SBG: Leeds United Set For Financial Boost SBJ: Wasserman in talks to buy Athletes First SBJ: MacDougall runs IMG sale SBJ: A pay-for-play model SBD: Sources: Fox Keeps UEFA Champions League SBD: Winston News Bumps Ferrell Off "SportsCenter" SBJ: An alarm for college football SBD: Luukko Resigns From Comcast-Spectacor SBD: Executive Transactions SBD: Fox Sells Out Of Super Bowl XLVIII Inventory
October 2, 2013 09:43 PM
October 2, 2013 09:26 PM
Social, Cultural and Media Trends Changing Sports Marketing
Barry Blyn, ESPN
Anthony DiCosmo, Nickelodeon Networks
Heidi Sandreuter, Pepsi Beverages Co.
Adrian Williams, CSE
Mark Wright, AT&T
STAR POWER: When asked about athletes that are trending in sports, Heat F LeBron James was cited as someone who was able to evolve his image from a marketing standpoint. Williams said, “With LeBron, what we’re seeing with Sprite is he’s not only remade his image, but he’s also expanded it into lifestyle. Now you’re able to see what his self-expression is really about. Whether it’s the clothes he’s wearing, his style, to the way that he’s interacting with his kids, to getting married. You’re seeing that evolution of a star athlete, and that’s really appealing to the young audience.” DiCosmo added, “You connect with him beyond being an athlete. You connect to that other side, and that’s what makes him interesting.”
*Blyn on sports that are trending up: “We’re trying to serve a lot of niches and grow sports like cricket and soccer, but at the same time the core sports are the core stars of sports. An interesting and dynamic challenge for marketers is, Do I want to be on every platform but possibly not have an impact, or do you want to focus on the big sports for the big bang?”
*AT&T VP/Media Services & Sponsorship Mark Wright on a change in sports that would alter marketing strategy in a disruptive fashion: “The international competition of what we call mainstream sport in America. If that were to take place – if the NFL, for example, were to have three teams playing in Europe – then you would have to be cognizant of that and market to it. It’s not out of the question.”
*DiCosmo on an untapped market: “Teen and tween girls are let down in that there really isn’t a destination for them to see sports that they’re interested in or participate in. … So what we’ve seen as a tremendous opportunity with a number of our partners is how can you fill some of that void? How do you enhance these experiences for a teen girl?”
October 2, 2013 07:36 PM
October 2, 2013 07:20 PM
Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark sat for a quick-hitting, one-on-one interview at the ’13 Sports Marketing Symposium, where he touched on a range of topics including the impact of the Nets’ move to Brooklyn, what he has learned from Twitter, and whether advertising belongs on NBA jerseys.
When did you know the Brooklyn rebrand was going to be a success? “Our merchandise during the first three days of our launch was over $5M gross. That compares to what we did our last year in New Jersey, which was practically nothing.”
On the thought process behind the team’s black-and-white theme: “It was an evolution. Obviously we worked with Jay-Z on it and he was pretty much the author of the black and white. We work very closely with Adidas. We wanted a color palate that was global and something that would resonate with our borough. One of the things we did in our launch period was we didn’t really launch as a performance brand, we launched as a lifestyle brand. Not knowing what kind of team we were going to have in Brooklyn, it was important we gave people many reasons to like us.”
What’s changing at the Barclays Center in Year 2? “From a building perspective I think it’s a period of refinement versus change. We want to build on some of the things that truly defined us – our programming mix … our local taste platform, which is our food and beverage …. Lastly, we want to continue to differentiate customer service.”
On whether there’s more pressure to win this year: “Last year at this time they were asking, ‘Will we make the playoffs?’ and now they’re asking, ‘Can we win a championship?’ I like that kind of pressure. It raises the bar for our fans. We’re part of the conversation, which is truly an indicator that we’re relevant, and we weren’t relevant a couple years ago.”
On season-ticket sales: “This year we’re at about 13,000 right now. I’m not sure how much more we’re going to go. We’ve got to have product for the borough, for that individual buyer, for that group buyer. Our building capacity is 17,700, and rolling up to that number with a base of 13,000 is pretty easy at this point in time.”
What are your new corporate deals? “We’re going to announce shortly an expansion deal in the financial services category that we’ve been working on for a couple years, and we’ll also announce a great airline deal. But what we’re very proud of is really breaking into new fields. So last week we announced a CBS radio deal. As I’ve often told people, we’re in a content business now. How can we modify that and truly take it national? [With] our Brooklyn Hoops franchise, which is our college basketball platform, we had 34 games last year, many of which we controlled. We’re going to partner with FS1. We will be the first arena to truly launch a national college basketball platform that originates in-arena, and they will promote our brand no different than any other major brand that they work with, or major property.”
