• SMS 2014: NFL exec: Domestic violence issues have 'no measurable impact' on sponsorships

    Anderson: “We’ve gone partner to partner, speaking with them to understand their needs and concerns.”

    NFL executive Renie Anderson said today that there has been “no measurable impact” on the league’s sponsorships in the wake of recent domestic violence issues.

    Speaking during a panel on sponsorship marketing and dynamic deals this morning at the 2014 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium in New York, Anderson, the league’s senior vice president of sponsorship and partnership marketing, said that all of the league’s partners “are with us.” Anderson: “We’ve gone partner to partner, speaking with them to understand their needs and concerns.”

    Sharon Byers, senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing partnerships at Coca-Cola North America and who also spoke on the panel, said that changes have to be made in the way that sports addresses such issues, and that all partners should work towards the same goal. “Sports are a happy experience, so when terrible things like this happen, we all have to come together and work to find a solution, whether you’re a sponsor, owner or a league,” Byers said. “Sponsors can be part of the solution.”

    Quick takes from the panel:

    Sponsorship Marketing and Dynamic Deals

    Renie Anderson, NFL
    Sharon Byers, Coca-Cola N.A.
    Steve Pamon, JPMorgan Chase
    Ron Skotarczak, Madison Square Garden
    Adam Zimmerman, CSE

    On the sponsorship model:
    Ron Skotarczak, executive vice president, marketing partnerships, for Madison Square Garden Co.: “The model hasn’t changed dramatically. What has changed is the amount of tools at your disposal, making categories that were undefined now defined, and those that were very defined less so.”

    Steve Pamon, head of sports and entertainment marketing, retail financial services for JPMorgan Chase: “The best sponsorship partners know when a partnership is not working and make changes before they’re asked.”

    On the state of deals and contracts:
    Adam Zimmerman, president, CSE: ‘We would be remiss if we didn’t rework how we were doing deals compared to the past 20 years. Brands are demanding higher levels of sophistication.”

    Pamon: “You’re seeing 25-year naming rights deals for buildings that are being destroyed in 20 years. That makes no sense.”

    Byers: “At the U.S. Open, we noticed a player loved the Coke brand. We gave him a special bottle, and he tweeted about it once he got home. That’s something that was not in our contract, but is a new way that makes sense.”

    On being partners, and not just sponsors:
    Skotarczak: “It’s telling that when I came to MSG that my title says partnerships over just sponsorships.”

    Pamon: “These relationships are beginning before the agreement, and have the ability to adapt and evolve beyond just the contract.”

    Anderson: “The best deals are the ones that make our game better in a very authentic way. We were using Polaroid pictures last season. Now our coaches have access to Microsoft Surface tablets. Anyone can slap a logo on something, but we’re not looking to put something on the sideline simply for exposure.”

    Tags: NFL, Coca-Cola
  • SMS 2014: Koonin suggests team could have new controlling owner by end of year

    Koonin says team plans big outreach to African-Americans and millennials.

    Atlanta Hawks CEO and co-owner Steve Koonin said today that he is hopeful a new owner of the team will be identified by the end of the year.

    Koonin’s comment, given while speaking this morning at the 2014 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium in New York, was the first hint of a timeline given by the team since managing partner Bruce Levenson announced last month that he would sell his majority stake in the club because of a series of emails that he had sent to other team officials. Those emails warned that a heavy African-American presence at Hawks home games would scare away white customers.

    Koonin, by contrast, said the team’s biggest opportunities to attract new fans are among African-Americans and millennials. “Atlanta is the NBA’s number five TV market, but not everybody is a Hawk fan,” he said. “The African-American audience is through the roof with avidity for the NBA, but we have not converted them to Hawks fans.” One concrete step the team is taking, he said, is to hire the league' s first chief diversity and inclusion officer.

    Other comments from Koonin:

    On game production: “We are going to do something very different. We are going to make it all about entertainment, all about enjoying the NBA experience.”
    On ways to repair the damage done by Levenson’s emails: “We are going to build bridges through basketball. We are going to be involved in the community. We are going to use digital experiences unlike other teams.”
    On TV money: “The TV money has changed everything about sports, from the delivery of tickets to the season-ticket holders to the marketing opportunities to the way venues will be built in the future, [which] will be much more intimate, much more smaller, much more focused on production of the event.”

  • 2014 SMS: Faces in the Crowd

    Here are some of the people we spotted during the breakfast networking on Day 1 of the 2014 Sports Marketing Symposium.

    Tags: CES, ING
  • San Diego Chargers may fight over L.A.

    The San Diego Chargers may try to block the entry of an NFL team into Los Angeles, contending a relocated franchise there would significantly threaten the team’s business.

    With two other teams, the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams, free to move after this season and eyeing Los Angeles amid long-standing NFL efforts to find a stadium site there, the Chargers are now speaking up publicly for the first time. Any action by the team would further complicate an already contentious issue for the league.

