• Game Changers conference: Afternoon networking

    The inaugural Game Changers conference is being held today at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square in New York.

    Here are some photos from the early afternoon networking.

    Tags: Game Changers, Marriott
  • Execs Discuss Challenges Impeding The Growth Of Women's Sports

    The kickoff panel for the inaugural SBJ/SBD Game Changers conference this morning focused on two big challenges impeding the continued growth of women’s sports – a dearth of media coverage and selling corporate sponsors on investing in women’s sports when traditional ROI measurements might not work. The panel – titled “The Executive Point of View: Examining the Intersection of Women and Sports” – included execs from the WNBA, LPGA, NFL, WTA, Atlantic 10 Conference and USOC.

    THE CHALLENGE OF MEDIA COVERAGE: In a media environment with fewer local beat reporters and a national media still dominated by men’s sports, that often means telling players’ stories directly to fans, often through digital and social media. WTA Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster said, “Mainstream content is not there for us. We have to take our destiny in our own hands.” Allaster said that less than 10% of coverage on ESPN is dedicated to women’s sports, and an even slimmer portion of its flagship program, “SportsCenter.” LPGA CFO Kathy Milthorpe: “We’re going to have to cover our sport ourselves. It’s one of the biggest challenges for us.” Added WNBA President Laurel Richie: “We’re doing everything we can to tell the stories of our players.”

    CONVINCING THE CORPORATE WORLD: Winning over corporate sponsors without the same depth of exposure enjoyed by long-established men’s pro sports means working harder to develop custom solutions. USOC CMO Lisa Baird: “We go directly at (sponsors) in terms of their business objectives.” Allaster: “Tell us the markets that work for you and we’ll build the package for you.” A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade said cause marketing, such as the fight against breast cancer, has also served women’s sports well, to the point where men’s sports have adopted similar strategies.

    QUICK HITS: What is your top priority, tactic or strategy going forward?

    Allaster, emphasizing the importance of focusing on the growth of the sport in the Asia/Pacific region, as well as using digital content to tell the athletes’ stories: “These are huge celebrities. People care what they eat and who they hang with.”

    Milthorpe: “Digital is key.”

    Richie: “Telling the players’ stories.”

    Baird: “How to do quality coverage on digital.”

    NFL CMO Mark Waller: “Extraordinary competition, delivered spectacularly.”

    Tags: Game Changers, Media, WNBA, NBA, LPGA, NFL, WTA, USOC, ESPN
  • Game Changers conference: Noon Networking

    The inaugural Game Changers conference is being held today at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square in New York.

    Here are some photos from the networking before the opening session.

    Tags: Game Changers, Marriott
  • TV Timeout: Rock Of Ages

    CBSSN’s Allie LaForce discussed Bruno Mars performing as the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show act. She said, “I think he’ll do a good job because he appeals to a lot of different ages. He’s played on the big stage before, the VMAs, the Grammy’s.” CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb noted, “First of all, he’s awesome. He’s incredible. Plays every instrument, sings, dances.” Gottlieb added, “Here’s another thing I like: They didn’t go cheeseball Bon Jovi because the game is in New Jersey. That would’ve been too cliché” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 9/9).

    GOTTA BE THE SHOES: ESPN's Michael Wilbon, on Patriots QB Tom Brady leading the Patriots to a late-game win over the Bills: "You've seen that script. You could make a movie out of that. Tom Brady coming back with his Uggs to win a game late" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/9).

    POOR CHOICE: ESPN's J.A. Adande said, "The Basketball Hall of Fame did the worst move ever in moving its Hall of Fame induction ceremonies to the first NFL Sunday. You think anybody was watching Gary Payton and Bernard King and Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian go in against the NFL. So here's two guys, Payton and King, who were underappreciated during their careers and now they're underappreciated as they go onto the Hall of Fame" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/9).

