Dr. Kirk Wakefield is the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of Sports Sponsorship & Sales at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. His research in retailing covering more than two decades focuses primarily upon sports psychology, team sports marketing, entertainment marketing, and fan and consumer response to pricing and promotional tools. He has conducted fan research in almost every venue in sports including the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL, and NASCAR.
Wakefield developed the Sports Sponsorship & Sales program and its advisory board of over 95 members from major league teams, leagues, and corporate partners. He also founded and serves as publisher & editor of The Baylor S3 Report (www.baylors3.com), the industry-leading publication featuring best practices in sports sales and marketing written by the sports industry for the industry. His consulting work includes sponsorship metrics for a wide variety of professional sports franchises and global brands.
His research has been published articles in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Advertising, and the Journal of Advertising Research, among others. He is on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Sport Management and serves as a Consulting Scholar for Y&R’s BAV Consulting. Wakefield is the author of Team Sports Marketing, now widely used in universities nationwide and available online at www.teamsportsmarketing.com.
Wakefield received his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1980 from Southwest Baptist University, his master's degree in business administration from Baylor in 1981 and his doctoral degree from Saint Louis University in 1991.
Wakefield has been interviewed by numerous media including The Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Sports Business Daily, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sacramento Bee, San Antonio Express-News, Baltimore Sun, Kansas City Star, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Detroit News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune, among others.
Industry Expertise (3)
Areas of Expertise (6)
Team Sports Marketing
Fan and Consumer Response to Pricing and Promotional Tools
Saint Louis University: Ph.D., Business Administration 1991
Baylor University: M.B.A., Business Administration 1981
Southwest Baptist University: B.A., Business Administration 1980
- CRM Steering Committee, SEAT Consortium
- Academy of Marketing Science
- American Marketing Assocation
Media Appearances (28)
Why Broncos, Denver will feel Russell Wilson Effect in terms of dollars, sense
The Denver Post online
Sports marketing expert Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., professor and executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales at Baylor, was interviewed about how new Denver Broncos’ quarterback Russell Wilson is quickly impacting the Broncos’ merchandise and ticket sales.
Cinderella St. Peter’s can now expect boom in applications, donations, and sales
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., professor and executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales program, explains how winning sports tournaments, like March Madness, increases college applicants, improves academic quality of student body and raises donations.
NFL Super Bowl Sponsors Were In The Game, But Did Fans Notice?
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sale, breaks down a national poll conducted among NFL fans after the 2022 Super Bowl about the impact of TV and on-field sponsorships on brands.
How the NBA jersey patch became a billboard for advertisers
Market Place online
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing, is quoted in this article about the use of jersey patches for advertising in sporting events.
A combined Final Four? Gender equity report calls for it
AP News online
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of the Center for Sport Strategy and Sales at Baylor, comments on why a combined Final Four makes sense based on his research of fan behavior.
Why Brands Love Sports: Fans Are Innovative, Progressive, Social, Upscale and Diverse
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales, discusses why brands like AdventHealth and Bud Light love Tampa Bay Lightning fans for the same reasons sponsors love home team fans everywhere: It pays off. Research from YouGov shows fans are more likely to be innovative & progressive, socially outgoing, and upscale & diverse than the general population.
Why Do Sponsors Love Sports Fans? Start With An Openness To Gambling, Sharing Opinions And Buying From Ads
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales at Baylor, shares insight into the behavior of sports fans. He discusses the marketing strategies employed by companies that directly benefit from this fan behavior.
Why Home Team Fans Are So Valuable To Sponsors
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales at Baylor, breaks down a large-scale study of sports fans compared to the national population that reveals significant differences that help explain why brands flock to sports sponsorships and programming.
Spurs add Michael Dell to investor group as Peter J. Holt gains full control of NBA team
San Antonio Report online
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales that the San Antonio Spurs are frequent partners with, is quoted in this article about the Spurs newly consolidated investor group that includes Austin billionaire Michael Dell and a San Francisco-based investment firm.
Pandemic Propels Sports Sponsorships To Outperform Expectations
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of Sports Strategy & Sales in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, writes about how the pandemic-inspired digital transformation combined with pent-up demand and the unifying nature of sports led to more effective sponsorship campaigns in 2020 than in 2019—among those willing to stick with it to capitalize on the circumstances.
