SBJ/March 28-April 3, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

New Marketing Arm index rates properties

Seeking to establish a standard in an industry begging for metrics, The Marketing Arm is launching an index that measures 1,000 sports leagues, teams, venues and events against nine specific attributes. The system can cross-index those elements across a wide variety of demographic and geographic data, allowing for head-to-head property comparisons.

TMA’s Sponsorship Property Index will be delivered this week to the first of eight brand marketers that bought the tool, which the agency says will provide some of the first quantifiable data beyond CPMs and TV ratings for executives looking to match their brands with sports property intangibles.

NEWSCOM
The index will help marketers match brands with sports property intangibles.
“The question we are asked more than any other is, ‘What property or properties are the best fit for my brand,’” said Dan Belmont, TMA’s chief marketing officer and president of consulting and activation. “Sometimes it is a strategic fit, sometimes it is geographic or demographic. We just wanted a better way to answer that question.”

The computer-based Sponsorship Property Index has been previewed to some of the larger sports spenders since January. It will be formally introduced at this week’s World Congress of Sports in Miami.

The brand marketers who buy sports sponsorships are the first sales target for TMA, but Belmont also sees potential sales among sports properties themselves. “What we can measure is what kind of team you are, so if you rank higher among young males like USC, the Celtics and the Red Wings do, something like Twitter should be a much more meaningful way to reach your fans,” Belmont said. The index is bundled with TMA consulting and ranges from $35,000 to $50,000 a year.

While other measurement tools have been in the market in the past, TMA points to the level of depth and number of elements measured as a key differentiator. To help establish criteria for evaluating properties, TMA asked 300 sponsorship professionals to rate various attributes in a potential sponsorship property. Then it used those findings in surveying a representative sample of thousands of U.S. and Canadian citizens to rate properties against nine attributes: avidity, awareness, appeal, breakthrough, endorsement, excitement, influence, trendsetter and trust. Combining scores from avidity, appeal and excitement, TMA formulated a passion index. It also makes comparing properties a simpler exercise. Combining Sponsorship Property Index data with Simmons Market Research provides an even more granular level of research.

Some of the results are intriguing. For example, rating the top North American sports events against the widest audience, the Super Bowl is a clear winner with a score of 68.74, more than 30 points higher than the median. However, who would guess that the World Series is second or that the Rose Bowl is third, ahead of the Final Four or MLB All-Star Game. And the NFL Pro Bowl ranks fifth, ahead of the Stanley Cup, the NBA Finals and the Masters. Accounting for that discrepancy is that while some of these properties may not score as high an awareness rating, those that are familiar give them high scores in avidity, appeal and excitement. The higher the passion score, the more powerful the property will be in delivering a marketing message.

Belmont noted that the initial index shows that, in many cases, historic venues are more meaningful to fans than teams, indicating that iconic sports venues could be a more powerful complement for an ad campaign than current athletes.

Sponsorship Property Index
Top 10 North American Sporting Events
PROPERTY
SPI
PASSION
SCORE
 
Super Bowl
68.74
68.10
World Series
64.74
61.90
Rose Bowl
62.28
60.02
NCAA Final Four
61.32
63.14
Pro Bowl
60.72
60.82
MLB All-Star Game
60.36
61.95
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
59.64
58.71
Stanley Cup Final
58.56
60.11
NBA Finals
58.36
61.75
NBA All-Star Game
58.32
58.23
Source: The Marketing Arm
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