    STICKY SITUATION: NBCSN’s Michelle Beadle said of the U.S. Open conflicting with Week One of the NFL season, “It’s unfortunate that tennis is in a position with the U.S. Open, especially with the finals being on Sunday and Monday, right as we kick off the NFL season. I don’t know if there’s room to change that. But if you could, where would you put it?” SI’s Jon Wertheim said, “It’s like the Jenga tower, you start moving weeks and this tournament gets upset” (“The Crossover,” NBC Sports Network, 9/9).

  • 2013 Game Changers On Ideal Start To Saturday Morning

    We asked each of this year’s Game Changers the following question:

    What would be an ideal Saturday morning for you to start your weekend?

    Here are their responses:

    Charlotte Jones Anderson: Waking up after an evening of Friday night lights and watching my high school senior playing football, and then heading back to the field to see my sixth-grade son be coached by his dad. Follow that with an afternoon of cheering for my alma mater, Stanford University. Football is the fabric of our family.

    Mary Pat Augenthaler: I would sleep in until 7 a.m., and my husband would make pancakes for me and our kids. (His pancakes are much better than mine!) Then I would head to a spin class or go for a run before a day of kids sporting events. We have to fit a lot in on Saturdays because Sundays are all about football.

    Cheryl Bailey: Sleeping in and having breakfast on my porch overlooking the lake before the sporting events of the weekend begin.

    Lisa Boggs: A cup of coffee on the patio.

    Melissa Rosenthal Brenner: Our kids sleep past 8 a.m., I work out, we have a great family breakfast, and then we head out for some adventure.

    Amy Brooks: Spending time at the playground with my 2- and 4-year-old daughters.

    Jacqie Carpenter: Waking up on my own time and hanging out with my daughter, Samone (age 7), after a long week.

    Kim Carver: I have a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old, and so some Saturday mornings they come tearing in and jump on the bed and wake me up — and that is the best way to start a Saturday. Just fantastic.

    Jennifer Chun: Lazy, in bed, with the kids jumping around.

    Vicky Chun: Coffee, visiting the farmers market (the local farmers), and seeing friends and family at the farmers market. I love it.

    Susan Cohig: A long run in Central Park and then spending time with my daughter (age 8).

    Reagan Feeney: Waking up to the adorable voice of my 4-year-old daughter, Zoe; hitting our favorite local diner; and splashing in the waves at Venice Beach.

    Leslie Gamez: It would start early and would include any of the following: a long mountain bike ride, a long trail run or a good Nordic ski, followed by a cup of spicy tea and a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal.

    Christine Garrity: I raise racehorses, so on Saturday mornings I enjoy going out to watch the 2-year-olds work out on the track and spend time with all the horses.

    Alison Giordano: Pancake breakfast with the kids.

    Michelle Grech: [It] starts with my 7-year-old daughter waking up with the biggest smile on her face, and we would do an art project together while having breakfast. I would follow this up with my favorite yoga class. Finally, my husband and I would go cheer on my daughter at one of her soccer games.

    Mimi Griffin: Yoga in the park or an early round of golf.

    Jennifer Hanley: Go to Starbucks, get my tea, and whether I’m going to dance, or soccer, or basketball practice, or a baseball game, my ideal Saturday is to watch my kids do what they love.

    Lynn Hickey: Sleeping in a little bit later than usual, reading the paper, walking my new puppy, and then finally getting motivated to do my weekend workout.

    Pam Hollander: My two kids don’t come into my room before 8 a.m., and I’ll come downstairs, and they’ll have already made breakfast — for themselves and me.

    Kelly Krauskopf: As the sun is rising, sit outside on my back patio in the stillness with a cup of coffee, then take a bike ride to Café Patachou for the best breakfast in Indy.

    Rachel Lewis: My kids sleep in until 8 a.m., I read the sports section over breakfast and then spend the morning with my family at a nearby park or beach.

    Lucia McKelvey: Saturday morning is my workout time. I’m an avid runner, and I cherish that me time. When I get back from running, family time is a must, especially with my adorable newborn baby girl, Bentlie.

    Paula Miller: Undoubtedly, playing golf with my daughter Caroline (age 15).

    Kathy Milthorpe: Hot yoga.

