• SBAs: More from Twitter at the halfway point

    Tags: Sports Business Awards
  • Best in Sports Television: NBC Sports Group

    NBC Sports Group won the Best in Sports Television award after a year that saw the broadcaster earn huge TV ratings from the Winter Olympics and “Sunday Night Football.” The company’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Final was the most watched on record. “It’s always a shock when you hear your company’s name read out like that,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network, on stage as he accepted the award.

    Afterward, Miller said he had never won an award like this before, but suggested that NBC’s year-round schedule helped, from Premier League to the NFL to the NHL. “It’s relentless in terms of the pace and energy that goes on,” he said. “There are hundreds of sports being produced by people every day. To be recognized by your peers is really special. That’s why it’s a treat. It’s a thrill.”

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing: GMR Marketing

    For the second time in the history of the Sports Business Awards, GMR Marketing won Best Event and Experiential Marketing. The recognition came in the same year that the Omnicom company successfully merged SportsMark, a longtime leader in sports hospitality experiences, and GMR, an established experiential marketing company.

    The resulting 900-person-strong company last year oversaw the hospitality experience for six sponsors at the Sochi Games, managed the NFL’s Super Bowl-themed restaurant Forty Ate in New York City, and the hospitality program at the America’s Cup. Jan Katzoff, GMR head of global sports and entertainment, said, “The merger helped a lot. There was a lot of talent [at SportsMark] and a lot of talent at GMR. We were able to harness a lot of that horsepower and bring more resources to bear on our programs.”

    Katzoff said the work for six sponsors in Sochi, which was complicated by delays in hotel construction, and the hospitality sales around the America’s Cup, a first-time event for GMR, stood out in his mind and helped the SportsMark-GMR team earn its second recognition in the category.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Best in Sports Technology: Experience

    From left: Experience's Junior Gaspard, Garrett Langley, Tripp Rackley, Ben Ackerman and Stan Deak
    Experience, an upstart Atlanta-based seat upgrade outfit, won the 2014 Sports Business Award for Best in Sports Technology on the heels of a blockbuster 2013 that saw major deals struck with MLB Advanced Media, the NFL and Ticketmaster, among many other college and pro teams. The company’s proprietary technology allows fans after initially purchasing a ticket to upgrade their location and add experiential amenities, in effect changing the notion of a ticket from a single-purchase entity into a more fluid concept that can be altered into something else across a span of time.

    Company Chairman Tripp Rackley was quick to credit his team and league partners, and said he is aiming to completely change fan expectations. “The question we ask ourselves all the time is, ‘Will a fan go back to the old way after experiencing what we can offer?’ We obviously hope not. The live event is such a powerful thing and we want every fan to feel like a rock star,” he said.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • SBAs: Early winners and congratulations

    Tags: Sports Business Awards
  • SBAs: First award presentation is moments away

    Tags: Sports Business Awards
  • SBAs: More from Twitter as the big night arrives

    Tags: Sports Business Awards
  • Sports Business Awards: A selection of preshow tweets

    Tags: Sports Business Awards
  • TV Timeout: A Closer Look

    The Nation's Dave Zirin said the lawsuit brought by former NFLers against the league over the use of painkillers is about the "shifting norms of how we understand how the sausage is made in the NFL.” He said, “For decades, we didn't care, culturally we didn’t care, the NFL didn’t care, the players' union didn’t care. But now in the wake of the concussion lawsuit, everything is under the microscope" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 5/21). Former 49ers OL Jeremy Newberry said of painkiller use in the NFL, "This is the NFL culture, not just a team-by-team thing" ("Evening News," CBS, 5/20).

    THE WRONG PATH? HBO's Jon Frankel said of Brazil’s World Cup preparations, "If Athens is a cautionary tale, it's not being heeded today on the other side of the world” ("Real Sports," HBO, 5/20).

    DRAWING CARD: ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, on Minneapolis hosting the Super Bowl: “If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this, it’s that the National Football League follows the ‘Field of Dreams’ philosophy which is, ‘If you build it, they will come.’” ESPN’s Mike Golic added, “I love Minnesota, but it doesn’t mean I love Minnesota in February, or would I chose to go there in February, which is what we will be doing” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 5/21). 

    MONEY TALKS: PFT's Mike Florio, on NFL playoff expansion being tabled: “I think they’d like to find out from the networks how much money is in play, because if there are any owners on the fence about whether or not to do this, knowing how much money they would make from those two extra playoff games could help a ‘no’ become a ‘yes’” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 5/20).

  • MiLB's Clash of the Caps voting favoring new or new-look teams

    Want an example of how fresh sells better, Minor League Baseball-style?

    Fan voting for MiLB’s Clash of the Caps contest ends tomorrow. Heading into these final two days of voting, the leaderboard in this contest — which asks, Who has the best cap in the minor leagues? — features six teams that have debuted since 2000 and six others that have completely changed their name and/or look in recent years.

    The three veterans among the leaders: the Durham Bulls, Carolina Mudcats and Toledo Mud Hens.

    The leaderboard, as of this morning:

    Rank/Team (debut or name change)

    1/El Paso Chihuahuas (2014 debut)
    2/Richmond Flying Squirrels (2010 debut)
    3/Albuquerque Isotopes (2003 debut)
    4/Quad City River Bandits (2008 name change)
    5/Durham Bulls
    6/Lakewood BlueClaws (2001 debut)
    7/Omaha Storm Chasers (2011 name change)
    8/Carolina Mudcats
    9/Montgomery Biscuits (2004 debut)
    10/Akron RubberDucks (2014 name change)
    11/Greensboro Grasshoppers (2005 name change)
    12/Toledo Mud Hens
    13/Fort Wayne TinCaps (2009 name change)
    14/Orem Owlz (2005 name change)
    15/Bradenton Marauders (2010 debut)

    Source: MiLB

    Tags: On The Ground
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