• SMS 2014 Podcast: Analyzing the college panel

    College writer Michael Smith and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss the hot-button college panel from Day 1 of the 2014 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium in New York.

    Among the comments:


    "The bottom line is that the model is going to change. Is it going to change somewhat, is it going to change drastically, that's what's to be determined."

    "That's frightening. If you're a commissioner or if you're an athletic director and you've done business one way for the last 20 to 30 years, and now what's being proposed is an open-market system — free agency, players with agents — that's a completely different model. And I think that's what frightens the administrators now and has them so much on the defensive. That takes them in a direction where they're not sure how to operate."

    "I think it's probably naive to think that Olympic sports and women's sports will not be impacted somewhat. … It's going to have an impact."

    Tags: Colleges, SBJSBD Podcast
  • 2014 SMS: Faces in the Crowd

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


    Tags: CES, ING
  • SMS 2014: Panel: For all the challenges they present, Gens X and Y can still be reached

    Rudolph: "If you try to get too clever or too cute, it can backfire."

    Despite shrinking attention spans, scattershot personal interests and heightened senses of entitlement, the members of Generation Y and Generation Z can still be reached by marketers, but only if the messages remain authentic.

    A high-level panel speaking at the 2014 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium in New York agreed that authenticity is perhaps more critical than ever with youth audiences because they have not only grown accustomed to marketing messages everywhere, but can be cynical toward them. "If you try to get too clever or too cute, it can backfire," said David Rudolph, PlayOn Sports chief executive. Added Rivals.com head Eric Winter, "The biggest mistake you can make with marketing to younger audiences is to try to shoehorn in something that doesn't make sense."

    To that end, panelists agreed that speaking directly to youth audiences on their terms, as opposed to dictating a conversation, was the only way to go. "You simply have to follow their lead," said Gabby Duno Turner, StubHub head of partnership activation and account management. Turner said the ticket resale marketplace has been particularly successful with younger ticket buyers through a commemorative ticket program in which users can digitally upload a picture of themselves and have it appear as part of their digital or physical keepsake ticket.

    Quick takes from the panel:

    Reaching the Next Generation


    David Iudica, Yahoo
    Donnie Keller, Xbox
    David Rudolph, PlayOn! Sports
    Gabby Duno Turner, StubHub
    Eric Winter, Rivals.com

    On which brands are particularly successful reaching youth audiences: The panelists listed Apple, Bleacher Report, Snapchat, and the Los Angeles Kings Twitter feed. "You look at what 12-year-olds are connecting with and where their affinities are, they all want an Apple product," Turner said.

    On which social networks successfully reach youth audiences: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram dominate the conversation around social media, but panelists said that Vine and Tumblr are key tools in reaching Generations Y and Z. "Vine is something that's been really important to us,” Winter said, “particularly around our camp business.”


    Tags: ACC, StubHub
  • SMS 2014: In the Spotlight: Burger King

    Hirschhorn: "Slapping a logo on a property ultimately becomes meaningless."

    A new approach to brand marketing, focused on creating true engagement rather than broad recognition, was a key topic during a panel at the 2014 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium that featured Burger King North America CMO Eric Hirschhorn and Bill Koenigsberg, president, CEO and founder of Burger King’s marketing partner, Horizon Media .

    “My team is made up of engineers, former bankers, former consultants,” said Hirschhorn. “We have very, very few traditional marketers on our team because I think that the role demands a very, very different skill set than it once did.”

    Hirschhorn emphasized that his approach to capitalizing on Burger King’s recent partnership with the NCAA is centered on creating engagement. “For a brand like Burger King, we have 100 percent recognition,” he said. “Slapping a logo on a property ultimately becomes meaningless.” What matters, said Hirschhorn, is developing creative points of engagement. He used the example of sending a team of bloggers to the Final Four to create a live, unique experience for customers. “I need access,” he said. “I don’t need assets.”

    Koensigsberg said brands are becoming increasingly concerned with being liked. “What marketers want is … that brand affinity,” he said. “They want those engagement metrics. They want to see that brand health improve.”

    Both panelists spoke of their reliance on analytics to hyper-target their audience, with Hirshhorn focusing on finding the perfect properties for his brand and Koenigsberg using data to find the ideal way to engage with the specific demographics that his brand partners seek.

    Tags: Burger King, North America, Media, NCAA
  • 2014 SMS: Faces in the Crowd

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


    Tags: CES, ING
  • 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
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