Applied business research methods component
This assignment is focused on the applied business research methods component of the course and is based on the following case study – the Atlanta Braves.
The Atlanta Braves
A visit to Turner Field, the Atlanta Braves’ state-of-the-art ballpark, feels like a trip back to the future. The stadium blends 1940s tradition with 21st century convenience. The Braves’ marketing campaign reflects the charm and nostalgia of baseball’s past, but it has a futuristic slogan: “Turner field: Not just baseball: A baseball theme park.”
Fans love the fact that they’re closer to the action at Turner Field. It’s only 45 feet from either first or third base to the dugouts, with the stands just behind. Besides that, there’s a Braves Museum and Hall of Fame with more than 200 artefacts. Cybernauts will find Turner Field awesome because it’s a ballpark that makes them a part of the action. At the stadium, built originally for the 1996 Olympics and converted for baseball after the Games, there are interactive games to test fans’ hitting and pitching skills, and their knowledge of baseball trivia; electronic kiosks with touch screens and data banks filled with scouting reports on 300 past and present Braves, along with the Braves’ Internet home page; a dozen 27-inch television monitors mounted above the Braves’ Clubhouse Store, broadcasting all the other major league games in progress, with a video tickertape screen underneath spitting out up-to-the-minute scores and stats; a sophisticated communications system, with four miles of fiber-optic cable underneath the playing field that will allow World Series games to be simulcast around the globe, as well as special black boxes placed throughout the stadium to allow as many as 5,500 cell-phone calls an hour.
The marketing of Turner Field is aimed at many types of fans. It is not enough just to provide nine innings of baseball. Turner Field’s theme-park concept was the brainchild of Braves President
Stan Kasten. In the early 1990s, as the Braves grew into one of the best teams in baseball, Kasten increasingly became frustrated while watching fans flock to Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium a few hours before games, with little to do but eat overcooked hot dogs and watch batting practice.
As Kasten saw it, they spent too much time milling on the club-level concourse and too little time spending money. What if he could find a way for families to make an outing of it, bring the amenities of the city to Hank Aaron Drive, and create a neighbourhood feel in a main plaza at the ballpark? “I wanted to broaden fans’ experience at the ballpark and broaden our fan base,” Kasten says. “People have no problem spending money when they’re getting value. We have one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and I needed to find new ways to sustain our revenues.”
Turner Field’s main entry plaza opens three hours before games—compared to two hours for the rest of the ballpark—and stays open for about two hours after games. On weekends, there is live music. Everyone’s invited—186 $8 “skyline seats” are available for each game—and that buck
gets you anywhere, from the open-air porch at the Chop House restaurant (which specializes in barbecue, bison dogs, Moon Pies, and Tomahawk lager) to the grassy roof at Coke’s Sky Field, where fans can keep cool under a mist machine. Interactive games in Scouts Alley range from $1 to $4, and the chroma-key studios in the East and West Pavilions cost $10–20, where fans can have their picture inserted into a baseball card or into a photo of a great moment in Braves history. Admission to the museum is $2. And it should come as no surprise that there are seven ATMs located throughout the ballpark. One of the Braves’ key marketing objectives is to help build a new generation of baseball fans. The stadium was planned so that fans will find something to love and learn at every turn. The minute a fan’s ticket is torn, that person becomes part of what’s happening at Turner Field.
Turner Field is unrivaled in its blend of technology and entertainment. At all times, fans are entertained and informed of Turner Field activities through superior sound systems, the BravesVision video board in center field, the PlazaVision board in the Fan Plaza and over 500 television monitors situated throughout Turner Field. The BravesVision video board is 29 feet by 38 feet, weighs over 21 tons and features over 331,000 fluorescent light bulbs. The PlazaVision board is 17 feet by 22 feet. These two huge boards make Turner Field unique among all sports facilities as two completely different shows can be produced - one for the seating bowl and one for the Plaza. Inside the ballpark, fans are prompted to do the tomahawk chop by the 27-foot long "chopping" neon tomahawk located atop the video board, and are kept informed of the latest scores around the leagues by the out-of-town scoreboard.
The task for this assignment.
You are required to complete two tasks for this assignment, a research design report and an oral presentation to the Atlanta Braves board. Each component of this assignment is outlined separately next.
Task 1 - Report – 2,000 words (90% of the marks for this assignment)
Whilst the Turner Field stadium is still considered to be state-of-the art for baseball, it is now 10 years since any money was invested in the stadium. Before they agree to invest an additional $10 million to upgrade and improve the stadium the new executive team at the Braves is interested in finding out whether and how important the stadium identity and its features are to their key stakeholders (fans, corporate and season supporters, team members and employees such as ticket takers, parking attendants, ushers, security personnel and so forth) and which features exactly are critical to the continued support of their stakeholders.
You have been commissioned to design a program of research for the executive team at the Braves that will help them to answer these questions. Specifically this report should outline what research design you would recommend and what data collection and statistical tests, if any, could be useful?
Your report should include the following elements:
- a statement of the research question(s) and objectives for this piece of research – what is it you intend this research program to achieve and what questions should it answer – ONE overall objective or question is sufficient;
- a short literature review or summary of secondary data from existing sources about the impact of sports stadiums on stakeholders such as fans and how sport team stakeholders make decisions about supporting their teams (approximately 500 words). This literature search should also allow you to identify any previous
research in this area and to look at and possibly build on the research designs previously used in these studies;
- a recommended research design and methodology justified and supported with appropriate theory and evidence. This includes discussion about whether you are recommending a qualitative or quantitative approach (and why – justified and supported with theory), and within this what specific methodology you are recommending and why:
- recommendations about the most appropriate sample unit and sampling methodology (also with justification) to match the design you are recommending and in this discussion show you have identified issues related to the research ethics of this proposed research and how you will address these;
- a discussion of the data (questions) that would need to be answered – being as specific as possible and showing evidence of an understanding of the form and level of data required to answer the research questions and how these ultimately will allow you to address the overarching research objective or question;
- a discussion of the analysis that should be conducted with this data to address the research questions (supported with theoretical justification); and
- a discussion about the validity and reliability elements of your proposed research plan and any limitations of the research that should be considered by the board.
You DO NOT have to collect data, actually design a questionnaire or conduct any primary research for this assignment.
This assignment is to be presented as a formal report (including letter of transmittal, executive summary etc) and submitted through EASE by the due date.
Task 2 - Oral presentation - 10 mins – (10% of the marks for this assessment) As a final element of this assessment task you are required to prepare and present or record a 10 minute presentation to the board of the Atlanta Braves outlining your recommendations for this research design explaining how and why it will assist them in making their investment decision. If you are enrolled as a student with tutorial classes you will be required to present to the class by the due date and your tutor will advise of the actual date and time closer to the end of the semester. If you are enrolled as an external or online student then you are required to record your presentation using any recording software. Regardless of the presentation style you are also required to submit a PowerPoint presentation with notes pages showing the script (or a separate copy of your script) for this presentation.
The oral presentation can be made with any recording software and should show you presenting the information as if to the Atlanta Braves board. You will be graded on the style and effectiveness of your presentation as well as on the PowerPoint slides and notes pages you submit. An extensive marking guide for this assessment task is provided. Please note the file size limits for the recording and also note that you should allow sufficient time to upload these files. When everyone is trying to submit at the last minute it slows the submission time and makes submission difficult.