SBJ: Want a new gift choice? Take a seat SBG: Leeds United Set For Financial Boost 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: SB XLVIII To Be Most Expensive Ever SBD: Jeff Behnke To Be NBC VP/NASCAR Production SBD: Executive Transactions
October 7, 2013 02:20 PM
Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said of the NFL moving last night’s Chargers-Raiders start time to 11:35pm ET to accommodate Saturday's Tigers-A’s game: “This is twice that baseball has beaten them this year. I’d be very worried if I were in that office with Goodell” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 10/4). ESPN’s Pablo Torre said the scheduling move "is inconvenient but consistent with what the NFL has long preached to players: Nothing good happens after midnight” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 10/6).
NOT IN GOOD COMPANY: N.Y. Daily News’ Mike Lupica said Alex Rodriguez is becoming the "Lance Armstrong of baseball, professional litigant just without the denials about drug use because the one thing you never see or hear from Rodriguez in all his filings and all his public pronouncements is this, ‘I never did it’” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 10/6). N.Y. Daily News' Bob Raissman said of the timing of A-Rod's lawsuit, filed in the midst of his ongoing arbitration hearings: "They take a hand grenade in the form of the suit and throw it in there to blow the whole thing up and change the direction of the publicity" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 10/4).
CONDOLEEZZA AND ME: ESPN’s Lee Corso said if he could place anyone on the selection committee for the College Football Playoff it would be Vince Dooley because "he’s got unquestioned integrity and knowledge.” Desmond Howard responded, “I would put coach Corso on that list” (“College GameDay,” ESPN, 10/6).
MILITARY APPRECIATION: CBS’ Spero Dedes, on Saturday's Air Force-Navy game: “Three days ago this cherished service academy rivalry game between Air Force and Navy was in serious doubt. Today, they will play in front of a record-setting crowd in Annapolis” (“Air Force-Navy,” CBS, 10/5).
ROOT OF THE ISSUE: ESPN’s Bob Ley, on the PBS documentary “League of Denial:” “The central question here, what did the NFL know and when did it know about concussion research and the long-term brain damage done by the violence common to football? There is a powerful body of evidence showing a long campaign of denial by the NFL, that there was simply no linkage between concussion and later health issues” (“Sunday NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 10/6).
October 3, 2013 06:46 PM
Social Trends Impacting Consumer Behavior
Eric Fernandez, MediaLink
Jeff Mirman, Turner Sports
John Mitchell, CSE
EXPANDING REACH AND CONVERSATION: The panelists agreed that it was important not to spend too much time focused on one specific social platform, but to have a hand in all the different mediums to expand reach and further conversations. Mitchell said, “You want to be on all these different platforms because you have different consumers consuming the different stories across all those. ...What’s important when you have a big event is to make sure you are everywhere socially. You have to start the conversation on all these different platforms.” Mirman added, “We try to look at what is right for the moment and what’s right for the fan or brand. So we try to spread as much of this stuff as we can to try to get a better net and get as many different impressions as we can.”
What sports property is on the rise?
Mitchell: There’s a lot of fascination around boxing and Ultimate Fighting and things like that, even WWE to a standpoint, and how people really get passionate about that. As long as there are people out there talking about it, brands have to be aware of it.
Fernandez: The UFC. From the perspective of a digital standpoint, they don’t view themselves as a sporting entity, they view themselves as a content company. As such, they’re very progressive in how they go about distributing that content. They’re really creative and I think they had a chip on their shoulder right from the get-go.
Mirman: I always appreciate Red Bull and the way they view content and use it in the social space. I think they’re always pushing the envelope and they’re doing new things all the time. Everything they do has such a huge effect on the press and the media space.
What are you keeping an eye on in the next year?
Mirman: It’s all about understanding data. It’s the Wild West right now.
Mitchel: It’s also the context, and how brands start responding to that (data). That’s going to be something that’s going to be very powerful that brands haven’t completely attacked yet. What brands haven’t fully tapped yet is this ability to reach out and reward people all the time.
Fernandez: What’s going to be next? Vine is 6-8 months old and that caused Instagram to come up with video, and so what’s going to be next? What’s going to be the next device or what’s going to be the next platform that people really gravitate towards?
October 3, 2013 05:25 PM
October 3, 2013 04:59 PM
Twitter Head of Sports Partnerships Omid Ashtari sat for a wide-ranging Q&A at the ’13 Social Media & Sports Series, where he discussed the company’s new content deal with the NFL, the relationship between Twitter and TV, how sports teams can better engage their fans through social media, and whether there is competition with Facebook.
