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  • Trends in Fan Engagement

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    Best practices in social media engagement took center stage during Thursday afternoon’s final panel. The panel agreed that the early days of “quantity” in social media messaging have been replaced by “quality,” as brands look for deeper engagement in a cluttered environment. 


    Trends in Fan Engagement

    Chris Hannan, Fox Sports Media Group
    Scott Hershkowitz, Facebook
    Steve Moffat, Gatorade
    Kimber Myers, GetGlue
    Steve Raymond, USA Today Sports Media Group
    Jennifer van Dijk, Wasserman Media Group

    “We tell our partners, if you’re not posting engaging content, they are not going to get any distribution,” Hershkowitz said. “You’re not trying to reach your followers, you’re trying to reach their friends.”


    Hannan said the benefits of social media for television companies is that they can generate interest even if they do not hold broadcast rights to an event. He said the London Olympics helped generate its best month ever, even though the company did not own broadcast rights for the Games. 


    Hannan said the primary hurdle that social media in sports faces is data networks at venues. Fans at live games want to engage, but the networks are holding them back. “Having an upgraded platform with towers would be very valuable,” he said. 

    Van Dijk pointed at the United States Olympic Committee as an example of an organization that has used social media successfully during the Olympics. The USOC has rights to its athletes all year, except for the three-week span during the Games. 


    “Leading up to the Olympics, they knew who they were, the raised their profile and created 350 to 500 videos that took fans behind the scenes,” she said. “Social and digital rights can give you a presence unlike you were able to have before, even if you weren’t a rights holder.”


    Raymond said ROI in its traditional form, such as sales and revenue, is an overused and inaccurate term for measuring social media engagement. “You have to look at social media as a channel in which you can engage your fans,” he said. “I don’t have to be perfect in it. I think there is enough information to just be effective in it.”


    The group also hit on a number of social media tools as “hype” or “hope.” Van Dijk pointed at “augmented reality,” such as using special goggles to gain information about the people and places around you, as something that she had thought was a hype until a recent experience made her more hopeful. Hannan referenced Brad Keselowski tweeting during stoppage at the Daytona 500 as a “hope” that social media was becoming more accepted by sports. Ramond said social media, in general, was “a little over-hyped” in today’s sports marketing world. 

    Tags: Media, Olympics, Fox
  • In the Spotlight: XFINITY and the Ultimate Sports Social Media Job

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    To establish a presence in the sports social media space, Comcast launched a contest to become the voice of XFINITY in sports social media. Comcast Dir of Digital and Sports Marketing Strategy Matt Lederer explained that they wanted to reach consumers on social media in a subtle way, without shoving the product in their face. He said that everything they execute through the social media strategy goes back to three objectives: to change perceptions, drive product sales and keep a consistent message platform. The winner of the contest, Austin Schindel, then shared what it was like to make the plan a reality and boost their Twitter account to more than 8,000 followers, while also seeing his efforts indirectly cause an upshift in sales. 

    Lederer, on the company’s key objectives: “I’m a big believer that anything we do in sports marketing must tie back to our objectives. There’s just too much fun and cool stuff that we can do in sports marketing that would allow us to go off the track and deviate from what we want to accomplish.”

    Lederer, on the beginning stages of launching a social media strategy: “We have tons of messages out there, tons of tactics. In the area of sports, I had a fear that we would start crafting different messages because of the subjectivity of sports. We always want to have a consistent message platform. Social media scared me in that way. “

    Lederer, on branding the NFL Red Zone: “I remember watching that first Sunday it was on, and my only thought was, ‘Please don’t suck.’ And if you have it, you know it doesn’t. But the name NFL Red Zone does it a disservice. It’s so much more than plays that occur in the red zone. But how are we going to get that message out there? Where to do it? Social media. The next day Facebook and Twitter blew up. “

    Lederer, on recognizing the need for social media: “Yes, our competitors and peers are active in social media, but none specifically and dedicated to sports. So we felt there was a competitive void that we could fill.”

