This may appear that all is well in the Lakers household, but there could be costly repercussions in the near future if they don’t get out of their current slump. The Lakers finished with their second worst record in franchise history at 27-55 last season and are on pace to reach their worst winning percentage in franchise history for the 2014-15 season. Moreover, the face of the Lakers franchise, Kobe Bryant, is coming close to the end of his career.
This is a problem for the Lakers because with a continued poor performance of the team and their only superstar player’s career coming to an end will negatively affect the team’s brand value, brand loyalty, ticket sales, premium suite sales, licensed merchandise sales, etc. Likewise, this will also negatively affect their B2B relationships such as retaining corporate partnerships.
Thus, because of the team’s poor success on the court and the future loss of a superstar will create a costly domino effect off the court as well. For example, according to SportsBusiness Daily, the Lakers ratings on Time Warner Cable SportsNet are down 25% from last year, in which are down 57% from only two years ago when they had a 4.63 local rating. Moreover, Forbes.com reported that the Lakers snapped their seven-year, 270-game sellout streak last season.
Consequently, if the ratings continue to plummet, then that means their brand loyalty is dissipating. If the team’s fan base isn’t present, then that means the Lakers will lose their value proposition of maintaining the long-term emotional attachment of their sports fans, in which is one of the primary reasons why advertisers and sponsors associate their brand names with a sports team. This will ultimately make it more difficult for the Lakers front office staff to retain local and corporate companies to create partnerships and/or sponsorship deals.