SBJ: Want a new gift choice? Take a seat SBJ: 50 Most Influential: Introduction SBD: Sources: Fox Keeps UEFA Champions League SBD: Winston News Bumps Ferrell Off "SportsCenter" SBD: Luukko Resigns From Comcast-Spectacor SBD: Fox Sells Out Of Super Bowl XLVIII Inventory SBD: SEC Championship Leads CFB Overnights SBD: SB XLVIII To Be Most Expensive Ever SBD: Executive Transactions SBD: Executive Transactions
May 20, 2013 04:45 PM
It will take the ACC and its media partner, ESPN, anywhere from two to four years to analyze whether to start a league-branded channel. That’s what ACC Commissioner John Swofford said today on ESPN 99.9 FM in Raleigh.
SportsBusiness Journal reported that live game rights owned by Raycom Sports and Fox Sports Net could be an obstacle for the ACC and ESPN. Raycom sublicenses 31 football games and 60 men’s basketball games each year through 2027, and Fox buys 17 of those football games and 25 of the basketball games for its regional sports networks.When asked specifically about the ACC rights currently owned by Raycom and FSN, Swofford said, “There are a number of things that will go into the analysis of whether to start a channel. We’ll spend the next two or three or four years analyzing this with ESPN to see if this is a viable business venture for them and for us.”
Swofford also reminded that the “SEC was in discussions about three years before reaching a decision” to start a channel, which launches in August 2014. “The great thing moving forward with our 15-member league is that we’ll have more television sets, more wired households and a greater population in our footprint than any other conference,” he said. “That bodes well for everything from television to recruiting.”
Buying back those games from FSN is not easy because those regional networks need live game content. ESPN and the SEC were unsuccessful in trying to buy back games from FSN for the SEC Network. But FSN’s package of SEC games runs through the 2014 season only and will not extend beyond that.
May 20, 2013 09:28 AM
Track thinks outside the pants with Charmin UltraStrong.
Photo by:TRIPP MICKLE / STAFF
But it was the signs that they delivered that message with that stopped people in their tracks.
The toilet paper brand cut a deal with Charlotte Motor Speedway to hang two enormous signs in the shape of men’s briefs with the words “Stop Skidmarks” above the Charmin UltraStrong logo and a trace of tire skidmarks. Needless to say, it caught people’s attention.A group of four race fans from Charlotte walked past sign after sign for brands ranging from Coca-Cola to the History Channel. They didn’t notice a single one of them, but when they got to the pair of men’s underwear, Curtis Foster, 17, slapped his friend Dino Murphy, 42, and pointed to the Charmin sign.
“That’s some big ass Depends,” Murphy said.
Foster later said there wasn’t a single other sign he noticed until he got to that one.
“That got our attention out of all of ’em,” he said.
The signs, which are located outside turns four and one, will be up all week and through the Coca-Cola 600 this coming weekend. The campaign was developed by Charmin’s agency, Publicis Kaplan Thaler. GMR Marketing negotiated the deal for the signs with Charlotte Motor Speedway.
They “Stop Skidmarks” message was so eye-catching that a photo of the sign caught the attention of ESPN’s Darren Rovell. He tweeted out the photo to his 347,000 followers, writing, “MUST SEE slogan by Charmin today at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.” It got picked up by at least one website, which underscored how a clever marketing message in today’s world can catch the attention of an audience far beyond the one in attendance at a sports event.
Charmin hasn’t committed to making similar racetrack deals later this year. If it does, it may need to reconsider the size and location of its signs. The one in turn four outside CMS blends into the white exterior of the facility. The one outside turn one isn’t big enough to be visible from the busy road outside the track.
They are big Depends, as Murphy said, but it wouldn’t hurt to make them even bigger.
May 17, 2013 06:07 PM
If you're attending the 2013 Intersport Activation Summit, be sure to download our online agenda. You can use it on your desktop or mobile device, and even on your Facebook page.
May 13, 2013 12:22 PM
Most of what we hear about drones involves them delivering explosives in faraway places, but wouldn’t it be nice if they dropped something that was less deadly and more tasty?
Our facilities writer, Don Muret, alerted us to a Billboard story about the potential for using drones to deliver beers:
Says Don: This story caught my eye because I love beer and the thought of having one drop gently from the sky at a concert is a very cool thing to consider. It also got me wondering if there is an application for this technology at sports events. The concept is not new. For many years, the Chicago Bulls, among other teams, have had remote-control mini-blimps dropping coupons to the crowd at United Center. But now, technology has been refined to the point where small drones can travel great distances before activation. Ask President Obama.
May 9, 2013 09:43 AM
The news of Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour sent a charge through TPC Sawgrass yesterday. Many of those who work in the industry were stunned by Singh’s timing -- filing the lawsuit the day before The Players Championship begins.