    Austin Schindel, on considering himself an ambassador: “While I’m a person, I have to represent a brand. And believe it or not my opinion doesn’t matter and nobody wants to hear my opinion. Because as a brand I have to make sure I’m talking about our services, while at the same time still seeming like a real person.”

    Schindel, on the sports social media story he will be following in the next year: “There’s millions of people on Twitter, but not all athletes are on Twitter. Tom Brady is not on Twitter. Peyton Manning is not on Twitter. But guys in high school are now on Twitter, guys who are the No. 1 recruits … which creates incredible problems for universities. They’re trying to create brands for themselves, as one-and-done players, yet they can’t because they don’t want to get in trouble.”

    Tags: Media, Twitter, UPS
  • How Danica drives business for Nationwide

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    Here's the video that Danica Patrick recorded for Sports Marketing Symposium attendees touting the campaign that features her and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    In an afternoon “In the Spotlight” segment, Jennifer Hanley of Nationwide Insurance and Adam Albrecht of Engauge discussed Nationwide’s integrated marketing campaign for its NASCAR sponsorship, which revolved around drivers Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. 


    The campaign, which was launched last year, featured TV commercials starring commercials starring Patrick and Earnhardt, with accompanying codes distributed through direct mail, online, at the track and through social media. The codes directed users to micro websites where fans could learn more about the two drivers and watch behind-the-scenes videos from NASCAR. 


    “The results of awareness of Nationwide went through the roof,” Albrecht said. “For anybody who saw eight or more of our ad units, 50 percent of people visited the website.”


    Hanley said that in 2011 the group distributed 500 different codes and saw 3.2 million users enter the website, where they spent an average of 40 minutes. In 2012, they upped it to 700 codes, 2.7 million users and 58 minutes. 


    In one of the commercials that began airing in July, Earnhardt briefly flashes Patrick’s supposed cell phone number onto the screen. Fans who called the number reached a recording of Patrick promoting Nationwide, and asking for examples of how she could have her revenge on Earnhardt for the supposed prank. Hanley said the number received 54,000 calls and 18,000 voice messages. 


    The group then filmed Patrick calling back a select number of stunned people and put the video onto the website. In the phone conversations, fans expressed their shock and disbelief that the NASCAR star was actually calling them. 


    “People loved the engagement,” Albrecht said. 


    The discussion ended with a video of Patrick addressing the SBJ conference attendees, talking about the success of the campaign.

    Tags: NHL
  • Writers' Recap: A podcast on hot topics from Day 2

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    With the end of the 10th annual Sports Marketing Symposium came the realization that some things never change. As Editor-at-Large Terry Lefton says in our final podcast of the event, we talked about return on investment at the first Sports Marketing Symposium, and we'll still be talking about it at the 20th.

    One thing that is different, though, is the extraordinary focus on social media, and, in particular, figuring out what to do with it. Lefton talked with Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and reporter Chris Botta about the major themes that came out of the conference, including:

    Marketers now take it for granted that they have to move in all directions at once. TV alone is not enough.

    There are still major disagreements about the direction, and even the usefulness, of social media.

    When it comes to ROI, there are even fewer clear answers in social media than in most other areas, and just about everyone seems to want something different.

    Tags: ING, GE, Media
  • How does second screen use affect sports marketing?

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    The use of second screens to enhance sports viewing is becoming prevalent, at least if the audience at an afternoon session on the topic is any indication. The results of a polling question during a session of the Social Media and Sports Series showed that 63% use a second screen always or usually when they watch sports on TV. 

    Sports Marketing and the
    Second Screen

    Evan Krauss, Shazam
    Carol Kruse, ESPN
    Jacqueline Parkes, MLB
    Bryan Rasch, GMR Marketing
    Steve Semelsberger, Demand Media
    Shiv Singh, PepsiCo Beverages

    “We really see the second and third screen as a tremendous complement to the first screen in driving people’s attention and engagement,” said Major League Baseball CMO Jacqueline Parkes.

