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  • John Cena on WWE's evolution

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    John Cena said he's proud to have the WWE involved in the fight against breast cancer.
    Photo by: Marc Bryan-Brown
    WWE star John Cena made an appearance at the conference to talk about the evolution of the company and his efforts in the fight against breast cancer.

    Of the WWE’s early years, Cena said: “If you ask me about our product in 2000, it was a college frat party. It really was. And it was geared toward that coveted 18-35-year-old demographic. Nowadays, 40% of our audience is women. And a lot of the 100 million dollars of retail is kids. I’m a star of a kids show. I’m really proud to say that.”

    Cena came dressed in his standard uniform, which makes a statement in a fight against breast cancer. He stuck around for a networking reception and had his photo taken with dozens of Sports Marketing Symposium attendees.

    Tags: Audi
  • Sports Fans Speak Out

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    What are sports fans looking for these days?

    Affordable tickets, exclusive access and, when they watch a game on TV, a little Twitter to keep them company.

    Sports Fans Speak Out

    Howard Handler, MLS
    Andrew Judelson, WWE
    Alex Michael, LivingSocial
    Mike Stevens, New York Giants
    Roger VanDerSnick, IMG College

    A group of the hardcore, passionate fans sat on a panel to end Day 1 of the Sports Marketing Symposium to talk about what they love and hate about sports with a group of league and team executives. Among the fans’ observations:

    -- The No. 1 drawback to attending games is ticket prices. 

    -- They don’t won’t sponsors on athlete jerseys, but could live with it it that drove down prices.

    -- They would love to meet athletes, but agreed that the experience just isn’t as authentic if you have to pay for it. 

    -- They generally have at least three screens up at any given time while watching from home. 

    -- Twitter is their No. 1 method for getting sports information, and they often use it at work and while attending live games. 

    -- None of the panelists had ever bought food from their phone, but they said they would if it was an option and they knew how.

    Quick hits:

    Roger VanDerSnick, on fan experience in the venue: “In the college space, it’s taking access and really understanding how valuable and emotional that on-field experience is before the game. That type of access you really can’t put a price on. “

    Mike Stevens, on fan engagement ideas for the N.Y. Giants: “I think you always have to get that from the fans. We’re not always going to be the originator of an idea. And a lot of times it comes from the marketplace. But really it has to do with whether you can execute it.”

    Tags: Twitter, MLS, New York Giants, IMG
  • What sports can do for brands

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    The way in that sports properties measure brand engagement took center stage during a Wednesday afternoon panel titled, “What Sports Can Do For Brands.”


    Here are selected quotes from the session:


    What Sports Can Do for Brands

    Valerie Camillo, NBA
    Kurt Hunzeker, Rawlings Sporting Goods
    A.J. Maestas, Navigate Research
    Julie Propper, ESPN
    Alicia Rankin, NFL
    John Turner, Sponsorship Intelligence
    Kristin Warfield, Churchill Downs/Kentucky Derby

    On how properties are measuring social media analytics:

    “There is not an existing social currency we currently use, and we’re not abl to see all of the social data out there,” said ESPN’s Julie Propper. “We’re looking to see how positive and negative Tweets can cause and effect perception in social media. Nobody has come through with a breakthrough way of measuring that data.”


    On how measurements and metrics have changed the way properties advertise:

    “The Boston Celtics have reconfigured their courtside signage to capture more impressions,” said NBA exec Valerie Camillo. “They did strong analytics to show how a game is shot, they moved away from traditional alignment of a big scorer’s table along the center court, because much of the game takes place in the back court, so you see a portion or none of that table. What if we shorten that center table and take two 10-foot tables and put it in the corners? The media impressions were upped significantly.”


    On the value of sports sponsorship on the agency side:

    “There is a huge difference,”  said John Turner of Sponsorship Intelligence. “Five seconds in an NFL game is worth way more than a NASCAR race. We’re constantly trying to get in a clear environment with our clients so they can stand out so they’re not just logo soup up there.:


    On how to use fan feedback to measure engagement:

    “Our fan surveys are steady, we know that a 20-minute survey doesn’t work anymore,” said the NFL’s Alicia Rankin. “We don’t offer incentives for our fans to take surveys. You have to be smart in your methodology. You have to make it brief.”

    Tags: NBA, ESPN, NFL, Media, Boston Celtics, NASCAR
  • How athletes are fighting for endorsement dollars

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    Brands are becoming more judicious in the way that they choose who to endorse, according to panelists in a discussion about athlete endorsements. The fallout from the Tiger Woods scandal, for example, has caused sponsors to think longer and harder about who they sign and about the language they include in their their contracts.