Why the NFL deal works: “We’ve been working with a lot of media partners, specifically content owners, to help them extend their reach on social mediums, Twitter specifically. We’d done deals with the NBA and ESPN and we looked at the NFL because you look at Twitter on Sundays during NFL seasons and the conversation is dominated by NFL. We wanted to make sure that we could help the NFL get to that audience. We don’t all have RedZone and we don’t all have every channel, so it’s an opportunity for the fans to see highlights, whether it’s postgame or halftime, and on Thursday games you get to see it in real time. So it was a matter of helping our partners, the media entities, reach out to a bigger audience, some of who might not be watching the games, and give them a chance to see the highlights and then tune in to the game, and vice versa leading people to tweet more about the game.”
On the new Amplify ad platform: “The premise is actually pretty simple. We’re helping the partner, in this case the NFL, to reach an audience beyond that real-time component. At the end of the day Twitter is real time conversation and the tweets are flowing. If you tweet something at, let’s say 5 p.m., and you log on at 5:10, you may have missed it. But we’re able to help that content get in front of you as someone who’s a fan of the NFL even after it happened. It’s an extension of the audience. And the opportunity there is also to bring in a sponsor to be associated with that content, which creates a new revenue stream for the NFL.”
Working with Geoff Reiss & Ben Grossman: “We wanted to bring in more people with a lot of media experience. Jeff worked at ESPN for well over a decade … and he has a lot of sports relationships. It’s important for us to keep making our relationships stronger, so we brought in Geoff. Ben, similarly, has a lot of experience in the media business and we wanted to just grow our team and build more relationships because we look at our platforms as being so complementary to the media entities that we wanted to bring in some more folks in the media industry.”
On the relationship between Twitter and TV: “We’re working with Nielsen and essentially giving them our data so they can analyze it, and they’ll put out a Nielsen Twitter/TV rating, which is coming out in the future. They’re able to tell programmers who’s talking about this show, how many people are tweeting, how many tweets have been sent out, and more rich data will come around, in terms of where are people are tweeting from. … We know anecdotally from watching something happen on Twitter and then turning the channel that it works. And Nielsen proved that with a study that came out in early August that there’s an actual causation between social conversation, specifically on Twitter, and ratings going up.”
Trial and error with sports team Twitter feeds: “Teams are constantly live tweeting stuff throughout the season, but we wanted to figure out further, what is the stuff that has the most traction, what is going to give them the most return. … So we staged this conversation with five teams that MLB helped us set up to just test different things out. The biggest thing that came out of this, which everyone assumes but it was proven, is people love media. They want to get closer to the action and they want to get that insider perspective that nobody else has. What was fascinating is the performance of Vine -- people love the story telling that’s happening on Vine.”
Getting involved in big events: “The Super Bowl was great because we were fortunate that a lot of the conversation was happening on our platform, but also what ended up happening was the brands were actually shining during that period of blackout. Oreo did a very unique ad that got a lot of mention and press, and Calvin Klein did a Vine of a guy working on his abs while the lights were out. … Us being a part of the conversation is simply making sure that our partners are able to use the platforms without anything going wrong.”
Best Twitter accounts: “The L.A. Kings is far and away one of my favorite accounts. They’ve taken on the personality of the club but they also sort of shine and show what the personality of the team is. There are two specific examples. One was during the elections. They sent out a tweet on Election Day that said, ‘Make sure you get out there and vote because you will impact who’s going to shake our hand when we go to the White House.’ Then on the other end of the spectrum, the day they got knocked out of the playoffs by the Blackhawks, they sent a tweet to the Penguins that said, ‘Do you want to go get a drink?’ because the Penguins had lost the night before. It’s just personality. It shines through and it shows. The NBA is phenomenal because they’re constantly highlighting their players, celebrating them, sharing stuff that’s really interesting to the fans in real time.”
Advice for improving feeds: “We’re not asking you to get closer to the edge. We’re asking you to be authentic and share what you would share with your fans anyways and just have fun with it. Part of getting closer and getting more insight is having a little fun with it. … We’re just continuing to try to educate our partners and brainstorm with them in what is this content that’s going to differentiate you and the stuff that your fans really want, but that’s also complementary to what’s happening on TV. You’re never going to replace the live action that’s happening there, but you’re complementing it with either social conversation or just insights and bringing them a little bit closer.”
Can Twitter sustain the suggestion that 50% of tweets are sports related? “Anything that’s live, anything that is going to drive conversation, anything that is talked about publicly, does well on our platform. Sports – it’s evergreen. There’s a game pretty much every single day of the year. … Whether it stays at 50% or 40% or 60%, I can’t predict that, it fluctuates. If you look at it on a month-to-month basis it depends on how much sports are on in a month. But because every single sports event is live, is conversation, is public, it does really well on our platform. You can’t say that about all television shows. A lot of television shows are scripted, and so it’s not the same. It may be airing live but it’s at different times on the East Coast and the West Coast. Sports is happening simultaneously in terms of the viewership by everyone around the country.”