    Diana Myers: A long run (10+ miles).

    Kim Ng: Watching the sun rise as I take a walk on the beach.

    Regina O’Brien: Playing nine holes at the Winter Park Country Club, which is a little course down the road from my house; then I would get in my car and drive to an Irish pub to meet some friends and watch a World Cup final. It’d be Argentina versus Spain, and Argentina would win in extra time. I’m actually a little bit of an Argentina soccer nut. I was born in Argentina, so it’s funny: My entire life, every four years, people in the building know what my emotion is going to be based on how that game went.

    Maidie Oliveau: I usually bike 30 miles and do an ocean swim of some distance also.

    Ailey Penningroth: Waking up without the alarm early enough for a relatively solitary jog/walk in Piedmont Park, capped with a giant unsweet iced tea.

    Patty Power: A boot camp workout at 7:15 followed by breakfast with my family.

    Donna Providenti: Yoga class, green juice, gossip magazine.

    Judy Rose: Take a long walk with my husband and then have breakfast together, just the two of us.

    Julie Sobieski: Waking up at our place on the cape in Brewster, Mass., going for an early morning run with my 7-year-old and then spending the morning at the bay with my family.

    Amy Stanton: Yoga and a green juice.

    Deborah Tymon: Pot of coffee and The New York Times.

    Lori Webb: Sleeping in past 8 a.m., then lazily reading my paper over a couple cups of coffee before a breakfast of Eggs Benedict and home fries, and not having any chores, obligations or demands placed on me for a whole day.

    Check back here each day this week for more personal insights from our Game Changers. Click here to learn about their favorite causes and charities.

    Tags: Game Changers
  • TV Timeout: Paper Or Plastic?

    CBSSN’s Brandon Tierney mocked the NFL-issued clear bags as the rule went into effect this weekend. He had a bag on set holding it up to his face saying, “If your team is say, two and nine, going into week 12 or so and you bring this in, how do you hide? Where are the brown bags that saved you the humiliation of being in that stadium?” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBS Sports Network, 9/8).

    COLOR OF MONEY: ESPN’s Jemele Hill, on Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel appearing on the cover of Time magazine’s issue discussing if college athletes should be paid: “Where were all these conversations about paying college players when Michigan had to wipe away the Fab Five’s legacy due to the NCAA violations? Why didn’t A.J. Green, Terrelle Pryor or Dez Bryant galvanize the same national support as Manziel when the NCAA believed them?” Hill added, “My colleague Jalen Rose tweeted that Manziel is the NCAA’s worst nightmare because he is ‘white, paid and outspoken.’ As Jalen knows the exploitation of college athletes isn’t new, the only thing that’s changed is the victims face” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 9/8).

    FINDING VALUE: CBSSN’s Amy Trask, on charging fans full price for preseason games: “I’m not sure where I come out on that but I think the value proposition needs to be discussed.” CBS’ Bill Cowher added, “I totally agree with that because it’s not the same game. You're not playing the game to win or lose.” CBSSN’s Bart Scott added, “The NFL is not giving money back, but what we’re giving the fans is not as good a product.” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBS Sports Network, 9/8).

    BREWING RELATIONS: NBCSN's Dave Briggs said Brewers LF Ryan Braun "realizes the backlash is far worse than he ever thought" so he "reaches out to the Milwaukee Brewers himself and says, 'I'd like to talk to some of the people I've hurt most.'" NBC's Thomas Roberts noted the calls to the fans "came on the heels of losing an endorsement deal with Nike and ties with a few a local restaurants." Roberts: "It really is a unique approach to try to win everybody back" ("Today," NBC, 9/7).

    LADIES FIRST: NBC's Carl Quintanilla said female viewers of the NFL are "being recognized as football's new power players." NBC's Janet Shamlian said women have “flipped the switch on football," accounting for 45% of all NFL fans, one-third of ticketholders and "it's her hands on the family wallet." Shamlian noted women's clothing is the fastest-growing segment of sales." NFL CMO Mark Waller said he expected women's merchandising to become this big because "we always felt that we were under serving them and not giving them what they need." ("Nightly News," NBC, 9/8).