    Athlete Endorsements as a
    Strategic Marketing Platform

    Rob Candelino, Unilever
    Cullen Jones, Olympic swimmer
    Matt Mirchin, Under Armour
    Evan Morgenstein, Premier Management Group
    Jim Tanner, Williams & Connolly
    Alan Zucker, IMG Talent Marketing Group

    Celebrities and musicians have started to encroach further into the sponsorship realm, as well, adding to the competition for endorsements. “Ten years ago, the celebrities who were getting the big bucks before were saying, ‘Hey, these athletes are encroaching on my space,’” said Unilever’s Rob Candelino. “[Now] these guys are starting to treat themselves like brands. It’s gone full circle.”

    U.S Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones said that he thinks of himself as a brand and believes that is what has to happen for athletes to be recognized. When even relatively unknown reality TV stars are competing for deals, agents and brands are focusing more on an organic, authentic match-up and becoming better storytellers.

    Quick hits:

    Jim Tanner, on what drives marketing: “One of the things we always tell new clients is don’t start with branding. Start with performance. That drives 90 percent of marketing.”

    Matt Mirchin, on figuring out what reaches your customers: “As a brand you want to associate yourself with something that resonates with your consumer. From our perspective, Under Armour is all about making athletes better. So it’s nice when entertainers or celebrities wear our product. But we’re going to go right to that sweet spot with the athletes because that’s who resonates with us.”

    Candelino, on Unilever's athletes representing Dove Men: “Every one of them has told a story or a sentimental moment that has shaped them as men. We think that has been a winning formula because it resonates with our brand. If we started trying to be a sports brand, then we’ve lost the plot. I think far too often nowadays, brands, particularly ones that don’t have both feet firmly entrenched in sports, subcontract their responsibility of brand equity to the athlete. If you do that, you’re done.”

    Allan Zucker, on athlete overexposure: “People talk about overexposure all the time. Whether it’s Tiger Woods or Peyton Manning or Danica Patrick, [they say] 'I see them everywhere.’ Yea, they are everywhere, but people keep calling. So obviously they must be doing something right with their brands or people wouldn’t want to work with them anymore.”

    Jones, on using Twitter: “Granted, I might have thoughts that I might want to instantly put out there, [but] It’s not smart to do that. I consider myself a brand.”

    Tags: Unilever, Under Armour, IMG
  • Writers' Recap: A podcast on hot topics from Day 1

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    It's not exactly "Podcast in a Pub," which was one of the most popular parts of our recent London Olympics blog, but there was a reception going on and drinks were being served when Executive Editor Abraham Madkour sat down with reporters Terry Lefton and Tripp Mickle to talk about highlights of the first day of the 2012 IMG Sports Marketing Symposium.

    Among the topics being discussed:

    Was keynote speaker Tor Myhren on the mark with his talk about marketing to the 'We' generation?

    How surprising was it that Twitter outpolled Facebook as the place that fans turn to first for news about their teams?

    And how do athletes compete for endorsements with reality show starts and others who are cheaper and more willing to satisfy marketers' demands?

    Tags: Olympics, ING, IMG, GE, Twitter, Facebook
  • Marketing from the C-Suite: Tami Erwin

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    In our second session on “Marketing from the C-Suite,” Verizon Wireless VP and CMO Tami Erwin sat with SportsBusiness Journal reporter Eric Fisher to talk about new products, measuring ROI and the company’s deal with the NFL. Verizon is the largest single buyer in sports advertising, with approximately $345 million spent in 2011. “Every day I get questions from our COO asking, Is this the right way to spend money?” Erwin said. “We can take the analytics out of aggregated, anonymous information to answer that question: Who am I reaching through those sponsorships?”

    Quick hits:

    On streaming NFL content over the network:

    “What we’ve got with the NFL Red Zone is exclusive content, and our customers are valuing that on our network. I don’t know if I can directly say that content has affected [Verizon’s] girth.”

    On whether exclusive mobile rights will make Verizon a broadcaster:

    “I don’t know if we’re going to be considered a broadcaster, but we understand the importance of delivering content to customers, whether it’s at home or on a tablet or on the phone.” 


    On which devices she uses every day:

    “I swap devices every week. I always have three to four at any time, I have a Samsung S3, an HTC device, which is my wallet, an Apple tablet. I also have a Blackberry at the bottom of my briefcase.”


    On how foreign mobile users are ahead of American consumers:

    “From a mobile banking standpoint, the Europeans and Asians are ahead of us. We lead in terms of speed and feeds with 4G LTE.”