    The second screen provides opportunities all over the spectrum, panelists said. Fans can hear expert opinions from industry professionals and beat writers, or they can funnel the conversation down to their core group of friends. Shazam VP of Advertising Evan Krauss said, “One of the things we’ve been learning is Twitter is a great place, but I don’t really want to debate last night’s game with 27 million people. One of the best opportunities that we’re starting to see develop is, ‘I want to talk to the 10 friends I have.’”

    Twitter is being used by brands to try to determine how much time fans are spending in being engaged with sports. It can show an immediate and direct correlation to what fans believe was the climax of a sporting event, and thereby an opportune time for brands to market themselves and engage consumers, panelists said, and can help brands directly communicate with consumers. However, oftentimes the social space can be so cluttered that brands can begin to correlate things that actually have no relationship. “Now we have so much data that we could look at our bellybutton all day long going, ‘Did it change anything?’” said GMR Marketing’s Bryan Rasch.

    Quick hits:

    Carol Kruse, on the upkeep needed to run a social media strategy: ”Social is like a puppy. Everyone wants a Facebook or Twitter page. Puppies are so cute. And then nine months later you still have to feed it and take care of it. Then all of a sudden that work of having a pet gets a little onerous.”

    Steve Semelsberger, on tweets being picked up by media: “One thing that is really cool about having tools that are used by … publishers and bloggers is that we see there’s an opportunity for analysis and commentary, there’s opportunity for info and data and a sense of communication and community around these events.”

    Shiv Singh, on what fans expect: “What we learned, which is certainly an eye-opener, is that our online users are starting to expect and demand the second screen experience to be the premium experience for them.”

    Rasch, on sifting through the clutter: “Twitter is a microstream of curation happening from peoples’ points of view. The challenge with that is it’s really hard to digest and understand trends. The more that we can integrate what’s going on in conversations and what trends are happening, then our talent can start talking about what fuels more social conversation. If a brand can piece that together then they will be able to navigate through that sea of single opinions.”

    Tags: Audi, Media, ESPN, MLB, PepsiCo, Baseball, Opinion, Twitter
  • Marketing payoffs and challenges in a cross-platform world

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    Reaching sports fans on a wide range of platforms has never been easier, but creating an authentic and lasting impression is still a challenge for marketers, said panelists during the final panel of the 2012 Sports Marketing Symposium. Brands and leagues that employ smart and targeted messages that are native to each platform will do the best, they said, but speed is also important. “You can tell stories as they are evolving,” Waller said. 


    Sports Media and Sponsorship
    in a Cross-Platform World

    David Abrutyn, IMG Consulting
    Todd Fischer, State Farm
    Ken Fuchs, Yahoo
    Tom McGovern, Optimum Sports
    Mark Waller, NFL
    Mark Wright, AT&T

    IMG’s David Abrutyn pointed at the London Olympics as proof. “Historically, in the Olympics, the top sponsors have always done well, but the big story this year was [that] the local sponsors were activating on platforms like Yahoo, Facebook or Twitter,” he said, referring in particular to British Airways’ sponsorship of team Great Britain. “They made a lot more noise than they historically had because they were able to tap into these platforms.”


    Mark Wright of AT&T talked about the challenge of creating well-crafted targeted marketing by referencing his company’s promotion of Olympic champion Rebecca Soni after she won the 200-meter breaststroke event. AT&T was not a LOCOG sponsor, but had USOC rights. 


    “Actually being able to air that right after on NBC took an immense amount of coordination — getting approval from USOC legal [and the network],” he said. “It did great things for the brand.”

    Fisher talked about State Farm’s “Discount Double Check” platform with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, and said the decision to extend the advertisement came due to immediate fan feedback, which used to take more time to measure. “You now have instantaneous feedback with customers,” he said. “Public perception was clamoring for more – more brand messaging, more understanding of what Discount Double-Check was.”