    SHOW STOPPER: NBC's Natalie Morales said "some say they don't see" Super Bowl halftime act Bruno Mars "as a good fit for the Super Bowl, others say perhaps they wanted a little more of a New Jersey/New York act." But Morales said Mars is "great live performer" and an "incredible live show." NBC's Al Roker added, "It's like James Brown." NBC's Matt Lauer said, "Would it be great if for his last song he would be joined by Springsteen and Bon Jovi? That would be pretty cool." Morales said halftime will be "good family fun, no wardrobe malfunctions guaranteed" ("Today," NBC, 9/9).

    TWO IN ONE: Lions WR Calvin Johnson, on his Nike ad with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs: “Basically, it’s Calvin and Johnson, two different personalities. Calvin is the driven, focused guy that comes out here and gives his hard work on the field every day and at the same time there’s Johnson who handles all the distractions.” Johnson, on the accuracy of the portrayal: “The Calvin part, that’s pretty much in line with the way it is for real. I’m real laid back, I’m chill. I’m real family oriented so I don’t get in to too much mess” (“NFL Gameday Morning,” NFL Network, 9/8).

  • 2013 Game Changers On Their Favorite Causes Or Charities

    We asked each of this year’s Game Changers the following question:

    What are your favorite causes or charities?

    Here are their responses:

    Mary Pat Augenthaler: Breast cancer awareness. My mother is a survivor and so are many close friends. I’m proud of what the NFL does to support breast cancer awareness in October.

    Charlotte Jones Anderson: The Salvation Army, and the NFL Foundation and its efforts to promote our game and protect those who play it.

    Cheryl Bailey: World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse — organizations that support children and create better opportunities for them.

    Lisa Boggs: Pet/animal therapy — anything involving the unique healing bond between humans and animals.

    Melissa Rosenthal Brenner: My family works and lives in New York City, and we like to support various charities and institutions located in the area, but the cause that is most important to me is the foundation we created in my mother’s memory to support multiple myeloma research [Linda Rosenthal Family Multiple Myeloma Research Fund].

    Amy Brooks: Laudan Nabizadeh Fariborz Memorial Fund, a college scholarship established in memory of a good friend and former classmate who passed away unexpectedly this year.

    Jacqie Carpenter: Sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma (bone cancer), my church.

    Kim Carver: Anything with children or animals.

    Jennifer Chun: As a mom, charities and causes that focus on helping children really resonate with me. And as a working professional, I try to involve myself in as many mentoring opportunities as I can (both formal and informal). This last year, I have also been serving on the board of directors for NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications).

    Vicky Chun: There’s an organization called Uplifting Athletes, and it’s working right now (I hope it will grow) with football programs, mainly Division I, but they help raise money for rare diseases. It’s run by Scott Shirley, who was a former athlete, and he has a very unique story. … And I’ve grown up always loving Jane Goodall, so the Jane Goodall Institute I’ll always support as well.

    Susan Cohig: Anything related to children, with a focus on education and health.

    Reagan Feeney: I’m drawn to anything related to young children. Currently, I spend my extra energy as a board member of The Growing Place, a nonprofit preschool devoted to building strong and independent young children.

    Leslie Gamez: Team USA, of course, and anything in youth sports. It is critical to get young people interested and engaged in any sporting activity at an early age. Sports builds confidence and teaches important life skills that can be carried through to enhance all aspects of life and set the stage for healthy living.

    Christine Garrity: The Folds of Honor Foundation and the PGA’s Diversity Scholarship Program.

    Alison Giordano: Stand Up To Cancer. We’ve gotten very involved with it at MasterCard, and it is a great cause.

    Michelle Grech: My favorite cause is my commitment to finding a cure for arthritis, especially since I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. I think there is an opportunity to challenge people’s convention that arthritis is an older person’s disease. I have truly enjoyed working with Mary Battle, the wife of Alabama AD Bill Battle, on this cause, as her daughter, Kayla, suffers from RA, as well. We have an opportunity to make a real difference by sharing our stories to help other young people live a normal, healthy, active lifestyle despite the challenges of arthritis.

