SBJ/July 23-29, 2012/Research and Ratings

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  • Research segments fans by lifestyle, not sport

    Results of an expansive study scheduled to be unveiled this week aim to provide new tools for marketers to better evaluate sports fans’ emotional motivations, their purchasing and social media behavior, and their lifestyle habits both within and outside of sports.

    The research is the result of a yearlong effort by marketing and consulting agency Team Epic. The data segments sports fans into five distinct clusters based on characteristics such as avidity, engagement with sponsors, socioeconomic status and personal outlook on life. According to Team Epic officials, segmentation like this will allow marketers to be more strategic in their property selection by understanding how various fan bases react to sponsors and what type of activation programs are most likely to engage them.

    COUCH CURMUDGEONS: Oldest and least active. They prefer watching sports at home. They also are the least optimistic about the future, are the least open to sponsors and are not actively involved in sponsor programs.

    ALUMNI ASSOCIATION: Older male sports fans with high disposable income and heavily invested in college sports. Open to sponsorship and influenced by sponsor programs (although not as much as Super Jocks).

    SUPER JOCKS: Very young and male-dominated group with the second-highest average household income. Highly social and active, and the most likely to identify themselves as outdoor enthusiasts. They seek live events and are heavily into tailgating and fantasy sports. Very open to sponsorship and exceed all groups in their level of participation in sponsor programs.

    RECEPTIVE AND LIMITED: Mix of male and female sports fans. Second-oldest of any segment; below-average income. Much more likely to follow pro sports and like NASCAR. Highly receptive to sponsors (viewing them as important and exhibiting good will toward them) but given their lower levels of disposable income, they are more conscious about spending money.

    FITNESS EDGE: Most female of any group and very diverse. Younger and very physically active, with average income levels. More likely to follow pro sports and love the Olympics. Most active on social media. Have a positive view of sponsors but are selective about how they get involved in promotions, sponsor programs, etc.

    “One of the most interesting findings is that fans should no longer be looked at in silos — as an ‘NHL fan’ or an ‘MLB fan,’” said Team Epic principal Mike Reisman. “Segmentation based on avidity misses the point of today’s consumers’ lifestyle and mind-set. Instead, this study shows empirically that a brand ought to be looking across the lifestyle interests of a consumer. The majority of fans are looking for brands that deliver enrichment across sports, not just for an individual sport.”

    Finding the sport or sports with the highest concentration of fan clusters who are receptive to specific activations or campaigns should be a brand’s top priority, Reisman said.

    For example, fans in the segment labeled the Alumni Association are more accepting of integrated sponsorships (such as the FedEx Air and Ground NFL player awards, or the Kia NBA Performance Awards), are more likely than most fans to have children at home, and are more likely to have interacted at a live sponsor event. Marketers are more likely to find a higher concentration of these fans among college football and basketball, the PGA Tour and the NBA fan bases.

    Separately, two-thirds of the study’s Fitness Edge segment is female, the highest ratio of any of the five fan clusters. This group is the most active in social media, and Fitness Edge fans are more likely than most fans to respond to sponsor activation efforts that use mobile devices. Members also have a generally positive outlook on their future. Thirty-eight percent of action sports fans fit into this category, as do more than one-quarter of MMA and Olympic fans.

    The survey also identifies a Super Jocks category, comprising fans who are relatively young (average age: 33.5 years) and ethnically diverse (30 percent non-white) and with the most positive outlook on their lives: 59 percent of Super Jocks say they are “extremely” or “very happy,” which is 13 percentage points above the survey’s average. Eighty-nine percent of these fans said they have interacted with sponsors online by participating in a promotion of some sort, the highest rate of any group of fans.

    Interest in personal interaction, such as player meet-and-greets and behind-the-scenes tours, by this group of fans is one of the key findings of the study for CMOs, according to Jeff Eccleston, vice president and group director of Sponsorship Research International, Team Epic’s research arm.

    “We set out on this research study as many marketers were trying to better understand how the consumer behaves in the ‘new age’ of sports marketing,” Eccleston said. “We discovered a treasure trove of findings, but none more so than the importance of intimacy. The delivery of ‘never been done before’ intimate moments will more likely ensure the delivery of results.”

