SBJ/Feb. 17-23, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

FanConnect producer redoes IMG College deal

A Charlotte company that produces on-screen graphics for video largely in college stadiums and arenas has renegotiated its deal with IMG College.

The company, 10 Foot Wave, has a digital platform called FanConnect, which enhances the in-stadium video feed that typically goes to TVs in premium areas, concession stands, restrooms or anywhere else a team might place a screen in its venue, including video boards.

FanConnect puts stats and sponsor info on in-stadium video feeds.
FanConnect provides the graphics on the screen and uses scores, stats, trivia, social-media feeds and other live-game content on screens throughout a venue. Embedded in the content is space for advertising.

The original plan called for 10 Foot Wave and IMG College to share the ad inventory, but that was not working, both sides said. So they restructured their deal to enable IMG College to sell all of the advertising, with 10 Foot Wave receiving a fee.

10 Foot Wave has worked with IMG College for the last four years to place the product in college stadiums and FanConnect is used in 25 college facilities through the relationship with IMG College. It just recently added the football venues at Florida State, Michigan and UCLA.

The company also works with Louisville and Michigan State and is in talks for a similar arrangement with Learfield Sports and its 92 schools.

“It fills a void in some venues where you aren’t able to have exposure to every fan,” said Rick Barakat, vice president of sales strategy and operations for IMG College. “This enables advertisers to have a portal into club areas and suites, where they can find the more affluent customers.”

Outside of IMG College’s network of 79 schools, 10 Foot Wave just signed its first professional sports deal with the Charlotte Bobcats for Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Bobcats are running FanConnect on the arena’s 250-plus televisions, and it provides exposure for sponsors such as Mercedes-Benz in the premium areas while updating game statistics in real time, said Pete Guelli, the team’s executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer.

The technology is generating incremental revenue in the mid-six figures and the Bobcats expect to expand the system next season as the team rebrands itself as the Hornets, Guelli said.

Staff writer Don Muret contributed to this report.

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