Australia is one of the most saturated professional sports markets in the world. With increasing pressure on Australian sporting organisations to grow revenue, international expansion presents a potentially attractive proposition.
Whether they realise it or not, Australian sports are already competing in a global landscape. Most sports played in Australia are played internationally and are therefore already a part of a global competition for talent, audience and sponsorship. There are only a few truly indigenous Australian sports; most notably Australian Rules Football. Even here, the ability to transfer athletic talent has seen Australian Rules footballers move to the NFL.
The global nature of sport presents both threats and opportunities for Australian National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) and Clubs.
Australian NSOs thinking of going global, can learn a lot from some prominent examples of international leagues or clubs that have successfully done just that.
There are two main strategies which have proven successful for international sports which have gone global:
Firstly there are those who started with an already strong brand, and then leveraged that on a global stage to create brand pilgrims.
Then there is a second group who started with a smart model, or way of doing things, and made strategic investments internationally and applied that same secret recipe.
However, not all sports are positioned well enough to adopt these market leading strategies. Others may need to consider becoming a feeder league for international competitions, or establish a niche that can be grown globally.
In any case, sports teams, leagues and governing bodies must choose a strategy that is right for them.