    Norwalk, Conn.-based Team Epic is a division of London-based Aegis Media and was created in 2010 with the merger of two existing Aegis entities: Velocity Sports & Entertainment and experiential marketing unit Vivid Marketing. Team Epic clients include AT&T, FedEx, IBM, Sports Illustrated, Procter & Gamble, and Samsung.

    The project here stands as the first agency research effort that aims to link pyschographics with fan behavior while also considering fans’ outlook on current events and personal issues, such as income and job stability. Octagon in 2005 launched its Passion Drivers study, a research program that factors psychographics such as “sense of belonging” and “nostalgia” to quantify the emotional connection that fans have with sports, music and entertainment. The Team Epic project adds societal considerations from the respondents, such as their thoughts on the economy and on their jobs.

    In the study, before any sports-related questions were posed, participants were asked to do a self-evaluation of their current personal outlook. These questions aimed to assess the 2,750 respondents on elements such as their “level of happiness” and “state of mind.” Participants also were asked to gauge how they would describe themselves now compared to recent years, considering words such as “anxious,” “hopeful,” “overwhelmed” and “relaxed.” The respondents further rated their level of concern about specific non-sports topics, such as their employment status, health care and fuel costs, and they were asked about their passions and hobbies beyond sports.

    It’s at that point that the survey segued into questions regarding the participants’ attitudes toward sports and the role sports plays in their lives personally as well as in society overall. Questions involving media use, technology and sponsorship considerations followed. Sample statements for assessment included “I have no problem with sponsorship on jerseys or the field of play,” and “I get most of my sports news through social media.”

    One brand-side marketer who represents a company that is not a Team Epic client, nor had he seen the results of the survey, said the more data, the better. Justin Reckamp, marketing analyst for State Farm’s national sponsorships, said understanding the mindset of consumers is key.

    “State Farm looks at psychographic information while planning activation,” he said. “Our goal is to enhance the fan experience, and you have to know what is important to them emotionally in order to create impactful activations. The ability to offer a unique and customized experience to a fan that [we] otherwise would be unable to secure has been impactful for State Farm.”

    Among other results of the survey:

    • The study’s Receptive and Limited group is the least diverse ethnically of the five groups (91 percent white), has the lowest average household income ($46,100 annually), and its group members are more likely to be fans of NASCAR than any other sport measured in the survey.

    • The Couch Curmudgeon group, the least physically active and oldest group (average age: 49.8 years), makes up 23 percent of all sports fans. These fans are more likely to be fans of the NFL than any other sport measured in the survey.

    • NCAA football has a high proportion of Super Jocks (highly engaged fans) and Alumni Association consumers (sports fanatics with high net worth).



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  • MLB Turnstile Tracker

    MLB (THROUGH JULY 17)

