Sport Innovation/C360 Potential for Innovation
Potential of C360 Starting at the beginning of 2010 the new venture is still in the phase of establishing the product in the market. Up to now they have hosted 100 combines at regional sites across the U.S. to gain popularity . However creating sustainability in this market is rather difficult. As the product is easy to copy due to the fact that the idea of combine the different aspects of exercises and measurement and thus creating a worldwide database of the athletes performances is not unique nor is there the requirement of specific knowledge or technology in order to enter the market.
But if this venture is able to differentiate their product against the many competitors in this market the potential for creating high revenue and a worldwide recognition of the brand is huge, assuming that in this era of the people trying to involve more and more technology in sports, the demand and the want for such a product is definitely existing. Looking at the long run they should customize their product even more in offering a specific C360 training program for whatever sport is demanded from the customer. Another possible idea of use would be the implementation of C360 in medical treatments and rehabilitation. You could give persons that recover from an injury the advice at which score in specific exercises it’s recommended to start participating in their sport again. Moreover there are opportunities in the medical field. A doctor for example gets the chance to provide his patients with benchmarks they should sustain in order to stay healthy or avoid certain diseases.
SWOT Analysis Strengths The most obvious strength of the Combine 360 system is the unique measurement of a customer’s physical ability. Due to this innovative approach IMG’s C360 differentiates itself from the majority of other 360 training combines. Furthermore the project has a high degree of financial security as well as a well-known brand to support their actions due to its affiliation to the IMG Company. The fact that within its “Client management” IMG represents a lot of famous athletes provides their promotion campaign with familiar faces from professional sports which makes it easier to raise awareness for their product (e.g. Peyton Manning, Shaun White, Maria Sharapova) . Another strength that IMG’s new project contains is the conjunction of core competencies of their performance division with Under Armour, the official supplier and expert for fitness training. Finally C360 is used for different sports already (e.g Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, Lacrosse, Softball, Soccer, Tennis, and Golf) and can be used for nearly every sport in the future which results in a broad target market and a huge market potential.
Weaknesses However, IMG has to face a few weaknesses that occur while establishing their idea within the market. The cost of a C360 certificate that a trainer or coach has to possess in order to examine their customer’s potential is 500-750$ each  On top of this expenditure the training facility has to be specially prepared and the measurement software has to be bought. Closely linked to the problem of high cost is the fact that IMG’s combine 360 is currently just available in specifically prepared locations and mainly in the IMG academies within the U.S. Thus the product has not really opened its barriers to the wide public. A possible problem that might occur regarding the new measurement style is the overwhelming load of information. On account of too many different figures the coach as well as his athlete may get confused by too detailed figures. The many competitors in the market have to be considered as a weakness of the C360 project. This shows that the idea of creating a new and more complex training program for athletes and people that want to improve their fitness is not unique. Moreover, the low degree of sustainability makes it easy for opponents to copy this product. In the long run, other companies might start to differentiate themselves e.g. with low prices, which will decrease the profit margin of the whole 360 combines market.
Opportunities The opportunities that are linked with the idea of IMG’s C360 program are as follows. The high amount of data provides the athletes with better knowledge of their personal strength weaknesses and potentials. In addition this idea might be very helpful for (team)-coaches due to the opportunity of comparing the results of all his players. Furthermore if the program gets popular around the world the existing data would increase so that athletes can compare their scores with their opponents from other countries and thus discover their physical and mental differences. This would also give sports managers of any team sport the opportunity to have a detailed look at an athlete’s abilities in terms of his C360 score before deciding whether to buy him or not. You could also go even further and link the market value of players directly to their C360 score. Closely linked to this is the opportunity of expanding globally. With the financial background and the expertise of IMG in the field of sports this task might be manageable in the near future. Finally the C360 bears the chance for customization. IMG could not only provide 360 combines for all sorts of athletes but also for people to get rid of certain diseases, too high body fat or to recover from heavy injuries.
Threats The main threat that this innovation faces is the issue of creating a need and a demand for this product. At the moment the focus is on top level athletes or those that want to become one. But the C360 unique measurement system is nothing that the professional sports industry has asked for or needed. Training combines has existed before and were used especially in the U.S. very commonly. Therefore it’s hard to say whether or not the new system which is more expensive and measures much more detailed information about the performance is wanted and gets accepted. Furthermore the complex system is not proven yet. Questions like, “is the athlete with the best C360 score also the best performing athlete on the field?” Will have to be answered. Finally the above mentioned low level of sustainability attracts many competitors to join the market and the threat of them creating an even better version of IMG’s combine is always existing.
Degree of Innovation The idea of combines, meaning specific training programs for certain sports is not new (e.g. NFL draft combines). The innovation exists more in the way that customers are provided with the exact measurement of their performance in each section. Hence, the degree of innovation is an extension of existing products. Furthermore the C360 can be seen as an innovation to the extent that the combination of the already existing combine system with the measurement of an athlete’s overall performance creates a totally new product.
Competitive Advantage and its Sustainability The competitive advantage of IMG’s C360 program is the unique measurement system providing the customer with exact scores from the different sections (e.g. sport-specific ability, mental aptitude, nutritional level, ability to communicate) added up to one overall score. The sustainability of that advantage is at this early stage not possible to say but depends on whether IMG is able to differentiate the product from the many competitors. The prospects are good in face of the fact that IMG has a huge market and financial power. Due to that matter they are able to promote this product heavily throughout their marketing channels. Moreover, they do not rely on quick profits in this early stage of the product life-cycle with an audience of early adapters, a fairly small market size and a low amount of sales. Thus, IMG/UnderArmour can focus on long term strategies to implement and sustain their idea in the market.
Combine 360 Marketing Strategy Combine360 uses an array of marketing strategies to get their innovative product in the public eye. Being a product of two top tier companies like IMG and Under Armour helps a lot. Under Aromour uses many well known athletes such as Olympic Gold Medalists Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn as well as Ulitimate Fighting Championsip champion George St.Pierre to market their sports performance apparel and training featuring them in commercials and print ads seen below. This helps Combine 360 because it associates them with those athletes making their product more credible and popular to the public. In Addition, Combine360 is marketed through extensive use of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.
Next: C360 Competitors