Growing Australian Rules Football in the United States

Growing Australian Rules Football in the United States
Chapter 9 – Case Study
Growing Australian Rules Football in the United States
Australian Rules Football (Aussie Rules) is the number one spectator sport in Australia, but only recently has it been seen on an international scale. In 1997, the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) was founded with the mission of growing Aussie Rules in the United States. In particular, the USAFL’s stated mission is to develop Australian Rules Football through “promoting awareness and knowledge of the Australian culture, by promoting a sense of community among USAFL clubs and club members, and by fostering women’s and junior programs across the United States” (USAFL, 2010).
In April 2007, when the USAFL Board met in Louisville, Kentucky, it was noted that in 10 years the league had expanded to the point where it had more than 35 teams, located in nearly every major market in the United States, with over 2,000 players. At the meeting, the board discussed the league’s goals for the next 10 years. It agreed on three primary goals for the next decade: (1) to grow the league to more than 10,000 participants, (2) to have 1% of the U.S. population become aware of and interested in Aussie Rules, and (3) to secure four new league sponsors.
A. J. Hudson, director of development, was put in charge of devising a plan to create and foster awareness and increase participation in Australian Rules Football. Hudson walked away from the meeting and started asking himself, “How will I generate interest in a game that only a limited number of people have heard of? How will I convince Americans to participate in a sport that is relatively new to the country? How will I position Aussie Rules to compete against baseball, American football, basketball, and hockey? Which community stakeholders could I get involved to help me with this project?”
Hudson knew that his budget was limited, because the USAFL is a nonprofit organization. He had to find a way to spread the word about the USAFL with a very limited budget.
Discussion Questions
1. How could Hudson create awareness and interest in Aussie Rules?
2. What could Hudson do to inform the public of the league?
3. How should Hudson position Aussie Rules so that it is seen as an attractive alternative to American football, baseball, basketball, and hockey?
4. Which community groups could Hudson target to become involved with Aussie Rules?
5. Toward which target markets should Hudson focus his marketing campaign?
6. Which stakeholders (or sponsors) could Hudson approach to help to reach the USAFL’s goals?

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