Singh, never known for being the warm and fuzzy type, was skewered on Twitter by, among others, Golf Channel's Randell Mell, Sports Illustrated's Gary Van Sickle and veteran golf writer Steve Elling.
Vijay Singh is suing to "reclaim his reputation." Begs the question of what reputation he is specifically seeking to reclaim.— Randall Mell (@RandallMellGC) May 8, 2013
Vijay Singh is suing PGA Tour over doping allegations--oh, that began when he admitted to SI he was using deer spray. good luck with that...— Gary VanSickle (@GaryVanSickle) May 8, 2013
Because of tour, "Singh struggled to keep his focus, play at level that made him one of game’s all-time greats." Uh, hasn't won since 2008.— Steve Elling (@EllingYelling) May 8, 2013
An interesting twist has been the reaction of Singh’s former agency, IMG Golf. IMG and Singh were together for several years before they parted ways a few years ago. IMG has occasionally set him up in golf outings since then, but they have no formal relationship and IMG has not been in contact with Singh since the golfer first revealed that he used deer antler spray earlier this year. IMG fielded calls from reporters much of the day, but the agency is responding by saying that it doesn’t rep him. Informally, IMG is doing its best to distance the agency from this suit.
The consensus around TPC Sawgrass is that Singh might be doing more damage to his reputation by suing the PGA Tour than anything he suffered from the deer antler spray case, which the tour ultimately dropped.
May 8, 2013 10:28 AM
Somewhere, Gary Stevenson is smiling. During a PGA Tour press conference yesterday, Commissioner Tim Finchem was asked about the role agencies play in running tour events. During his answer, Finchem referenced OnSport, the agency Stevenson founded. Of course, Stevenson sold the agency to Wasserman Media Group, and the OnSport name perished in 2007.
It was an honest mistake by the commish. The core of OnSport is what became Wasserman Golf, which represents golfers, consults with title sponsors like Travelers, Nationwide, RBC and Northern Trust, among others, and runs events.
Still, Stevenson can smile knowing that OnSport might be gone, but certainly isn’t forgotten.
May 7, 2013 10:50 AM
Reporter Andrew Robinson, who writes for affiliated publication Business First of Louisville, Ky., got lucky at the track last weekend, and it had nothing to do with picking the winner of the Derby.
As part of Business First's coverage of the race, Robinson had stationed himself near the owners' boxes, hoping the catch a reaction from the winners. What he didn't expect was to see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrating Orb's victory along with a few former teammates and other horse-racing connections.
Robinson, whose video was picked up by ESPN, NFL Network, Fox Business News and a few other stations, wrote about the moment on his Business First blog page.
May 6, 2013 03:01 PM
Last week’s SEC Network announcement in Atlanta drew an interesting mix of executives. Among the companies represented at the news conference were SEC official sponsors AT&T, Dr Pepper, First Data, Golden Flake and Regions Bank. AT&T U-verse also was announced as the first operator to carry the channel.
There also were a couple of non-SEC sponsors who attended: Chick-fil-A and Coca-Cola, both of which have headquarters in Atlanta and are heavily invested in college sports. Chick-fil-A sponsors the bowl game in Atlanta and has a big ad spend with ESPN, while Coca-Cola recently signed on as an ESPN “GameDay” sponsor, which includes a seasonlong ad spend on college football.
May 3, 2013 08:20 AM
Developing Sales Talent
Travis Apple, Pittsburgh Pirates
Leigh Castergine, New York Mets
Charlie Chislaghi, Kansas City Royals
Bryant Pfeiffer, Major League Soccer
Jamie Spencer, Tampa Bay Lightning
Janet Duch, San Diego Padres
Moderator: Bill Sutton, Bill Sutton & Associates and University of South Florida
Today, we feature Part 5, the final installment of the discussion. Below are links to each part of the panel discussion.
Click here for:
Part 1: How To Find It And How To Make It Fit
Part 2: How To Build A Sales Culture
Part 3: How To Keep Them Motivated, Energized
Part 4: How To Determine Hunters Or Farmers
SUTTON: We’ve really evolved from the art of sales to the art and science of sales, and we’re using analytics and different measurements. How are you incorporating that into your training and development, and how is the role of analytics making your sales people better, and helping your sales culture?