On whether he pays attention to competition within the market: “I don’t. We compete against ourselves. We think Brooklyn is a uniquely positioned market. We think of our program as an example. College basketball has an incredible history in Brooklyn … Boxing is another example to be a programming mix for us. We’re doing some special things there, too. When we think about programming, we think about what makes sense for Brooklyn. We don’t really think about the other guys in town. This market is big enough for us all to be successful.”
What Twitter has taught him: “For me, it’s a lot about fact finding. For example, there was a big debate: Should we change the Islanders when we move to Brooklyn? And I went to Twitter and fans responded. And I became a little sensitized to their position. Initially, it was all about, let’s turn them black and white and truly embrace the borough. Because the main thing about Brooklyn is, if you’re all in, so are they. And I thought that would be the case with the Islanders, but I’ve changed my position a little based on the feedback we received on Twitter.”
What was your best deal? “I think by far it was the Barclays Center. It truly enabled us to move to Brooklyn and in many respects it’s defined me and our organization.”
On marketing to the hockey fan: “I think the Islanders present a challenge in that we need to appeal to the hardcore fan, which is obviously coming from the suburban areas of Long Island, and that needs to sync up to that new fan in Brooklyn. And it presents some marketing challenges, but I think in the end we’ll be able to track both demographics and consume both segments. But it’s a little different, that’s for sure.
Will fans follow the Islanders to Brooklyn? “We’re tracking that right now. Every new season ticket holder has to check the box, ‘Do you intend to go to Brooklyn?’ and right now 70% of the new buyers say they want to go and this isn’t just a two-year buy. Our goal is to maintain 50% of that base and bring it to Brooklyn and then grow what we have in Brooklyn.”
On putting nicknames on NBA player jerseys: “I think it’s terrific. I’m a big a supporter of it. I think it’s a new way to connect with fans. Nicknames today are really how we reference many of the players, so seeing that come to life on the court and then leveraging it at retail I think is just another opportunity to get people to engaged with the brand.”
What about ads on NBA jerseys? “I’m for it. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to truly align a team with a brand.”
Can you sell on-court, apron advertising? “We’d like to. But we have rate card integrity and we’re looking for a big number, north of seven figures. Our goal is to sell it to an international or global brand.”
What did you learn working for the France family? “How to manage up and how to conduct yourself in a family run business. As big as NASCAR is … it’s still a family owned and run business. They expect you to understand that balance and I think it taught me a lot.”
How do you manage up better? “What my guys want me to do is keep them informed, and to some degree maybe I over-communicate, but it’s really selectively using it and tapping in to what matters most.”
What can you do better as a CEO? “Probably not micromanage so much. Let people fail and learn and the next time they’ll do it better.”
What will be the biggest difference when Adam Silver takes over for David Stern? “Adam is a little bit more warm and fuzzy than David is, and he returns my calls a little quicker. That being said, both of them are visionary, both of them have done a terrific job and I think each have their own unique management style.e
Will there be any tangible differences in the NBA when Silver steps in? “I don’t think so. The foundation for the league has been set. We know where we want to go from a global perspective to a domestic perspective, and I think Adam builds on all those platforms and reaches new heights. And there might be different approaches that he takes to get there than David, but I think we’re on a great path right now for growth and success in the long term. I’m not sure that anything needs to be reinvented. Maybe it needs to be redefined, and I think under his leadership we’ll see that.”
On the next big event: “We’re going for the next Mayweather fight. We want the Super Bowl of boxing to be brought to Brooklyn, so that’s what we’re working on right now.”
How will you activate around Super Bowl XLVIII? “We are going to kick off a campaign in the next couple of months, ‘Kickoff In Brooklyn,’ that we’ll draft behind the Super Bowl here in the marketplace. Thursday night we’ll do a huge boxing event, Friday night we’ve got the Nets and Oklahoma City, and on Saturday night we have a big concert.”
What sports business stories are you watching? “I’m interested to see what [Tim] Leiweke does up in Toronto. I’m interested to see if football ever gets to L.A., and I’m also interested to see about new venues in Golden State and Sacramento.”
October 2, 2013 04:28 PM
T-Mobile's large-scale sponsorship of MLB and MLB Advanced Media has played an instrumental role in the company's improved earnings, subscribership and brand recognition this year, said Mike Belcher, company vice president of media and sponsorships.