    Mimi Griffin: Any nonprofit that has as its goal the personal and economic empowerment of women.

    Jennifer Hanley: Nationwide Children’s Hospital. They are globally ranked in terms of all the specialties they’re in. A lot of our sports marketing efforts go to raise additional funds for the hospital.

    Lynn Hickey: My daughter had open-heart surgery in high school due to a heart defect, and so helping families with children with heart defects is very important to us. I just joined a local charity board called HeartGift San Antonio that helps to raise money for heart surgeries for disadvantaged families. I am also very supportive of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and am involved on campus with a faculty/staff faith-based group called First Light that is extending programming to our students.

    Pam Hollander: Cancer charities. A couple of years ago, I had two family members sick at the same time: my sister-in-law with breast cancer, and her son with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

    Kelly Krauskopf: Catch the Stars Foundation. Tamika Catchings shows what professional athletes can do to change a child’s life.

    Rachel Lewis: KidSport (provides access to sport for disadvantaged youth); CH.I.L.D. Foundation.

    Lucia McKelvey: Anything that promotes a promising future for kids, both academically and through sports, is on my top list of causes. I’m also an advocate of cancer foundations like Race for the Cure, which leverages sports as a means to gain awareness and raise crucial funding.

    Paula Miller: The NASCAR Foundation. The charitable arm of the NASCAR industry does good deeds across the sport.

    Kathy Milthorpe: The LPGA Foundation’s Girls Golf program, the United Way and local economic development activities.

    Diana Myers: I love to support friends and family who set personal running or biking goals to raise money for quality charities.

    Kim Ng: Kids in Sports, National Public Radio.

    Regina O’Brien: The First Tee. One of the things that is really important about our sport is to get kids involved, and I think The First Tee is an excellent organization that gets kids out there to play golf and also at the same time teaches them values in life that they can use day in and day out.

    Maidie Oliveau: I am on the board of the California State Parks Foundation.

    Ailey Penningroth: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Donate Life.

    Patty Power: Sports Video Group Sports Broadcasting Fund.

    Donna Providenti: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Cycle for Survival is an amazing event that LeadDog produces. MSKCC has treated both my parents with great success, so it hits close to home.

    Judy Rose: Children’s causes (fitness; abuse; literacy); women’s issues (domestic violence; wellness).

    Julie Sobieski: Supporting my local community through the local food pantry and my church.

    Amy Stanton: ASPCA, Humane Society, Women’s Sports Foundation.

    Deborah Tymon: Military and veterans charities, including the Warrior Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project.

    Lori Webb: Father Flanagan’s Boys & Girls Town, ALS [Association], and any organization dedicated to rescuing and adopting out abandoned dogs and cats.

    Check back here each day this week for more personal insight from our 2013 Game Changers.

    Tags: Game Changers
  • Could Tokyo's win boost Olympic chances for baseball and softball?

    Don Porter, co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, says he didn’t have a rooting interest in yesterday’s 2020 Olympic host city competition, but he expects the decision to award the Games to Tokyo to provide a boost for baseball and softball’s bid to return to the Olympic program.

    “They were all good cities and we would have been comfortable with all three, but Tokyo has a great history in baseball and softball,” Porter said in the lobby of the Hilton hours after Tokyo won the 2020 Olympics.

    Baseball has been popular in Japan since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig first visited the country in 1934, and in a stroke of good fortune, the organizers of the baseball and softball bid made a video for their presentation today that includes footage of the two Major League Baseball legends playing in Tokyo. They hope that it underscores the international appeal of baseball and softball and highlights how well received the sport would be in Tokyo if it returned to the Olympics in 2020.

    A win today for baseball and softball would be an upset. Wrestling is the clear favorite. But that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of wrestling's competitors, squash and baseball/softball. Both sports are looking for any boost they can get to help them overtake wrestling.

