Baylor Sports Marketing Expert Discusses NBA, NCAA Coronavirus Decisions

Baylor Sports Marketing Expert Discusses NBA, NCAA Coronavirus Decisions

March 12, 20203 min read

On Wednesday, the NBA took the unprecedented step to suspend its season following the revelation that one of its players tested positive for coronavirus. In addition, the NCAA announced that the March Madness basketball tournaments will be played, but without fans present.

Baylor University’s Dr. Kirk Wakefield is a nationally recognized expert on sports marketing, sports psychology and fan/consumer response. He has conducted research on the sports retail market – including the NBA and all major national organizations – for more than 20 years.

In this brief Q&A, he shares his thoughts about these two decisions.

Q: This was an unprecedented action by the NBA to suspend the season due to coronavirus. What does this mean for the teams?

A: We’ve had work stoppage before with labor lockouts. Fans were angry then, but the majority won’t be now. Most won’t blame the league or the teams. We might see even more passion for the teams as fans are anxious for play to resume.

Q: Based on your understanding of the decision-making process, does this seem to be an action that was done thoughtfully?

A: It was carefully considered. No one wants to be the one who could have prevented a catastrophe and didn’t take prudent steps. Just like after lockout years, the leagues will recover.

Q: The NCAA tournament will be played – but without fans. What does this mean for college sports teams and the NCAA?

A: Obviously, viewership will increase – which is good for sponsors with heavy broadcast and digital assets. Sponsors and venues/teams who are reliant on gate revenue will be hit the hardest.


Kirk Wakefield, Ph.D., is the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of Sports Sponsorship & Sales at Baylor Unviersity's Hankamer School of Business. His research on retailing covers more than two decades and focuses primarily on 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.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


At Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business, integrity stands shoulder-to-shoulder with analytic and strategic strengths. The School’s top-ranked programs combine rigorous classroom learning, hands-on experience in the real world, a solid foundation in Christian values and a global outlook. Making up approximately 25 percent of the University’s total enrollment, undergraduate students choose from 16 major areas of study. Graduate students choose from full-time, executive or online MBA or other specialized master’s programs, and Ph.D. programs in Information Systems, Entrepreneurship or Health Services Research. The Business School also has campuses located in Austin and Dallas, Texas. Visit and follow on Twitter at

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  • Kirk  Wakefield, B.A., M.B.A., Ph.D.
    Kirk Wakefield, B.A., M.B.A., Ph.D. Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing

    Dr. Wakefield is the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.

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