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SBJ/20081117/This Week's News
Rays’ Web site racks up exposure
Published November 17, 2008
The brand receiving the most exposure during the recently completed World Series broadcast wasn’t an MLB sponsor, nor was it a Fox advertiser; it was the Tampa Bay Rays’ Web site, Raysbaseball.com, according to a brand-exposure study from Repucom.
Founded in Australia in 2004, Repucom is an international sponsorship measurement agency that uses image-recognition technology to assign a cash value to a brand’s broadcast exposure based on the location, size, duration and number of impressions that brand’s logo receives during a game.
The agency’s exposure study of the World Series on Fox had Raysbaseball.com as the most seen brand on screen, with 2,815 seconds, which also earned it the top exposure value at more than $8.54 million, based on ad rates for the same amount of time. MLB sponsors Chevy and Taco Bell — two of the biggest World Series spenders — finished second and third in exposure value.
Phillies.com and MLB’s own World Series logo, which appeared on outfield, fascia, dugout and signage painted on the field, were sixth and seventh, respectively. Including the Raysbaseball.com top score, that means that three of the top seven most visible logos during Fox’s telecasts were MLB brands. Combined, Raysbaseball.com. Phillies.com and the World Series logo received more than $13 million in exposure value during the World Series — far exceeding any paying sponsor/advertiser.
Traditionally, outfield wall signage has been the crown jewels among MLB team inventory — and has been priced accordingly. However, some brands with only dugout and behind-the-plate signage achieved appreciable visibility during Fox’s broadcasts.
Such placement put Gatorade and New Era in the top seven in total exposure and exposure value even though each had negligible presence outside the dugouts. Gatorade ranked second overall in brand exposure, measured by time, and was fourth in dollar value, even though its “signage” was limited to branded cups, coolers and towels. Raysbaseball.com and Phillies.com had dugout and behind-the-plate signage, making outfield wall signs seem less valuable than they appear from the seats.
The exposure helped drive traffic at Raysbaseball.com, which saw a 78 percent increase in traffic and 132 percent increase in the number of page views during the postseason versus the month of September.
“The biggest mistake marketing executives make in buying sports signage is walking around a venue and seeing how it looks to fans, whereas the real value brands are buying is TV exposure,” said Repucom founder and President Paul Smith. “We’re working with some teams to re-price signage inventory, and that’s the kind of thing they have to keep in mind.”
Repucom’s analysis of behind-the-plate signage during Fox broadcasts has Taco Bell first and Chevy second in terms of duration and value received. Two films also got prime exposure, with “Four Christmases” placing fifth and “Yes Man” eighth. The Fox TV show “House” was ninth. The Boys and Girls’ Clubs, MLB’s official charity, got enough exposure behind the plate to rank it 13th — ahead of three MLB sponsors: MasterCard (13), Holiday Inn (19) and Bank of America (20).
Since setting up shop in the U.S. a year and a half ago, Repucom has built a roster of clients that includes more than 14 NBA teams, the NFL, NASCAR, Geico, Gatorade and Pepsi. And its data already is impacting how teams and clients value their signage.
The NBA and Boston Celtics reviewed Repucom data before deciding to move a portion of their rotational signage to the end sidelines last year. It’s a move the team believes will boost TV impressions of sponsors as much as 250 percent.
Brands also have used the agency to make decisions about signage and improve exposure to negotiate sponsorship fees.