Offline opportunities: “Encouraging our partners to educate their fan base. At the end of the day we want to help any team get as many of their fans as possible on the platform so they can communicate with them in real time.”
Can Twitter drive ticket sales? “In helping (teams) build their follower base, and doing these case studies around live tweeting, we’re trying to figure out what people engage with. We don’t know yet because Twitter’s not a commerce platform. Do people want to buy tickets on Twitter? I don’t know how much impulse purchasing of tickets happen. Surely if a team has 1,000 tickets left to sell they could potentially send out a tweet at noon and try to drive people to a site. Whether that ever lives on Twitter or not, I don’t know, but we’re not going to become the commerce platform but we may enable other people to do it.”
On competition with other social media: “These are social mediums that people use to communicate, but they each have different utilities. There’s certain things that differentiate Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and us. The things that we look at and focus on are the live, the conversations, the public. We hone in on what our strengths are and try to keep building on top of that. If people are using one, they’re probably using the other. Facebook may be the biggest right now because they’ve been around the longest and they’ve also amassed the largest audience, but they have a different utility than Twitter. So we look at them as companies that are in the same space as us and we’re all sort of rising together.”
October 3, 2013 03:21 PM
SNY's Marc Malusis said the Yankees "outpriced a lot of people" with tickets, and the new Yankee Stadium, "even when it's packed, (does not have) the same feel as the old ballpark." N.Y. Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano said fans "don’t necessarily care where the payroll is.” He added, “That's a manufactured crisis by the owners. It only matters what they do with the money" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 10/2).
FOLLOW THE LEADER: ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada said of concussions, "On this issue, unlike the steroid issue, the NFL is vastly more reactive than they are proactive, very much like baseball" ("OTL," ESPN, 10/2).
HIT LIST: CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb said of 49ers S Donte Whitner wanting to change his name to “Hitner”: “I’m very fearful of someone breaking out a shirt that says, ‘Heil Hitner’” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 10/2). NFL Network's Steve Wyche said, "I think more players, as we kind of get into enterprising genre, are going to take control of their identity and their message. So maybe there's some more guys that are going to change their names, so maybe they can control it so maybe the league itself doesn't necessarily own all of the rights to things like that" ("NFL AM," NFL Network, 10/3).
October 3, 2013 02:55 PM
Connecting with Consumers
Mark Ford, Time Inc. Sports Group
Michael Pine, WWE
Zane Stoddard, NASCAR
Greg Via, The Gillette Co./P&G
WWE's Pine, on pro wrestling's seamless integration of entertainment: "We control our own story lines. It's scripted! Sorry, for anyone who didn't know. Entertainment and sports comes together for us in one nice package."
Ford of Time Inc, on the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue: "There's no question that swimsuit is a great franchise for this legendary franchise. It reaches 70 million people and has generated a billion dollars in revenue. "
NASCAR's Stoddard, on the aftermath of the limited appeal of Ron Howard's Formula 1 movie, which cost $30 million to make and grossed $10 million in the U.S. in its opening weekend of wide release: "It's doing okay, not great. (NASCAR) has a project at Universal. If our movie was ready to come out now, they might be in more of a wait-and-see mode."
Gillette's Via said that the company's agreement with Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin calls for his facial hair to be, "well-trimmed, not Grizzly Adams." During the NHL playoffs, when growing beards has become a tradition for players, Ovechkin is entitled to go grizzly. Via also said that Gillette has some endorsement deals with a few international soccer players that will be announced soon.
October 3, 2013 02:33 PM
Inside Disney's 'Million Dollar Arm'
J.B. Bernstein, Agent
Mark Ciardi, Producer
The movie, set for release in May, chronicles Bernstein's efforts in India to stage a reality show in the search of baseball's version of Yao Ming in that country. The two winning players, Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, were both drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009, with Singh still in their system as one of their top left-handed pitching prospects.
But rather than sell this as primarily an underdog baseball film, the producers intend to position "Million Dollar Arm" as more of a quirkier, inspirational story. A large part of the reasoning is financial, as American-made sports movies traditionally have been limited in their global audience appeal.
"Sports movies not easy. They're usually not what the studios are looking for, they're looking for big international hits with a lot of potential," said producer Mark Ciardi, speaking today at the CSE Sports Sponsorship Symposium. Ciardi's prior credits include "The Rookie," “Invincible," and "Miracle." "Sports are typically much more domestic, and limited in your [profit-and-loss] potential. And it certainly puts pressure on how much make those movies for.