    Tags: Target, IMG, Olympics, Facebook, Twitter, Champion, USOC, NBC
  • Hot Topic: NHL labor

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    Andrew Judelson spent nine years working as a senior executive at the NHL and led the league’s marketing division throughout the 2004-5 lockout. Now an executive vice president at WWE, Judelson spoke with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Tripp Mickle about how the current NHL lockout is different from the one he worked through seven years ago. 

    Among the topics:

    -- What has made the current NHL negotiations difficult

    -- The repercussions of canceling games

    -- The effect on league sponsors’ marketing plans for the 2012-13 season

    Tags: NHL
  • Marketing from the C-Suite: Nationwide's Matt Jauchius

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    Matt Jauchius (right) talks with reporter Tripp Mickle.
    Photo by: Roxxe Ireland
    In our final “Marketing from the C-Suite” session, Nationwide Insurance Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Matt Jauchius sat with SBJ/SBD reporter Tripp Mickle to talk about his company's recent switch to an ad campaigns with the theme, "Join the nation." Jauchius said that while the company’s recent campaigns were creative, edgy and even ran in the Super Bowl, they didn’t resonate enough that consumers were reliably able to connect the commercials with the company. The new campaign, he said, is taking a more authentic approach (more on that below), and is getting a 99% positive rating in the social media space.

    Quick hits:

    On placing the new ads in the Olympics: “We were always thinking about a couple of large sports assets to launch the new campaign. With the summer Olympics, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. We knew it was going to be a good asset, but to have 219 million people watch and be one of the most-watched events ever, it exceeded our expectations.”

    On who sports fits into the budget pie: “We spent about a quarter of our total buy, which is multi hundreds of millions of dollars, on sports marketing. And it’s increased over the past few years, so we see that continuing.”

    On multi-platform budget spend: “When people talk about sports marketing, they throw around terms like ‘interactive’ and ‘integrated.’ We do a ‘go-big-or-stay-home’ strategy, which is where you go into something with surround sound.”

    On keeping a cohesive message through different avenues: “We have models that tell us that if I put all of my money into any one thing, it’s not as good as when I get into multiple methods. And sports play a valuable role in that by complementing the other assets because of the billions of people that are passionate about it and consuming it.”

    On the reasoning behind the new campaign: “Turns out half of the people out there don’t want a yuck and a quote. They say, ‘Look, insurance is kind of serious.’ At that time you don’t want talking animals and funny spokespeople. That’s the whole notion behind the new campaign.”

    On what is expected from properties: “A property needs to understand my business. I do this because it’s fun, but I’m trying to sell insurance, which sounds funny, but if you don’t understand how insurance works then it’s hard to do business together. And a sports partner that just uses me as a source of writing a rights fees check that doesn’t go very far with me. You need to have a relationship.”

    On the marketing budget: “It’s growing. We will grow double digit more next year. The CMO and CEO relationship in any company I’ve been with is, the CMO says, ‘Give me more money I can sell more stuff.’ And the CEO says, ‘What do I get for that spend? You’re spending too much, you marketing guys.’ So we actually invest a lot of talent in analytics. There’s a very strong correlation between sports marketing and selling insurance.”

    Tags: Nationwide Insurance, Super Bowl, Media, Olympics
  • Marketing from the C-Suite: Jockey's Dustin Cohn

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    Dustin Cohn (right) talks with Executive Editor Abraham Madkour as part of the "Marketing from the C-Suite" series.
    Photo by: Roxxe Ireland
    In our Thursday morning session on “Marketing from the C-Suite,” Jockey International CMO Dustin Cohn spoke with SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Executive Editor Abe Madkour about the brand’s promotion of Jets backup QB Tim Tebow. Cohn said Jockey's initial deal with Tebow was a “pretty big bet” because Tebow had yet to be signed by the Denver Broncos and was not even guaranteed to get a roster spot in the league. “We didn’t even know at that time if he was going to get drafted,” Cohn said. “The fun thing is, he was a guy who transcends sports.”


