SBJ/Feb. 7-13, 2011/Research and Ratings

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  • Rich Luker reunites with Sports Poll

    Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

    Consumer trends researcher Rich Luker has acquired the marketing and operating rights for the ESPN Sports Poll, reuniting him with the research brand he founded in 1994.

    London-based research company TNS had operated the poll and the related Kids Poll and ESPN Deportes Sports Poll since 1997. That company has undergone a series of restructurings since being acquired 18 months ago by marketing giant WPP Group, and it notified Sports Poll clients in December that its relationship with ESPN would end at the end of 2010.

    The service surveys 2,000 sports fans monthly, gathering information related to fan interests, activities and preferences. Leagues, sponsors, agencies and advertisers subscribe to the data to create customized marketing plans.

    Luker’s deal gives him exclusive business rights to operate and market the poll on behalf of ESPN in what he called a revenue-sharing partnership. Philadelphia-based Social Science Research Solutions will now do the data collection work previously done by TNS.

    TNS will continue to provide custom research to new and existing sports clients.

    ESPN’s role in the process does not change: It owns the information collected after Jan. 1, 2011, but is not involved in the collection, dissemination or selling of the data.

    Luker said whereas the previous poll was based on a national sample of sports fans surveyed via landlines, he plans to integrate surveys done with cell phone users. Also planned is the integration of data mined from Luker on Trends, a monthly service that surveys 1,000 Americans on sports and nonsports issues such as emerging technology, economics and aging fan bases.

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