It’s Sunday, and for many Americans that means sitting down to watch your favorite team take the field. My favorite team is the Tennessee Titans. As they prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a rescheduled game today, that got me thinking:
The NFL is just a giant system
So let’s dissect that thought as Ryan Tannelhill is going to dissect the Steelers Defense.
1st Down – Stakeholder Map
A stakeholder is anybody who can affect or is affected by an organization, strategy or project. They can be internal or external and they can be at senior or junior levels. –stakeholdermap.com
As I began to list these out, I was overwhelmed by the amount of stakeholders in the NFL. It is a massive list. I certainly did not capture every stakeholder in the map below.
2nd Down – Stakeholder Questions
Do the stakeholders have a fundamental impact on your organizations performance?
Many of them do –
The Teams: The teams make up the league and have a fundamental impact on performance because the players on those teams play the game which is the product
Team Owners: Team owners can lockout the league and prevent games from being played (this scenario played out in 2011)
Can you clearly identify what you want from the stakeholder?
For example, teams know what they want from the players. To be competitive and ultimately win so as to be a successful organization and make more money.
Is the relationship dynamic?
Many of these relationships are dynamic. The TV Networks want the league to rate well so they make more money, in turn the League as a whole wants to rate well so as to sell more merchandise and get better TV deals which in turn will provide more revenue for the teams, which will affect the player salaries.
Can you exist without or easily replace the stakeholder?
The prime subject for this question should be the referees. In 2012, we saw the NFL Refs go on strike. In a shortsighted move, the league decided to carry on with replacement refs. This led to the infamous “Fail Mary” and plenty of other questionable calls by the zebras.
3rd Down – Refining My Analysis “The Stakeholder Grid”
Drawing on Eden and Ackermann, I have separated the stakeholders into a stakeholder grid (Eden, C. & Ackermann, F.)
Taking a look at the actors side. Each of those groups have an impact on the future and strategy of the NFL. TV Networks can strike deals that increase coverage thus giving more profit to the league and positively affecting player salaries for example. Without other considerations an organization must, at least, pay attention to all actors. (Eden, C. & Ackermann, F.)
The parties listed in the subject panel are certainly important to the organization but they don’t have substantial influence. Sportsbooks for instance are highly invested in the league, but they cant suddenly boycott the NFL and the league shutdown. The same goes for fans. Believe me, I wanted to boycott after the Titans only won 2 games in 2014 and 3 games in 2015, but had I boycotted, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference to the team or league as a whole.
4th Down – The Decision
Stakeholder analysis is an important part of systems thinking. The NFL is a huge money making machine, and there are plenty of stakeholders influencing many decisions across the board. Do you think I missed any stakeholders?
Cole, Jason. “Top 10 Worst Miscues by NFL Replacement Refs.” Sports.Yahoo.Com, 27 Sept. 2012, sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl–top-10-worst-miscues-by-nfl-replacement-refs.html. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.
Definition – What is a stakeholder, Stakeholder. “Stakeholder | Definition – What Is a Stakeholder?” Stakeholdermap.Com, 2010, www.stakeholdermap.com/stakeholder-definition.html.
Eden, C. & Ackermann, F. (1998). Stakeholder analysis and management. In Making strategy: The journey of strategic management (pp. 113-135). London: SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781446217153.n7
Kenny, Graham. “Five Questions to Identify Key Stakeholders.” Harvard Business Review, 2 Nov. 2014, hbr.org/2014/03/five-questions-to-identify-key-stakeholders. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.
NFL. “Seahawks vs. Packers Fail Mary Game | This Day in NFL History (9/24/12).” YouTube, 24 Sept. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXGFZkIEMK0. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.
Rishe, Patrick. “Who Won The 2011 NFL Lockout?” Forbes, 21 July 2011, www.forbes.com/sites/sportsmoney/2011/07/21/who-won-the-2011-nfl-lockout/#7095bde67071. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.
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