Why All Your Favorite Athletes Are Selling Supplements Now
Men's Health online
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., professor of sports marketing who studies how pro athletes influence sports enthusiasts, is quoted in this article about the trend of athletes promoting their own dietary supplement brands.
Escape From 2020: A Case to Separate Sports and Politics For More Fans And Higher Ratings
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of Sports Strategy & Sales in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, writes about the connection between sports, politics and how national teams can be marketed to target specific audiences.
Baylor Connections: Kirk Wakefield
Baylor Connections online
AUDIO: Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of Sports Strategy & Sales, Hankamer School of Business, analyzes how teams at both the professional and collegiate levels navigate change, engage fans and work to make the best of uncertain times.
Poll: NFL Fans Prefer Players Stand, But OK With Kneeling
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing, Hankamer School of Business, shares poll results which reveal NFL fans’ opinions of players kneeling and gives his expert opinion on the lasting effects of kneeling.
Evidence From The Internet: How The Pandemic Sparks Sports Fans On Twitter
Baylor marketing professor Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., executive director of the Sports Sponsorship & Sales program, writes about new social media data that provides behavioral evidence of fans’ passion for sports and how they miss the emotional outlet, the socialization, the competition and the joy sports bring to the community.
How Are Sports Fans Taking The Coronavirus Cancellations?
With the NBA, the NHL, MLS and the NCAA shuttering operations because of the coronavirus outbreak, what’s a sports fan to do? Will fan passion sustain, wax or wane?
Expert Answers the Question: ‘Why Do We Root for the Underdog?’
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of Sports Sponsorship & Sales, shares his study via Forbes about sports fans and what they'll during absence of major sporting events.
NHL Seeks Stadium Series Refresh With Air Force Academy Weekend
Front Office Sports online
Baylor marketing professor Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales, is quoted in this article about the NHL seeking new and unique venues, including military academies, for its slate of outdoor games.
The XFL Is Back. Will The Reboot Work?
Texas Standard online
Baylor marketing professor Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales, is interviewed for this story on the XFL’s second go-round.
NFL TV Ratings: Why People (Won't) Watch
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., The Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of Sports Sponsorship & Sales at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, penned this Forbes column about the changing NFL viewing landscape. “Sports teams once thought increasing broadcast access might cannibalize attendance. The reality is increased exposure and access increase the overall fan base and may have no effect at all on attendance,” he wrote.
Study finds Walmart.com closing the price gap with Amazon
Consumer Affairs online
Baylor professor Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., professor and holder of the Edwin W. Streetman Professorship in retail management, is quoted in this story about a study which shows that Walmart has made dramatic progress this year in closing the online price gap with Amazon, giving consumers more low-price options. “Walmart is able to compete with Amazon because they already have huge market penetration, can stock inventory for large-scale distribution and have already been actively refining their online order systems,” Wakefield said.
BU professors study passion-driven sports media
Baylor Lariat online
Social media use during sporting events is completely driven by passion, which is different than excitement over the sporting event, according to a study done by Baylor professors, “When we say passionate, we mean you devote your heart, mind, body and soul,” said Dr. Kirk Wakefield, executive director of the Center for Sports, Sponsorship and Sales at the Hankamer School of Business. “The question is: to what extent can you live without it? You can say you love something, but you aren’t really passionate about it unless you allot time to spend with that person or that thing, so we measured how much time is prioritized to measure NASCAR in this case.”
Is There Room for Sports to Get Even More Commercialized?
The Atlantic online
Sponsorships came into their own as communications technologies evolved, and in 1922, AT&T became the first corporate sponsor of a game broadcast on the radio. “When games began being broadcast on radio and then TV, then the opportunity for sponsorships took off,” says Kirk Wakefield, a professor of retail marketing at Baylor University. “Today,” Wakefield adds, “the media deals are one of the primary sources of revenue for sports properties, with the broadcast companies and the properties selling ad time to sponsors. Without sponsors—‘This game is brought to you by…’—we wouldn’t have games to watch, so it’s funny when anyone complains about sponsorships.” This is how sponsorships proceeded for much of the 20th century: Professional sports leagues needed money, so companies gave it to them, usually in exchange for the occasional commentator shout-out or some stadium signage.
