Beedie School of Business News

As the Miami Heat professional basketball team duels with the Oklahoma City Heat Thunder in the NBA Finals for the league’s biggest prize, new academic research from SFU’s Beedie School of Business is putting the spotlight on the business thinking that brought the Miami team together. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Lebron James’ decision to play with a higher-profile Heat team and all-star teammates shows sound marketing and career-management acumen, according to the newly-published article focused on the evolution and importance of star status for today’s professional athletes.

In order to maximize their earnings and endorsements, today’s celebrity athletes — from James to David Beckham to Peyton Manning — need to be mindful of the evolution of their star status. That in turn has major implications for the teams they choose to play for, and the teams they turn down or leave behind.

So what makes a star shine even brighter in the world of pro sports? It’s a combination of not only personal performances and team records, but also includes the markets that athletes play in and the star calibre of the athletes they compete with.

The study, “Investigating the evolution of star status in professional team sports,” describes the rise and fall of celebrated athletes using data from the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1987 to 2008.