    “Over the last 20 years, there hasn’t been a team in the L.A. market. We have reached out into that market and 25 to 30 percent of our business comes from the L.A. [and] Orange County areas,” said Dean Spanos, the Chargers’ owner. “Putting a team in there right now, or two teams, would have a huge impact on our business going forward. So we are trying to protect our business in San Diego. … It would really be harmful to us.”

    This marks the first time that the Chargers have revealed the amount of business they generate from the Los Angeles market, which sits 120 miles north of San Diego, though Orange County is about 40 miles closer.

    It’s also the first time that Spanos has been so vocal publicly about opposition to another team relocating there. It’s something he said he’s shared with his colleagues and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    “I have talked to owners about it, they understand. I know the commissioner does,” he added. “[I]f you put another team in there to help that team and you hurt another team, what does that do? Right. If you put two teams in there, what will that do?”

    Eric Grubman, the NFL executive vice president in charge of Los Angeles, declined to comment on Spanos’ remarks.

    Spanos could be speaking up now to send a message to the Raiders and Rams that they’ll encounter opposition, or perhaps to persuade the owners, if they assess a relocation fee, to share a disproportionate amount with the Chargers.

    Spanos stressed that he remains committed to finding a stadium solution in San Diego.

    The Chargers’ stance adds yet another layer of intrigue to the NFL’s two-decade-long quest to return to Los Angeles. The league is exploring several sites, including one downtown controlled by AEG, and has considered land near Dodgers Stadium and the Hollywood Park racetrack, among others.

    The NFL’s official policy is that Los Angeles is an “NFL market,” meaning the clubs cannot unilaterally cut a deal to relocate there. The policy suggests that, despite the Chargers’ claim that they derive almost one-third of their business from Los Angeles, it is not the team’s market.

    Owners received an update on the league’s Los Angeles efforts, with Houston Texans owner Bob McNair saying last week they are “far from a resolution.” A league source seconded that opinion, saying nothing is imminent.

    When the Raiders in the 1980s won an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL for blocking the team’s move to Los Angeles from Oakland, the ruling hinged on an NFL team already residing in the market. Left unanswered is legally whose market is it if there is no team there.

    Talk has swirled in league circles, however, that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is already telling people he will move the team after its lease expires at the end of this season. Kroenke, questioned about the St. Louis stadium process, referred questions to his spokesman, who did not immediately respond for comment. Kroenke recently acquired 60 acres near Hollywood Park, stoking the rumors.

    “There is a lot of speculation out there,” Spanos said, “I am waiting to see what happens.”

    If the Chargers are pressing the case with owners that the situation is dire, it may not have gotten entirely through.

    Jeff Lurie, the Philadelphia Eagles’ owner, said he had not heard the concern Spanos expressed.

    Mark Fabiani, the political consultant who has been working with the Chargers since 2002 on the stadium effort in San Diego, nevertheless, like Spanos, is worried about facts changing quickly on the ground in Los Angeles.

    “While the Chargers have been searching the last 12 years for a stadium solution here in San Diego, there have been a great many articles about the supposedly imminent return of the NFL to Los Angeles,” he said. “What’s changed now is that, for the first time in the Chargers’ 12-year search, there are at least two other NFL teams that could be seeking to apply for relocation.”

    Tags: On the Ground
  • Podcast: Assessing this week's NFL meetings

    In the latest NFL "Behind The Headlines" podcast, NFL writer Daniel Kaplan and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour assess this week's NFL meetings, what surprised them coming out of New York and how the Pegulas fared as they were approved as the new owners of the Buffalo Bills.

    Among the comments:

    "Looking at these meetings two weeks ago, one expected a circus. It's in New York, the whole Ray Rice scandal, the media capital of the world descending on lower Manhattan … and it really wasn't that way."

    "Roger Goodell seemed fully in control of the press conference this time, as opposed to two weeks ago when it really got away from him."

    "The Pegulas, they'll probably have a honeymoon period in Buffalo. They're seen as the saviors. They're going to keep the team there. But I was struck by how they did not formally address the media. Terry Pegula read a prepared statement, did not take questions. I thought at least he would say something about the stadium situation. … I hope he will become more of a public face for the Buffalo Bills than this suggests."

    Tags: NFL, SBJSBD Podcast
  • TV Timeout: Universal Appeal

    ESPN N.Y.’s Dan Graziano said of the NFL Owners meetings, "The role of the commissioner is a prominent topic (but) … the support of the commissioner seems universal" ("NFL Insiders," ESPN, 10/8). ESPN’s Mike Golic said, “For the majority, the players are good guys and their policy, as Roger Goodell has admitted, has been bad. It's been too lenient and hasn't been harsh enough. That's what needs to change” ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 10/9). 

    PICK A SPOT: N.Y. Daily News' Bob Raissman said of the MLB playoffs, "I need a loan because I had to hire a private detective to find the early round games in the series on television. Five different networks playing hide and seek with baseball" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 10/8).