    Home team Dates Total Avg. % cap. Previous Change Dates (2011) Max. Min. 90%+ 50%-
    Arizona Diamondbacks 44 1,241,130 28,208 58.0% 24,167 +16.7% 45 49,130 17,366 2 12
    Atlanta Braves 46 1,378,227 29,961 60.6% 28,603 +4.8% 47 50,635 16,161 2 17
    Baltimore Orioles 44 1,190,571 27,058 58.9% 21,874 +23.7% 47 46,773 10,415 7 14
    Boston Red Sox 48 1,804,880 37,602 100.6% 37,574 +0.1% 45 38,334 36,770 48 0
    Chicago Cubs 43 1,609,365 37,427 91.3% 36,766 +1.8% 50 42,292 31,904 28 0
    Chicago White Sox 46 1,062,196 23,091 56.9% 24,377 -5.3% 46 38,676 11,267 1 13
    Cincinnati Reds 44 1,271,426 28,896 68.3% 27,286 +5.9% 47 42,956 16,859 8 12
    Cleveland Indians 45 866,535 19,256 44.3% 21,107 -8.8% 45 43,190 9,072 1 29
    Colorado Rockies 48 1,638,070 34,126 67.7% 35,412 -3.6% 48 49,282 21,547 3 3
    Detroit Tigers 44 1,619,133 36,798 89.2% 29,739 +23.7% 49 45,027 22,574 22 0
    Houston Astros 45 992,220 22,049 53.8% 26,531 -16.9% 50 43,464 14,195 2 24
    Kansas City Royals 42 987,599 23,514 62.0% 19,981 +17.7% 51 40,230 13,267 3 11
    Los Angeles Angels 43 1,600,084 37,211 81.0% 39,002 -4.6% 48 44,548 27,027 13 0
    Los Angeles Dodgers 48 1,979,434 41,238 73.6% 36,603 +12.7% 50 56,000 24,312 10 5
    Miami Marlins (a) 48 1,365,259 28,443 76.0% 17,101 +66.3% 50 36,601 22,242 4 0
    Milwaukee Brewers 48 1,674,472 34,885 83.3% 35,436 -1.6% 47 46,086 26,778 18 0
    Minnesota Twins 47 1,639,812 34,890 88.3% 39,208 -11.0% 43 39,414 30,776 21 0
    New York Mets 45 1,322,300 29,384 70.3% 30,682 -4.2% 43 42,516 20,061 7 4
    New York Yankees 46 1,961,766 42,647 84.8% 44,360 -3.9% 49 49,386 36,831 14 0
    Oakland Athletics (b) 45 939,606 20,880 58.9% 19,465 +7.3% 47 44,227 10,054 8 22
    Philadelphia Phillies 44 1,968,859 44,747 102.5% 45,482 -1.6% 49 45,829 43,729 44 0
    Pittsburgh Pirates 42 1,069,946 25,475 66.4% 23,578 +8.0% 45 39,585 10,323 11 10
    San Diego Padres 46 1,176,756 25,582 59.9% 25,571 0.0% 50 43,427 15,154 2 16
    San Francisco Giants 45 1,875,287 41,673 99.4% 41,736 -0.2% 44 42,664 41,082 45 0
    Seattle Mariners 44 980,581 22,286 46.6% 23,354 -4.6% 49 46,026 11,343 1 29
    St. Louis Cardinals 43 1,799,763 41,855 95.2% 37,697 +11.0% 46 46,882 35,562 35 0
    Tampa Bay Rays 48 997,640 20,784 61.0% 19,613 +6.0% 45 34,078 9,458 4 14
    Texas Rangers 45 1,962,357 43,608 90.5% 36,826 +18.4% 49 49,197 25,753 31 0
    Toronto Blue Jays 45 1,199,140 26,648 54.1% 23,295 +14.4% 45 48,473 15,289 2 20
    Washington Nationals 41 1,213,456 29,596 71.3% 23,392 +26.5% 44 42,331 14,520 9 7
    TOTALS 1,352 42,387,870 31,352 72.4% 29,872 +5.0% 1,413 56,000 9,072 406 262


    (a) The Marlins moved to Marlins Park from Sun Life Stadium following the 2011 season. (b) Includes two designated A’s home games vs. Seattle played in Tokyo in March.

    Leaders

    TOTAL
    Los Angeles Dodgers 1,979,434
    Philadelphia Phillies 1,968,859
    Texas Rangers 1,962,357
    AVERAGE PER GAME
    Philadelphia Phillies 44,747
    Texas Rangers 43,608
    New York Yankees 42,647
    PERCENT OF CAPACITY
    Philadelphia Phillies 102.5%
    Boston Red Sox 100.6%
    San Francisco Giants 99.4%
    GAIN FROM LAST SEASON
    Miami Marlins (a) +66.3%
    Washington Nationals +26.5%
    Baltimore Orioles +23.7%
    Detroit Tigers +23.7%
    LOSS FROM LAST SEASON
    Houston Astros -16.9%
    Minnesota Twins -11.0%
    Cleveland Indians -8.8%
    GAMES AT 90%+ CAP.
    Boston Red Sox 48
    San Francisco Giants 45
    Philadelphia Phillies 44
    GAMES AT 50%- CAP.
    Cleveland Indians 29
    Seattle Mariners 29
    Houston Astros 24


