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Groundbreaking Researcher on Diversity in Sports Marketing Shares Expertise with Major League Sports
Professor Ceyda Mumcu tackles multiple research projects in addition to teaching, advising 60 students, and creating internship and networking opportunities for the next generation of sport managers and marketers.
March 11, 2019
By Jackie Hennessey, contributing writer
Ceyda Mumcu, who co-authored the first study to research the impact of professional sports leagues marketing to LGBTQ fans is turning her focus to examining the influence of such campaigns on mainstream men’s sports leagues such as NBA, NHL and MLB.
"Understanding the implications of these campaigns on sport fans, sport organizations, and sports themselves is instrumental in creating participation opportunities for all, creating respectful and inclusive environments at sporting events, and developing new business opportunities for sport organizations," Mumcu says.
Currently, she is at work on a collaborative research project with the National Pro Fast Pitch softball league. She and Nancy Lough, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, are developing marketing research to generate insights on league fandom, affinity, consumption preferences and trends to help the league shape its marketing strategy.
"Women’s sport organizations are at a disadvantage in making data-driven decisions. We will be filling this gap."Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D.
"Women’s sports often lack internal data due to infrastructure issues, and third-party entities usually do not have syndicated data for women’s sports," explains Mumcu, assistant professor of sport management. "Women’s sport organizations are at a disadvantage in making data-driven decisions. We will be filling this gap."
Mumcu’s groundbreaking study on the Women’s National Basketball Association’s 2014 Pride campaign – the first professional sport league in the U.S. to reach out specifically to LGBTQ fans – found that targeted marketing was valued by members of the LBGTQ community, a key market segment.
Published in Sport Marketing Quarterly, the article was downloaded by higher education, commercial, and governmental entities from 27 countries. Since the research was published, the NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS and their franchises are pursuing the LGBTQ community as they implement marketing strategies to expand their fan bases, she says.
"I wanted to be involved and improve the business of women’s sports, and I am proud to have been able to contribute in various ways."Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D.
"It was really about the positive response from LGBTQ sport fans, and a neutral or positive response from the heterosexual fans," she says. "This opened up the way for other major leagues to follow suit. With the recent polarization of American society and changing dynamics, a follow-up study would be beneficial for all sport leagues, especially for the mainstream men’s sport leagues. Examination of LGBTQ fans’ perception of these campaigns would be insightful for these sport leagues."
Mumcu speaks regularly to the media on diversity in sport; teaches courses in sport industry marketing, promotions and public relations and international sport management; and advises more than 60 undergraduate sport management students. A former member of the Turkish Women’s Professional Basketball League, she played for eight years before moving to the United States.
"One of the reasons why I pursued a Ph.D. in sport management was to support women’s sports, elevate their image in the public eye, and contribute to their business practices as a consultant," Mumcu says. "I wanted to be involved and improve the business of women’s sports, and I am proud to have been able to contribute in various ways."