SBJ/Feb. 7-13, 2011/Media

Silver Chalice forms digital advertising network

Silver Chalice New Media has created a new digital advertising network called Season, marking a major expansion for the Chicago White Sox-owned business unit beyond its original focus in digital content and technology development and advisory work.

An acronym for Sports Entertainment Advertising, Sponsorship and Operations Network, Season aggregates digital content from destinations encompassing more than a dozen major sports, providing a consolidated option for brand marketers and agencies.

Within Season are Pro Football Weekly, with which Silver Chalice aligned last fall to create a series of digital properties including a real-time football news network; U.K.-based digital outfit the Perform Group, which syndicates online video highlight rights from sports properties around the world; and digital inventory from more than 20 NBA teams, among other entities. Silver Chalice is also seeking to create additional digital properties of its own that would be sold through Season.

The creation of a sales component to Silver Chalice was part of the company’s original plan. But upon forming in 2009, the company then did not have enough assets to make it work, and the advertising market at that point was mired in a deep, recession-fueled slump.

“We always knew we were going to need a strong sales team, a strong sales component to Silver Chalice,” said Brooks Boyer, Silver Chalice chief executive and White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer. “This is really the next big step in the development of the operation. We see a big need, and a big opportunity, putting digital assets and buyers together.”

Silver Chalice has hired six executives to lead sales for Season. Rich Routman, formerly of XOS Digital, Collegiate Images and the NFL, will serve as executive vice president and general manager. Joining him will be Greg Abraham, formerly of NBC Universal Sports; Marc Mallett, formerly with Vevo, a digital music joint venture involving Sony and Universal Music; Dan Scalia, also formerly with XOS Digital; Reva Friedel, formerly with adventure travel hub iExplore; and Stephen Clifford, formerly with CBSSports.com.

Ad applications within Season will include video pre-rolls, traditional display placements and other rich media executions.

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