Making a featured presentation at the CSE Sports Marketing Symposium, Belcher said T-Mobile's brand was badly battered at the end of last year, following a failed merger with AT&T and stiff competition in the wireless market. But beginning with a high-profile presentation in early January at the International Consumer Electronics Show, one that included the announcement of the baseball partnership, T-Mobile has found new energy around its brand strategy to be the "Uncarrier."
"This has been a complete turnaround," Belcher said. "We gained over a million customers in [our fiscal second quarter, ended June 30]. Baseball gave us that high profile to shout from the rooftops."
In addition to the top-level subscriber gains, T-Mobile used its sponsorship of the MLB All-Star FanFest to tout its Jump program, which allows consumers to upgrade mobile devices without a contract. Within days, Verizon and AT&T rolled out similar programs. T-Mobile is now planning to make another major announcement during the MLB League Division Series, for which T-Mobile has a presenting sponsorship.
T-Mobile has also supplemented its league-level partnership of baseball with team-level deals with the Rays, Twins, Nationals, Pirates, Dodgers and Mariners, and player deals with Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers OF Matt Kemp, Nationals OF Bryce Harper and Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen.
"We needed to drive a radical reappraisal of the brand, and baseball has helped us do that," Belcher said.
The complex deal, estimated to be worth about $125 million over three years, gave baseball its first league-level telecommunications deal in 15 years.
Among other quick hits:
* Efforts to use T-Mobile technology to improve wireless connectivity for fans remain a work in progress. "We're still testing,” he said, “but it's something we want to get right. We hope to be more out of the gate next year."
* T-Mobile measured more than 58 million brand impressions on social-media during the All-Star break. Seventy-four percent of FanFest attendees could recall the brand.
* "We don't have a lot of sponsorships, but we go deep on the ones that we have."
October 2, 2013 03:31 PM
In a rapid-fire, one-on-one discussion on Wednesday at the 2013 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium, NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus did not shy away from any topic. Among on the highlights:
The Sochi Olympics, in a far-away time zone: "What we did in London made advertisers comfortable that an alternate time zone Olympics still works in the United States." Lazarus added that the programming from Sochi will be live whenever appropriate and on tape when it best serves the needs of the viewer.
Is Sochi ready for the Olympics? "It's going to be a race against the clock, but they will get done. There is some pretty important infrastructure to be done."
Will legendary NBC executive Dick Ebersol be at the Olympics? "Dick Ebersol will not be in Sochi. We talk on the phone a lot. He is still a friend to the network and the Olympics games. I will be in the (International Broadcast Center) and in our control room throughout."
Will NBC Sports report on events surrounding Russia's anti-gay laws during the Olympics? "If there is a demonstration, if an athlete speaks out, we will cover it from a sports perspective. NBC News will also be there to cover it."
On the ratings success of the English Premier League: "We're pleasantly surprised. It has out-delivered our expectations. "
On Michelle Beadle 's public, negative reaction to the cancellation of "The Crossover": "She's an important part of what we do. That show wasn't, for us, what we wanted it to be. (The decision to cancel) was simply about the show and not about Michelle."
On not being able to renew a rights deal with the USGA: "We were disappointed. We were very forward and aggressive in our approach. We would rather have it than not have it. But like everything, life goes on. We believe that we are still an important voice in golf."
His reaction to the USGA saying it partnered with Fox because Fox was innovative: "For the USGA to disparage us for the sake of a press release, I was offended by it."
On the sports business rights story that he's watching closely: "What's going to happen with the NBA."
October 2, 2013 03:08 PM
October 2, 2013 02:52 PM
Trends in Sponsorship Activation and Fan Engagement
Blaise D'Sylva, Anheuser-Busch
Daryl Evans, AT&T
Adam Zimmerman, CSE
Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, and panelists were asked about the challenges that brands face in trying to break through the clutter of a marketplace like N.Y., and if that might deter their companies from activating around the event. D’Sylva said, “We’ll have significant activation around the Super Bowl both in the market as well as on television. We think it’s a tremendous opportunity and there’s going to be a lot of energy and excitement around an outdoor Super Bowl.” CSE President of Marketing Adam Zimmerman echoed the uniqueness of the event and said, “In a lot of ways it’s a throwback. We’re playing outside in the Northeast and I think that’s going to be fantastic with all that that’s going to bring.”
Asked about the NFL’s recent content deal with Twitter, Zimmerman said it proves “the power” of the social network. D’Sylva added, “It’s only going to grow. As we all talk about second screen experience, it really seems that Twitter is definitely the one out in front. … The more things that Twitter can continue to do and associate with, whether it’s the league or with the media partners, is only going to benefit them because it’s going to continue to drive people to Twitter, so I think it’s a smart move.”