    % cap.: Total as a percentage of seats available at home games. Previous: Last season’s average on same date. Change: Difference between current average and last season’s average. Max.: Highest single-game count for current season. Min.: Lowest single-game count for current season. 90%+: Number of current-season games with total being at least 90 percent of available seats. 50%-: Number of current-season games with total being less than 50 percent of available seats. Notes: Teams can exceed 100% capacity because of standing-room-only ticket sales. Data based on totals posted immediately following games. It may not reflect any subsequent adjustments made by teams and leagues. Compiled by: Brandon McClung

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  • MLS Turnstile Tracker

    MLS (THROUGH JULY 17)

    Home team Dates Total Avg. % cap. Previous Change Dates (2011)
    Chicago Fire 10 155,433 15,543 77.7% 14,292 +8.8% 9
    Chivas USA 10 131,274 13,127 48.6% 14,735 -10.9% 11
    Colorado Rapids 10 151,839 15,184 84.0% 14,532 +4.5% 10
    Columbus Crew 8 116,576 14,572 72.3% 10,846 +34.4% 10
    D.C. United 10 141,315 14,132 71.9% 15,696 -10.0% 9
    FC Dallas 11 150,937 13,722 66.9% 13,241 +3.6% 12
    Houston Dynamo (a) 8 170,295 21,287 96.6% 16,902 +25.9% 11
    Los Angeles Galaxy 10 224,834 22,483 83.3% 22,641 -0.7% 10
    Montreal Impact (b) 10 253,572 25,357 64.7% NA NA NA
    New England Revolution 10 124,547 12,455 62.3% 12,149 +2.5% 10
    New York Red Bulls 8 139,540 17,443 69.8% 18,310 -4.7% 10
    Philadelphia Union 9 165,583 18,398 99.4% 18,177 +1.2% 9
    Portland Timbers 10 204,380 20,438 100.0% 18,627 +9.7% 10
    Real Salt Lake 11 204,642 18,604 92.1% 16,227 +14.6% 10
    San Jose Earthquakes (c) 9 142,812 15,868 98.3% 13,010 +22.0% 10
    Seattle Sounders FC 10 395,370 39,537 111.4% 37,189 +6.3% 11
    Sporting Kansas City 9 174,130 19,348 104.8% 18,107 +6.9% 5
    Toronto FC 9 172,105 19,123 88.1% 19,876 -3.8% 11
    Vancouver Whitecaps 9 172,111 19,123 91.1% 20,008 -4.4% 9
    TOTALS 181 3,391,295 18,736 82.4% 17,526 +6.9% 177


    NA: Not applicable; 2012 expansion team (a) Moved into new BBVA Compass Stadium this year; played in Robertson Stadium last year. (b) Played its first five games at Olympic Stadium this season before moving into its current venue, Saputo Stadium. (c) Includes designated Earthquakes home games vs. Houston in March at AT&T Park and vs. Los Angeles in June at Stanford Stadium.

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  • WNBA Turnstile Tracker

    WNBA (THROUGH JULY 19)

    Home team Dates Total Avg. % cap. Previous Change Dates (2011)
    Atlanta Dream 9 53,692 5,966 58.7% 6,353 -6.1% 9
    Chicago Sky 10 61,229 6,123 87.5% 5,980 +2.4% 9
    Connecticut Sun 10 70,161 7,016 73.7% 6,785 +3.4% 7
    Indiana Fever 9 64,577 7,175 74.4% 7,293 -1.6% 9
    Los Angeles Sparks 10 105,671 10,567 80.3% 10,488 +0.8% 6
    Minnesota Lynx 10 98,762 9,876 107.6% 8,610 +14.7% 7
    New York Liberty 9 65,066 7,230 39.1% 7,998 -9.6% 8
    Phoenix Mercury 8 65,124 8,141 79.8% 9,348 -12.9% 6
    San Antonio Silver Stars 8 72,278 9,035 91.8% 8,753 +3.2% 7
    Seattle Storm 7 57,677 8,240 85.1% 9,500 -13.3% 6
    Tulsa Shock 11 54,142 4,922 65.6% 4,902 +0.4% 7
    Washington Mystics 10 92,070 9,207 90.7% 9,846 -6.5% 5
    TOTALS 111 860,449 7,752 75.1% 7,782 -0.4% 86


    Notes: 2012 season began May 18; 2011 season started June 3. League is currently on break for the 2012 Olympics.

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