CASTERGINE: We have leads that my staff calls the “radiator leads,” which are our hot leads. The way that we have, especially in training and looking at our data, is we’re pulling in all of our purchasing data. We work with our friends over at MLB, and they run algorithms that kind of score our leads for us. We take that information and bring that back into our CRM system. Those populate into our radiator campaign. The radiator campaign is then divided amongst our sales reps. We track every single one of our campaigns, whether it’s a group sales campaign, a season-ticket campaign, a renewal campaign. We track that against each of our sales reps. Being able to see what sort of results they’re having within each campaign, how many of the calls that they’re making, where they are through their campaign. And each of the sales managers meet with their staff on a weekly basis to go through all that, so it really gives us a better handle when we’re trying to distribute better leads, or leads that we consider hotter, to the right people and match leads with sales effort, energy and success. Being able to measure that data with, “Joe Schmo is selling better to our corporate purchasers,” then we know when they get those types of leads, that’s the person we should be aligning those with.
Travis Apple explains how the Pirates' "golden ticket" promotion helps start a conversation with fans.
Photo by:MARC BRYAN-BROWN
SPENCER: If you don’t know who they’re calling, that’s trouble. At least you know what activities, who they’re calling … You can’t help them if you don’t know who they’re calling. So one of the first hires we made, we had nobody managing our CRM. I saw a lot of scratch paper, post-it notes, and my stomach was upside down thinking, “how do we go from here?” We now have … he’s everybody’s best friend now because he’s sending those radiator leads. He’s sending pipeline reports, and these go all the way to our COO. These guys know that they’re being tracked and being monitored. What I’ve found is that veterans are the worst. They’re renegades, wild wild west, they fall into old habits. It’s amazing because you hire a new person, you teach them, they get it in one day. But the veterans are pounding their fist saying, “How does this work?” If you don’t have a database manager, somebody that’s mining your leads and shopping those… I used to dole them out and it was such a painful process, and I felt like I wasn’t as effective in my job because I was so entrenched in data. That’s an important person to have in your organization.
WALLS: In general, it’s helped us with prioritization. The days of just sorting by number of tickets and revenue are over. Our staff is getting the best leads at all times, whether it be people clicking through our e-mails. … But on the service, for example, we do real-time assessment of risk. So our service team is getting monthly direction on, “You need to reach out to this group of people because they’re most at-risk based on tenure or attendance.” Kind of 2.0, UCLA did this study with us around the type of leads that our reps are having more success with. More importantly the type of people, than the demographic. So I think 2.0 is they’re finding that “John actually sells better to 50-year-old women that live in this part of the city.” So now we’ll be able to hand-deliver leads that people are going to have more success with based on past successes.
CHISLAGHI: If we can give our new hires the data that tells them why we’re training them to do this, it helps.
An analytics department is more than one person, Sutton says.
Photo by:MARC BRYAN-BROWN
AUDIENCE: Do you ever bring in managers into the academy and train them?
PFEIFFER: We’re starting to that quite a bit. We have a program where a young sales manager from any of our clubs can come in for 2 1/2 days and go through a manager shadow program, and really learn how we train.
AUDIENCE: Comment about how culture with Padres, other teams is impressive and important.
CHISLAGHI: If I can add to that. All the folks with whom I work with, they are focused on building real relationships with their prospects. Then once they become customers, you don’t drop that relationship, you grow it. These folks up here are living that.
SUTTON: Speaking from our sales combine experience last weekend in Pittsburgh … Whenever you’re sitting down with a person thinking about going into sales, we usually whip out our old trusty pen and say, “Sell me this.” They immediately start to say, “Well this is the best pen in the world, two pieces, black enamel, it’ll look really good in your suit …” And they just talk, and talk and talk. They don’t know that selling is questioning, and they don’t know that selling is listening. So a lot of what we do, is having to overcome that. That all relates to the perception of sales, they’ve seen a salesman in a movie, their father was a salesman, whatever it is. In our business, before we can actually develop our culture and our training process, we really have to overcome a lot of debris and misperception in teaching people in how to listen and ask questions. So it’s, did you ask him what he does for a living? Do you know how many pens he buys in a year? Does he give pens as gifts? Does he give pens to all his salespeople? Does he use them for advertising? So that’s not inherent, that has to be taught. So, go back, look at your sales training programs, look at your motivation, look at your hunter-farmer relationships, look at your analytics, and decide how you want to move forward.
May 2, 2013 06:02 PM
The official announcement of the SEC Network by the conference and ESPN was remarkable for how little real news came out of it. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN President John Skipper played it very close to the vest throughout the two hours of their availability at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. They didn’t talk about the ownership structure of the network, or what it will mean from a financial standpoint for its schools.
Radio host Paul Finebaum
Photo by:MARC BRYAN-BROWN
As one AD said, “The commissioner said it was important to be here, so we’re all here.”
Also worth noting was who didn’t attend. There was heavy chatter about the absence of Paul Finebaum, the popular Birmingham radio host whose contract recently expired, making him a free agent. The consensus is that Finebaum will play an important role as a personality on the SEC Network.