    Quick hits: 


    On Tebow’s marketability once he started winning with Denver:

    “We took advantage of the moment. We put out a challenge where consumers could sign up, [and] we were going to give away $1 million worth of Jockey product if Tim won the Super Bowl. It was a couple hundred-thousand dollar spend for us and we got several million dollars worth of media out of it.”


    On Jockey’s promotion of Tebow after he was traded to the New York Jets:

    “We put up a billboard in April outside the Lincoln Tunnel from New Jersey into New York City. It went up the same day as the announcement, and it was about a $100,000 spend, and we were part of the conversation. Two reporters asked Tim, What do you think of the Jockey billboard?

    On ESPN, four analysts were talking about it for 10 minutes. Was it Tebow’s idea? Was it Jockey’s idea? Was it the fans lobbying for him to start? For a very small amount of money we made a huge splash.”


    On fears that Tebow may be becoming overexposed (an audience poll revealed that 60 percent believed that was the case):

    “He is a guy who transcends sports. He is a role model regardless of what happens on the field. So off the field, we’re still going to want to associate with him. If we can break through with our message, then we are accomplishing our communication goals.”


    On what New York City has done for Tebow:

    “We think New York is the best place for him. It’s a huge media market, and it has garnered additional attention that we wouldn’t have gotten somewhere else.”

    Tags: Denver Broncos, Super Bowl, Media, New York Jets
  • Strategies for global sponsorships and events

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    Marketing to a global audience through sports sponsorships involves a three-tier strategy, said SAP exec Chris Burton: the league, the tournament and the individual. Most important to this strategy is keeping a consistent message across all three tiers and all markets around the world, he added during the first session of Day 2 of the 2012 IMG Sports Sponsorship Symposium. 

    Global Sports Sponsorships

    Chris Burton, SAP
    Peter Farnsworth, Foxrock Partners
    Michael Robichaud, MasterCard Worldwide

    Brands’ global strategies, although unified, should be empowered at the local level, panelists said, so that marketers at every level are motivated to push the brand. For companies interested in expanding globally, soccer remains in the lead as the No. 1 sport with upside and marketability, but basketball follows closely behind. Said Foxrock Partners' Peter Farnsworth: "The NBA has a tremendous amount of upside, and a large part of that is because of their operational structure as a single entity and how they build their business internationally." He added that soccer teams in Europe can suffer as each team markets itself individually, which increases the difference between the "haves" and the "have nots."

    Quick hits:

    Chris Burton, on managing global sponsorships: “Ours is all centralized. We have a global strategy where we can make some smaller regional investments. Clearly, we do loads of local research. But we have a centralized strategy. I guess it was about 10 years ago that there were some donkeys in Argentina that had our logo on the back of them. Argentina did it, so we were like, ‘OK, we have a centralized strategy now.’”

    Michael Robichaud, on Visa’s global campaigns using the Olympics and World Cup: “From a sponsorship point of view, it’s a bit of a challenge because they do have the big ones, but the way we look at it is there is not a whole lot of flexibility in their portfolio because they’ve made these huge investments. We know where they’re going to be for the next eight-plus years, so we can kind of plan around it.“

    Peter Farnsworth, on B2B sponsorships: “B2B marketing is a completely different set of objectives. I think there’s a huge opportunity for that. A lot of companies miss out on that opportunity. Deloitte was a sponsor of the Olympics, but what were they really doing? You have to make sure to tell your story.”

    Peter Farnsworth, on local verse centralized approaches: “I think a local buy-in is critical. When I was at the NBA, we always made sure the local decision-makers were vested in it. Because if they’re not vested in it then they’re not going to activate it locally. And you don’t want to be in a situation where corporate is forcing something down people’s throats. If you don’t have that local buy-in then it’s not going to be a lasting relationship.”

    Tags: Audi, Ping, IMG, Fox, MasterCard, Soccer, UPS, Basketball, NBA, Europe, Manchester United
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