and Dr. Nancy Lough, of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
The research project will begin immediately and extend through the 2019 season. Results of the research is expected to fill a gap and provide valuable information to the league that will be implemented in pursuing key sponsorship deals and corporate engagement.
“Research data is a luxury that is seldom afforded to women’s professional sports in general, and the NPF is no exception,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “The immediate and direct benefit derived through the development of a deeper understanding of the NPF consumer’s wants and needs is anticipated to help direct the league in an overall better corporate engagement pitch. We are grateful for the initiative and willingness of Dr. Mumcu and Dr. Lough to partake in this project.”
“Most women’s sport organizations lack access to data to drive critical strategic decisions,” said Dr. Mumcu. “We are excited about our collaboration with Commissioner Kempf and the NPF and look forward to the opportunity to solve this problem.”
“Women’s sport has grown tremendously, yet substantial challenges remain that are unique to women’s sport,” stated Dr. Lough. “Issues such as the lack of media coverage compromising the value propositions of potential sponsorships, and a lack of specific knowledge on women as sport consumers continue to pose challenges to decision makers. We intend to fill this gap by providing the research needed.”
The research performed by Mumcu and Lough with cooperation from the league, will focus on the continued development of NPF’s business model in attempting to gain wider corporate support and actively pursue additional sponsorship deals with potential partners. Corporate partners use sponsorships as part of their marketing activities and in doing so, seek fit and alignment with their target audience, brand image and function. In this process, audience characteristics and fan passion points are utilized to present the fit and alignment.
Data collection will be carried out through collaboration with NPF social media accounts and potentially player/personnel social media platforms.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Spirit, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets, and USSSA Florida Pride. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
About Dr. Nancy Lough
Dr. Nancy Lough is a nationally recognized expert on sport marketing research, leadership development and gender equity within sport organizations. She currently specializes in research focused on marketing and media coverage of women athletes and women’s sport, social marketing in sport and the health benefits of sport participation. She is the author of the Handbook of Sport Marketing Research with Dr. Bill Sutton and is currently working on the Handbook of the Business of Women’s Sport due out spring of 2019. Currently, Dr. Lough is the Director of the Higher Education graduate degree programs in the UNLV College of Education. As an expert in sport business she has been quoted in media outlets such as the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, the Houston Chronicle and in international publications from Argentina to Canada.
About Dr. Ceyda Mumcu
Ceyda Mumcu, PhD, is an assistant professor of sport management in the College of Business at the University of New Haven. Her research is focused on marketing of women’s sports and female athletes, diversity marketing and consumer behavior in sport, marketing research and analytics in sport, and business models of international sports. Her work appeared in Sport Marketing Quarterly, Journal of Applied Sport Management, International Journal of Sport Management, Journal of Sport Behavior, and Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. Dr. Mumcu’s edited book, Sport Analytics: A Data Driven Approach to Sport Business and Management, was published in 2017. It is the first data-analytics book focused on business functions of sport industry, and it is widely adopted around the world. She has been involved in research projects for WNBA, NLL, and CT Open. Before coming to US, she played professional basketball for eight years in the Turkish Women’s Basketball League.