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SBD/May 31, 2012/Events and AttractionsPrint All
After an apparent pledge from the players “to make the Pro Bowl more competitive, the NFL said it is returning game to Hawaii for 2013,” according to Ferd Lewis of the HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER. The game will be played Jan. 27 at Aloha Stadium, "one week before the New Orleans Super Bowl, and shown on NBC.” The future of the annual all-star game “had been in doubt after a lackluster effort by the players” in the ‘12 game. In addition, comments by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie questioning the worth of the event in the state "had overshadowed the 2012 game.” The Pro Bowl has been held at Aloha Stadium “every year except 2010 since 1980 and the 2012 game was the final one under the Hawaii Tourism Authority's deal with the NFL.” Lewis notes New Orleans “had also been under consideration as a site for the game if it was to be held in 2013.” NFL Exec VP/Football Operations Ray Anderson in a release said, “The players have made it clear through the NFL Players Association that they would like the opportunity to continue to play the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.” He added, “We have had many discussions with the players in recent years about the Pro Bowl and they recognize that the quality of the game has not been up to NFL standards. We look forward to working with the players toward the goal of improving the competitiveness of this season's game" (STARADVERTISER.com, 5/30). NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal wrote there were “serious discussions about canceling the game after the quality of play deteriorated in recent years.” But it “sounds like the players wanted to keep the game afloat” and the TV networks likely agreed as the game “gets great ratings” (NFL.com, 5/30). USA TODAY’s Nate Davis writes players “enjoy the paid vacation to Hawaii … but seem much less enthused about playing it outside tropical confines.” The league “tried to drum up interest in the Pro Bowl by holding it in South Florida” before Super Bowl XLIV in ’10. However, the players “made it clear they could basically go to Florida any time they wanted” (USA TODAY, 5/31).
RATINGS ARE RATINGS: ESPN's Adam Schefter noted the Pro Bowl is still the "highest-rated All-Star game of any of the All-Star games played in any sport." Schefter: "It attracted huge numbers and (NFL Exec VP/Media) Steve Bornstein, combined with the players, did not want to kill off a game as popular as it is. We can criticize the Pro Bowl all we want, we can say what a joke it’s become -- and it has -- but the bottom line is people like to tune in in late January on a Sunday night and watch this game. The ratings have supported it” ("NFL Live," ESPN, 5/30).
Marketing and sponsorship goals are the same as they’ve always been, but the tools used to meet those goals have changed dramatically, said panelists in the opening session of the 2012 Intersport Activation Summit. “The operative word is ‘More’,” said MillerCoors VP/Marketing Services Jackie Woodward. “You have to be integrated across the marketing mix in order to break through. There used to be sponsorship marketing, there used to be digital marketing; it’s all marketing. And you have to put it all together in order to make an impact and in order to bring your brand to life.” While multiple channels and outlets bring various opportunities to relay a brand’s message, they also bring measurement challenges, in addition to the sheer effort, resources and manpower needed to execute a campaign, said Tony Weisman, president of Digitas’ Chicago-Boston-Detroit region. “In the digital world you can measure everything, but what should you measure?” he said. “There’s no commonly agreed upon language or set of metrics that we all know lead us to an outcome. That’s the biggest change over the previous decades, where in the television world, there was a relatively agreed upon set of investment, pressure [and] impressions for the business outcomes.”
BROADCAST YOURSELF: YouTube is one of the tools available to marketers, and the panelists talked about using the platform to activate a campaign, and also how few sports properties have utilized it effectively. The conundrum for sports is that there is a vast quantity of content uploaded by users, yet only a small percentage of that is consumed, said Frank Golding, director of pro, college, high school sports and channels for YouTube. “We have roughly 800 million uniques every month on YouTube,” Golding said. “A lot of the content that gets uploaded is sports related, but the quantity of content that gets consumed which is sports related is very low. I would say it’s less that 2 percent. So either we have found the only 800 million people who don’t like sports, or you guys are staring at a gold mine.” Weisman said brands need to solve the content challenges in-house, by setting up a reliable infrastructure, rather than relying on a partner. “We’re the only ones who can connect all the important pieces of data that matter: the media-based data, the story-level data, traffic data, the influencer data, and ultimately our own metrics,” he said. “Everyone has their own but very different sales cycles, very different relative value of influencers and very different audience design.”
** Weisman, on the biggest misperception of being seen as a content creator or publisher: “Whatever organization you are in -- whether you’re a brand, company, rights -- think like a newsroom. Track all these screens in real time and figure out what piece of content to push to a consumer at what time and in real time. As long as you can embrace the idea of real time, then I think these opportunities open up to you. People experience events -- when they’re live they are on their phone or when they’re watching on TV they’ve got their phone or their iPad. Recognize this duality and embrace it and think of yourself as this mission control in the position to push this content to the right channel at the right moment.”
**Woodward, on the value of the traditional hospitality vs. social activation: “It’s almost like a breath of fresh air to have a conversation with somebody and engage personally when we’re so used to our TV screens, our phone screens, our laptop screens, all the other screens. Suddenly a personal relationship is more valuable than it’s ever been.”
** Intersport Senior VP/Sponsorship & Event Marketing Dan Jones, on the development of social and digital activation in the next 12 months: “It’s all about trying to elongate the experience, elongate the conversation instead of a one-weekend experience or a three-month sponsorship. Those tools -- digital and social -- are fantastic for extending that experience and thus extending the campaign beyond just the day of game, or the season or the event.”
Cause marketing is still marketing, and even a charitable mission has to match the mission of the brand, said panelists in the final session of day one of the 2012 Intersport Activation Summit. “I need something that will help me drive our brand’s mission, return on investment and, more importantly, just selling policies,” said Allstate Senior Dir of Integrated Marketing Communications Pam Hollander. Amy Skeen, CEO of Chicago-based Girls in the Game, said that on the charity side, any partnership needs to be about alignment and seeing beyond the sports and fitness part of the brand. Larry Lane, vice president of corporate relations for The V Foundation, said the company looks for partners that meet three criteria: raising awareness of the brand, creating opportunities and driving revenue. The panelists discussed the importance of defining expectations early in relationships. Hollander said companies that approach Allstate about creating a partnership need to “know our brand, know what we stand for.” Hollander: “So often we get pitched about what we can do to take advantage of what they have to offer. I need someone to tell us what they can give me that can further my business.” First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow Jr. said it is imperative for companies to see the charity be run as a business for the investment to pay dividends. “Every year we reported exactly where we were (with reaching our goals),” he said. “The fact that we were out there and the fact that we were reporting and meeting and exceeding our objectives gave us credibility as a business.” He said organizations respect not-for-profits that are run like a business. Barrow: “That relationship will grow because they will invest deeper into the organizations that are performing and meeting the very specific objectives that you set.”
** Hollander said she looks for a charity that is “willing to go the extra mile and show me that measurement” that demonstrates a partnership was successful and worthy of renewal. Hollander: “So often we support an organization and they expect us to do our own measurement to kind of prove back to them why it worked for our branding. I want the organization to show me why they think the dollars I’ve spent with them move the needle.”