NFL Sponsorships Pay Off for Advertisers
Baylor Media and Public Relations online
Company sponsorship of the National Football League (NFL) is effective in engaging fans and transforming attitudes critical to making purchasing decisions, according to a research paper presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, March 2-3 in Boston.
Baylor Professor's Paper is a Finalist for MIT's Sports Analytics Conference, Open for Voting on ESPN.com
Baylor Media and Public Relations online
A paper authored by Dr. Kirk Wakefield, Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, and Anne Rivers, senior vice president at Brand Assets Consulting, is one of 10 finalists for best paper at the upcoming MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
Is Super Bowl Advertising Worth the Cost?
Baylor Media and Public Relations online
It depends, according to Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., executive director of Sports and Entertainment Marketing at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business and sports marketing blogger.
Fan Reaction to Sports Ads At Homestead-Miami Speedway to be studied by Baylor University Using RFID
Baylor Media and Public Relations
Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D. of Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, has received a grant from The Wharton School's Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to study fan engagement with sponsors at sporting events.
Baylor Researchers Find Consumers' Expectations of Real Estate Agents Rely on Three Factors
Baylor Media and Public Relations online
A Baylor University business study of recent home buyers and sellers found that most consumers rely on three basic factors when deciding on an individual real estate agent for buying or selling a home.
Is Background Music Effective On Retail Websites?Journal of Promotion Management
2017 Web designers often advise online retailers against incorporating background music on websites. However, the effect of music in brick-and-mortar retail settings has generally been found to be favorable. The research on the effects of music has been mixed. Our study aims to examine whether congruent music on the website homepage influences online consumers. Using the responses of 290 visitors to two different commercial websites, we test the influence of background music on consumers’ arousal and pleasure perceptions. The results indicate congruent background music on a website's homepage will generate positive affective responses of arousal and pleasure within users, and will enhance users’ perceived usefulness and perceived enjoyment as well. The findings reveal the effects of respondent’ affective responses to the music differed by gender. Website music produces significant affective and cognitive responses in high web skill/low web challenge users and explains more of website enjoyment.
Retrospective: the importance of servicescapes in leisure service settingsJournal of Services Marketing
2016 The purpose of the paper is to review the contribution of the paper, “The Importance of Servicescapes in Leisure Service Settings” to the discipline and to offer directions for further research and developments in the research area.
Social media network behavior: A study of user passion and affectThe Journal of Strategic Information Systems
2016 Social media technologies are described as an ensemble IS artefact composed of technical, informational and relational subsystems that interact distinctly according to the context of use. With an emphasis on these dimensions, we build a conceptual framework to examine the influence of user affect and passion for an activity on social media networks, specifically Facebook and Twitter. The research model is based on Affective Events Theory and tested using the responses of 328 attendees of a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) event. The results indicate that excitement may not be sufficient to motivate content creation and sharing activities in social media. However, in the context of a meaningful event, excitement interacts with user passion to facilitate social media use. One strategic insight is the knowledge that user (or customer) passion is a condition favorable for social media engagement, representing a lucrative opportunity for organizations to meaningfully engage with consumers.
Using Fan Passion to Predict Attendance, Media Consumption, and Social Media BehaviorsJournal of Sport Management
2016 Passion drives sport consumption, but we lack valid relevant measures of passion. The results of two studies provide evidence of a reliable and valid multiple-item passion scale that may be used in the study of sports-related consumption behavior. In Study 1 a multi-item fan passion scale was compared with established social identification fan classification scales to provide evidence of discriminant and predictive validity. Because the passion scale outperformed other relevant fan classification measures, in Study 2 the fan passion scale was compared with current single-item measurement practices employed by National Football League and Major League Baseball teams, and some academics, to classify fans. Findings confirmed the veracity of the multi-item passion measure over categorical and interval fan avidity measures used by leagues and syndicated research providers. Taken together, the studies validate an accurate measure of fan passion that may be used to segment and predict fan behaviors, including consumption of traditional media (television, radio, news, and the team’s website) and consumption of the team’s official social media outlets.