"This is more of a double fish-out-of-water story, J.B. being in India, the boys being in America, with an inspirational twist. And because of that, we think there's a lot of international potential," Ciardi said.
"Million Dollar Arm," also features the debut of Jon Hamm in a starring movie role. Hamm, who plays Bernstein, has been in several supporting roles, including last year's comedy hit "Bridesmaids." But he has been selective in seeking a starring role as TV's "Mad Men" begins to wind down its run. Hamm, however, actively sought out Ciardi and Bernstein to be part of this project.
"The fact he chose this project is pretty cool," said Bernstein, who compared Hamm's emerging into a starring film role to George Clooney's transition after "ER." "This gives him an opportunity to a show a very different, non-Don Draper kind of side to him."
October 3, 2013 02:17 PM
Inside 'Draft Day'
Ali Bell, Producer
Tracy Perlman, NFL
Ivan Reitman, DirectorIt was important to both Reitman and the NFL that the league and the Draft be portrayed in an authentic way. All of the NFL’s sponsors – include Gatorade, Pespi, Frito Lay and GMC – are represented in the film, without any kind of separate deal. Perlman said, “All of our partners are in the film because it’s authentic to who we are. It’s authentic to what happens at the Draft.” The NFL Network and ESPN also play large roles in the film. Reitman said, “They are the great commentators of sports events, particularly football. They are the Draft as it’s portrayed on television and so they had to be a very big part of this film.” Lionsgate next week will begin pre-screening “Draft Day,” and the hope is the film will come out sometime between Super Bowl XLVIII in February and the ’14 NFL Draft in April.
*Producer Ali Bell on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s role in the film: “There’s nothing more credible than having the actual commissioner show up.”
*Reitman on Texans RB Arian Foster, who has a role in the film: “I think he’s got a future as an actor. He has this lovely quality. For a guy who pounds it up the field, he has extraordinary sensitivity in a close up. I actually moved him up to a larger part after I saw it.”
*Bell on getting other teams to participate: “It was sort of hard to get the other teams involved because one of the key plot elements of our script is that there’s a quarterback in the draft that’s ‘the best since Andrew Luck.’ There were teams that really wanted to be in the movie but were like, ‘We have quarterback issues we can’t do it.’ It was funny because everywhere we went life sort of imitated the script.”
*Reitman on Browns fans: “We filmed the opening day of the Cleveland Browns and … it was the first time I was ever on a professional football sideline. I got caught up in, and I could see, the emotionality of the Cleveland spectators who are well known as a remarkably rabid fan base that have been greatly disappointed over the last 20 years or so. You could see that there was a great hope this year, and they were in fact ahead at halftime and then they lost the game, and ... I suddenly felt that as if I was a Cleveland fan living in that city and what that really felt like.”
October 3, 2013 01:15 PM
October 3, 2013 12:47 PM
Super Bowl XLVIII Update
Adam Harter, Pepsi Beverages Co.
Alfred Kelly, NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee
Frank Supovitz, NFLPepsi is sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show again this year, and Pepsi Beverage Co. VP/Marketing & Consumer Engagement Adam Harter said, “We decided with the NFL – because it is such a huge investment for us – that we need to leverage that even more.” He added, “Part of our discussion around the NFL was how do we make sure halftime isn’t just 12 minutes that happen on the day of the game, but is an event that we can create anticipation and excitement for all the way from kickoff right through the game itself and hopefully create a conversation after the game that is a positive one.” The company this year was able to announce Bruno Mars as its halftime performer more than three months ahead of last year’s announcement, and that has allowed it to launch an “Are You Fan Enough” campaign as a leadup to the event. Harter added that the company is in the process of building a global brand identity, and one of the challenges for the Super Bowl will be involving the Frito Lay, Gatorade and Tropicana brands to “make sure this comes together as a true Pepsi Co. event.”
*Harter, on the importance of the halftime show: “The Super Bowl is not just about having the largest sports event in the country, but this is also the single largest music event. So we use that as a great example of how we can bring those music and sports platforms together. ... The two things that help grow our brand equity is being part of the music culture and part of the sports culture. This is the one chance to bring them together. “
*Kelly, on easing transportation concerns: “We are creating - the NFL and the host committee - bus programs for all of our big sponsors. That’s going to take care of 15,000 people that go there, and we’re creating something we’re going to call the Fan Express, which is going to be where we’re going to set up scheduled bus stops in Manhattan and different parts of New Jersey where people can pick up the bus.”
*Supovitz, on what will make the Super Bowl successful: “Full stadium at the end of the game; great ratings; competitive game; a little light snow during the course of the game, falling and caught by the lights that have stayed on the whole time.