Zimmerman on the second-screen experience: “There’s a realization that TV plus social is better. People are engaged, whether it’s sporting events or how Twitter and other media exploded around ‘Breaking Bad.’ It is a part of how people are engaging with content. Everyone should be exploring what that second screen experience is, and that becomes an opportunity to be ownable for a brand, to own that second screen.”
D’Sylva on consumer-created content: “Everything we do these days in marketing is really social at the core. … We’re constantly looking for … how do we involve the consumer in the creation of whatever we’re doing? … The millennial consumer today wants to be a part of it. They want to help create it.”
Zimmerman: “(Social media) helps us get closer to the holy grail of sponsorship, which is, what if I knew what my target, what my fan really wanted to do? … Well now social conversations, and us being able to listen and infiltrate those conversations, tells me exactly what that fan would like to do. … Knowing what we know, we can lift that insight and be so much more impactful with our activation and be real time because actual fans are telling us what they want to do as opposed to us supposing what they want to do.”
October 2, 2013 02:45 PM
CBSSN’s Tony Luftman, on the government shutdown affecting the armed forces games: “It’s so upsetting and it would be tone deaf just to focus on sports, and say that this is unconscionable when there are so many other issues that are being impacted by this shutdown, but I do empathize having been a team manager” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 10/1).
FLIP THE SCRIPT: ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of the Chargers-Raiders game on Sunday being re-scheduled for 11:30pm ET kickoff because of an A's playoff game, “Why can’t you just flip the game to San Diego? They've got to play twice” ("PTI," ESPN, 10/1).
FINGER POINTING: PFT's Mike Florio said of Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan: “He can't be on the hot seat because he can't be fired because he owns the team. But at some point you've got to look at Shahid Khan and say, 'What has this guy done for the Jacksonville Jaguars?' They are 2-18 since he purchased the team. He's had two head coaches, he's had two GMs and they just can't do anything right” (PFT," NBCSN, 10/1).
HELP WANTED: SNY's Adam Schein said of the Knicks, "This team is a mess. They fired (former GM) Glen Grunwald who was the only thing that was working" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 10/1).
AGELESS WONDER: Talk show host Larry King, on being named guest host of ESPN2's "Olbermann": "(ESPN Exec Editor) John Walsh said to me, 'Larry, we need a favor. We're having a problem with Keith Olbermann.' I said, 'You fired him again?'" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 10/1).
SUPPORT GROUP: Former EPL club Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said, “The misconception about the Glazers buying the club and it created a sort of hostility with different factions of Manchester United supporters because a single member was owning the club, they forget the minute it became a PLC someone was going to buy it. … They've been very good … (and) very low-key" ("Charlie Rose," PBS, 10/1).
October 2, 2013 02:21 PM
Coca-Cola’s Wendy Clark opened the ’13 Sports Marketing Symposium by telling attendees that if their marketing ideas can’t be turned into hashtags, that means they are probably too complicated. Clark, Coke’s Senior VP/Global Sparkling Brand Center, used her featured address to highlight the company’s marketing campaign around the ’14 FIFA World Cup, including “5 Learnings” of sponsorship activation. Naturally, each one was turned into a hashtag. The first point: #AuthenticityRules, which Clark related to the creation of Coke’s “The World’s Cup” campaign. She said, “If football is everyone’s game, and Brazil is everyone’s country and football’s home, and Coca-Cola is the most ubiquitous brand in the world – everyone’s drink – then shouldn’t the Cup in fact be everyone’s Cup? And isn’t it, in fact, ‘The World’s Cup,’ not the World Cup?” The next two lessons were #BeShareworthy and EmbraceYour #NewSalesForce. Clark said it is not about the initial audience you reach, but about giving that initial audience “the currency of the conversation to share and pass along.” Clark then played Coca-Cola’s anthem for the World Cup, featuring Brazil-born singer David Correy and titled “The World Is Ours,” which she said racked up half a million views on YouTube in a matter of days. Clark said that Coke has the largest brand fan page on Facebook, and noted that, for fans, becoming a part of a community is optional, and that, once they join, your fans want to carry your message.FASTER IS BETTER: Given how quickly information is shared today, Clark said that #SpeedTrumpsPerfection, but that “you have to be contextually relevant. It doesn’t matter how good your content is if it misses the context.” She cited the company’s “Trophy Tour,” which is using a Twitter handle to share experiences from the Cup’s trek across 89 countries. The last of the “5 Learnings”: #BeAmbitious. Clark played another promotional video and said, “We are ambitious for the growth and success of our company and we make no apologies for that, but at the same time we are ambitious to create a goodness and an impact with the work that we do as a company.”