    FEELING BLUE: CBS Sports Network’s Jim Rome said of reports Dodger Stadium will be a temporary location for an NFL team, “The last thing you want to do is jack up a beautiful ballpark with a horrible looking football team” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 10/8).  

    MOSTLY TROUBLE: ESPN’s Colin Cowherd said of the NBA’s new TV deal, “NBA stars and star quarterbacks are worth the money. They change games. Outside of that, I think stars are completely overrated in American sports. They don't win titles. They create headaches, drama and entitlement” ("The Herd with Colin Cowherd," ESPN Radio, 10/8).

    ANY GIVEN THURSDAY: ESPN's Robert Flores, on the "Thursday Night Football" games often being blowouts: "It's bad football but it's good TV and at the end of the day, especially if that day is Thursday, people would rather watch the NFL than anything else" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 10/8).

  • TV Timeout: The Cost Of Doing Business

    Sportscaster Jim Gray said of the NBA’s new TV deal, “It doesn't cause the ticket price to go up one penny because of the TV deals. I'm sure that will change, however, with satellite TV and cable distributers, that's where you'll see the cost and ultimately probably with some advertisers. They're going to have to raise the rates on whatever it is that they're selling to the public to buy this time” ("Countdown to the Closing Bell," Fox Business, 10/6). ESPN VP/League Sports Programming & Acquisitions Julie Sobieski, on the new NBA rights deal: “It touched every corner of our company. It’s a true team effort” (“Front & Center,” ESPN.com, 10/6).

    TEXAS-SIZED PROBLEM: ESPN's Michael Wilbon said of visiting fans in Dallas, “Cowboys are not as popular as they used to be from years of losing and not doing anything in the playoffs, so they got a problem, period, not a home-field problem specifically” ("PTI," ESPN, 10/6).

    NOTHING BUT A NUMBER: MLB Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred said, “A big focus for me is going to be increasing youth participation in the game. I think it's crucial for the sport being healthy in terms of its fan base" ("Fast Money Halftime Report," CNBC, 10/6).

    ONE FOR THE HARD-CORE FANS: ESPN's Bomani Jones said of the Royals and Orioles playing in the ALCS, "This is a great series for people who really, really, really enjoy watching baseball. It is not going to pick up a single casual viewer. But you know what, that sounds like what baseball has become so maybe they can be happy with having a good series. But if this is an outreach championship series, it's going to fail" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 10/6). 

  • Podcast: Analyzing the new NBA media deal

    Media writer John Ourand, NBA reporter John Lombardo and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss the NBA's massive new media rights agreement.

    Among the comments:

    "It's nearly three times the current deal that's in place. That's just money they wanted to lock in. … Adam (Silver) was very clear this morning. He said, 'We feel like we didn't leave any money on the table.'"

    "The media executives, they're not dopes, obviously. They're paying this much more, but they're also getting a ton more rights than they had been getting."

    "The thing I'm going to be watching from a media standpoint is with NFL Now and these over-the-top networks like this. … If it's going to have live games, they're going after cord cutters. … It could make this whole cable TV ecosystem go up in flames."

    Tags: Media, NBA, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Podcast: Analyzing the NFL on TV

    Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and SportsBusiness Daily ratings guru Austin Karp go inside the television data four weeks into the NFL season in this week's NFL "Behind The Headlines" podcast.

    Among the comments:

    "It's kind of been a mixed bag for the NFL's TV partners, but the audience is still extremely strong."

    "We've had some pretty poor games in terms of prime-time programming … but we haven't seen that impact the numbers too much."

    "There's no doubt that the NFL is still the marquee programming out there on television."

    Tags: NFL, Media, SBJSBD Podcast
  • TV Timeout: Black Hole

    Columnist Kevin Blackstone, on ESPN's Jon Gruden possibly returning to the Raiders as coach: "He'd be foolish to leave this network and go back to that mess in Oakland where he once was and knows it better than anybody and try and fix it. They have been a pathetic franchise since they lost in the Super Bowl in 2002" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/1).

    UP, UP AND AWAY? CNBC's Scott Wapner said of the NFL and DirecTV reaching an agreement on the "Sunday Ticket” package, "I wonder how much my bill for the 'NFL Ticket' is going to go up now" ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 10/1).

    SCRIPTED RESPONSE:  ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of Derek Jeter’s The Players’ Tribune website, "You will get athletes sitting in front of a camera, reading off a prompter statements that their agents have written for them" ("PTI," ESPN, 10/1).

    GOOD YEAR: LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan, on this season: “No matter what angle you take, whether it's TV ratings, whether it's who's winning on tour, whether it’s the race for the CME Globe, all of the stories are pretty good this year" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 10/2).

    NAMING RIGHTS: ESPN's Bomani Jones said of the FCC possibly banning the name Redskins, “Important people seem to want Dan Snyder to change this name. How long is it going to be before he realizes, in the words of a great philosopher, ship be sinking?" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 10/1).

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