    Tags: Verizon, NFL
  • Marketing from the C-Suite: Beth Hirschhorn

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    Beth Hirschhorn with interviewer Terry Lefton.
    Photo by: Marc Bryan-Brown
    In the first of several sessions of our “Marketing from the C-Suite” series, MetLife’s Beth Hirschhorn talked with Editor-at-Large Terry Lefton about what’s exciting, innovative and challenging about today’s marketing landscape.

    Here are selected quotes from the session:

    On the paternalistic and scare messages that take up lots of ad space: “You can’t scare people into buying something. The way we are addressing the clutter is positioning our brand as more empowering than the other guys. So our entire global brand platform is about enabling people to take action.”

    On the Metlife stadium naming-rights deal: “Think about the market as a funnel. You’ve got awareness at the top and a whole host of things, whether it be purchase consideration or preference, eventually getting down to more engagement and one-to-one relationships and sales. The thing about this property that is different than all others is it works on all of those levels.”

    On fan engagement outside of the stadium: “We’re trying to bring the experience on the field off the field. Democratizing the fan experience through giving people access to things they’ve never had access to before. So if you want to know what it feels like to kick a field goal, meet us this Sunday.”

    Hirschorn: "Don't try to hit all home runs. Small things can make a difference.".
    Photo by: Enter Name Here
    On attending the Super Bowl in Indianapolis: “We built this 14-foot ice sculpture in the middle of Indianapolis with the skyline of New York, although we enhanced it a little bit because we put the stadium in the skyline, as well. We wanted to make our home team feel at home, so we brought their hometown to them. We were also celebrating and promoting our first Super Bowl spot ever.”

    On their foundation donating $50,000 to charities of the MetLife Bowl: “We really always try to build in and incorporate the social responsibility component. You will definitely see that from us with this Super Bowl. I don’t know what it will look like, but we will be doing something good for somebody … lots of somebodies.”

    In retrospect…: “Don’t try to hit all home runs. You don’t know what’s going to work and what’s not going to work. So when you get out of the gate, you’d be surprised at what small things can make a difference.”

    On the next frontier for the NFL and finding success regionally: “It’s a big world out there, and we would give anything for better expansion outside of the U.S. You go outside of the U.S. … and they just don’t care. It’s a totally different animal, and it is of no interest.”

    On social media strategy: “We’ve seen promotions where companies are out there buying fans, and I don’t really think that’s the answer. One of the things that you should know is that our most used or most popular use by consumers of social media with us is from a service sampling. People want their problems solved.”

  • Marketing to the 'We' generation

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    Tor Myhren opened the conference with a talk about marketing to millenials.
    Photo by: Marc Bryan-Brown
    Tor Myhren says that millenials, the generation that marketers most want to reach, are all about “we”, and not about “I.” During the opening panel for the 10th annual IMG Sports Marketing Symposium, Myhren, president and chief creative officer at Grey New York, said that could mean eventual changes to everything from government (perhaps a Congress whose members of different parties would actually work together?) to a rebuilding of the middle class, but in the meantime should determine how brands, leagues and companies approach the young but influential group. That could be as simple as promoting groups of average, more relatable, athletes rather than just a few superstars. “These people in the middle have incredibly passionate fan followings,” he said. “And with that incredible magnifier, which is the Internet, these fans become Paul Reveres, and they’re shouting it as loud as they can.”

    Quick Hits:

    On sports still capturing live TV audiences, especially the Super Bowl: “I call it America’s last campfire, because it’s the only day where we all get together and sit around one place and we all experience that story together. It never happens other than that.”

    On the importance of creativity: “I hope nobody in this room has ever uttered this phrase, because I work at an ad agency, and I hear it all the time. ‘I am not creative.’ Think about how I started this talk. 1,500 of the top CEOs in America value creativity as the No. 1 leadership competency for the future. So don’t ever say this if you ever want a job.”


    Tags: IMG, NFL, UPS, Audi, Super Bowl
  • Morning Networking at Sports Marketing Symposium

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    Registration opened at 9 a.m. today for the 2012 IMG Sports Marketing Symposium, and attendees filled the halls in short order.

    Here are a few scenes from the pre-event networking:

    Tags: IMG
  • 2012 Sports Marketing Symposium opens in New York

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    The 2012 IMG Sports Marketing Symposium is underway at the Crowne Plaza, Times Square in New York.

    To take a look at the agenda for the two-day event, go here.

    To download the agenda for your desktop or mobile calendar, go here.

    Tags: IMG
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