    Baseball remains the most popular team sport in Japan and Porter said that should help the sport with its bid.

    Porter yesterday said that he had not spoken to Tokyo 2020 delegates about lobbying for baseball and softball, but he was hopeful that they would take their own initiative to encourage IOC members to add the sport in time for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

    It’s the sport’s third bid for the Games. The sport has worked since its last bid to address issues that hurt it in the past. It combined the baseball and softball federations to give it more gender equality, and it stands to benefit from Major League Baseball’s new approach to combating performance-enhancing drugs, which was an issue in 2008.

    But Porter acknowledged yesterday that winning won’t be easy.

    “We’re still trying to get support,” he said.

    Tags: Baseball, Olympics, Japan, International
  • Madrid, Istanbul had too many blemishes to win IOC's beauty pageant

    The competition to host the 2020 Olympics wasn’t a beauty contest. It was a contest to see which candidate city could best conceal its blemishes.

    Tokyo won that battle, with ease.

    After all, what’s a minor nuclear leak today compared to an economy that is in tatters or a violent crackdowns against protesters?

    “The other two were just too risky,” IOC member Dennis Oswald said of Istanbul and Madrid after the vote.

    Risk was what the IOC wanted to avoid this time. It is dealing with enough of that already. Its gamble on Sochi has been repaid by overspending – to the tune of $50 billion – and international condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay legislation. Its bet on Rio and the promise of South America is being overshadowed by concerns about construction delays.

    That’s why Tokyo fell just six votes short of winning the election outright in the first round, and it’s why the city won with a clear 60-36 majority in the second round.

    Compared to its peers, Tokyo offered the best option for the Olympic brand, right now. It is a dependable city that has hosted the Games before. It has a strong infrastructure in place and $4.5 billion in the bank to build 10 new venues. And it has the world’s third-largest GDP.

    Madrid remains mired in a recession. Its youth unemployment rate is 56 percent and many young people, who the IOC consider to be the future brand ambassadors of the Olympics, are leaving the country in search of work. And with 80 percent of its venues in place, it didn’t plan to do a lot of the construction and work that often drives interest in the Games in the seven years after a host city is named.

    Istanbul, on the other hand, had plenty in its favor. It offered 400 million youth and a fast-growing economy. But all of that was offset by the problems it presented. Frankly, it looked way too similar to Rio. Like Rio, it is known for terrible congestion, and it has a restless youth population that was at the forefront of protests this summer. It also shares a border with warring Syria, which didn’t do it any favors.

    It was easy to lose sight of Madrid and Istanbul’s blemishes in the lobby of the Hilton after the vote. Everyone from IOC members to sponsors to bid advisors mentioned a Spanish newspaper article that printed the names of IOC members who planned to vote for Madrid. The story, they said, irritated enough voters to cost Madrid a precious vote or two, causing it to lose in a runoff with Istanbul.

    But Tokyo’s victory wasn’t because of a newspaper article in Spain. It nearly won the vote outright, and it did it by being exactly what the IOC wanted.

    Safe, dependable, financially sound, and, relatively speaking, risk free.

    Tags: IOC, Olympics
  • Tokyo offers safe, financially lucrative choice

    Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games, beating out bids from Istanbul and Madrid, by promising to deliver a celebratory, dependable and financially lucrative event.
    In choosing Tokyo, the IOC opted to hand the Olympics off to the only city that has hosted the Games before. The 1964 host city offered stability and guaranteed on-time delivery at a time when the IOC has expressed uneasiness about preparations in Rio, which is already behind schedule on many developments for the 2016 Games.
    As Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee leader Tsunekazu Takeda said, “Tokyo can be trusted to be (the IOC’s) safe pair of hands and much more.”

    The bid’s presenters, which ranged from Crown Princess Masako to Olympic fencer Yuki Ota, emphasized the city’s dependability repeatedly before IOC members. They underscored the business opportunity its city offered, noting that it would deliver the biggest live TV audience, biggest ticket market and $1 billion in local sponsorship. They also highlighted the $4.5 billion they’ve already set aside to cover the costs of 10 venues and other developments necessary to host the Games.
    They also tackled the issue of recent nuclear leaks from Japan’s Fukushima power plant, which suffered several meltdowns after the 2011 earthquake. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the IOC that radiation levels in water and food were a hundredth the level that the World Health Organization specified as safe.
    “I shall take responsibility to implement programs to render this situation completely problem free,” Abe said.
    That seemed to be enough for IOC members. In the end, they opted to roll the dice on the issue of radiation rather than take the Olympics to Istanbul, which had violently put down protests over the summer and recently had 31 athletes test positive for peformance-enhancing drugs, and Madrid, which remains mired in a recession and had a recent doping scandal of its own.
    From a business perspective, Tokyo offered the biggest opportunity to drive local revenue. Bid organizers expect to deliver $931 million in local sponsorship, $776 million in ticket sales and $140 million in licensing sales. The organizing committee will retain those revenues.

    Sead Dizdarevic, chairman and co-CEO of Olympic hospitality company Jet Set Sports, expects high demand for tickets to a Tokyo Games.

    “Core demand for Olympic tickets has been increasing for some time now, and with the election of one of Asia’s most interesting cities, I would anticipate demand to be quite strong,” Dizdarevic said. “Asian interest in attending the Games will be naturally high, and people from other regions will see this as the chance to visit both Japan and the Olympic Games, all in one trip.”
    When it comes to the IOC’s business partners, Tokyo had the least to offer. The city’s top hotel rooms cost three times as much as Madrid’s and Istanbul’s comparable rooms, which will make hospitality programs very expensive, and the market is well developed, which means it will be difficult to convert Olympic marketing efforts into gains in market share.
    “For those interested in growing their brand, there are great opportunities to develop new brands and products in a developed country, but for existing brands, Tokyo is hard because it’s not a big growth opportunity,” said Davis Butler, a former IOC executive and the founder of the sports marketing agency Encompass International. “Everyone already has market share and it’s hard to move the ticker in a market like that.”
    Though multi-national sponsors may not activate as aggressively in Tokyo, U.S. and elite global athletes stand to benefit from the amount of sponsorship spending by Japanese companies, said Olympic athlete representative Evan Morgenstein, who represents swimmer Dara Torres and beach volleyball player Phil Dalhausser.
    “Obviously there’s a love affair between the Japanese and American athletes,” Morgenstein said. “They’re treated like royalty over there. I’ve had athletes that have had their best experience in Japan. It’s a place that they love going, and companies that execute over there execute significant programs.”
    Of the three options, Japan poses the biggest challenge for NBC. The city is 13 hours ahead of the East coast. That means live events will take place while many viewers sleep, and marquee events will be done as they awake in the morning, which could make it tough to draw viewers to prime-time broadcasts.
    To get around that, NBC could push the IOC to schedule some marquee events in the morning as it did during the Beijing Games when swimming was moved to the morning so that it could be shown live in prime time in the U.S.
    In a statement, NBC Chairman Mark Lazarus expressed only excitement that the Olympics were returning to Tokyo.
    “Tokyo is one of the world’s most fascinating cities, and will provide a spectacular setting for the 2020 Olympic Games,” Larazus said. “Tokyo is particularly special to NBC as our rich Olympic heritage began there with the 1964 Olympic Games.”
    The decision also creates an issue for the USOC, which is contemplating a bid for the 2024 Olympics.
    Heading into the 2020 selection, Berlin and Paris were mentioned as potential candidates for the 2024 Games. Tokyo’s selection over Madrid ensures that there will be at least one viable European competitor for those Summer Game and creates tough competition for a U.S. city looking to woo votes from the European-dominated IOC.
    “You could argue on each case as either good or bad for a U.S. bid, but I believe the USA is in the best position for 2024,” said Harvey Schiller, the USOC’s former executive director.

    For additional coverage of the 125th IOC Session, see: SBJ's IOC presidential vote preview, a breakdown of the candidates and a preview of Sunday's Olympic sports vote.

    Tags: International, Olympics
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