Rich Luker, Exec Dir of the ESPN/Chilton Sports Poll, presented the results of their year-long survey of Americans' attitudes toward sports. Over the course of 1994, 13,000 adults (avg. 250/week) were surveyed by phone. The margin of error is no greater than 5% for any results. THE LEAGUES: Interest in all four leagues is up at the end of the year, as compared to January '94. NHL from 28% to 40%; NBA from 48% to 59%; MLB from 48% to 57%; and the NFL from 63% to 76%. Luker noted one break-down that should be of interest for the NBA: The league faces a drop in fan support at the beginning of its season. While interest was at 64% in November when the NBA season kicked off, it dropped to 59% in December. Without research from other years for comparison, Luker could not say whether this was a statistical "blip" or an emerging seasonal pattern. BASEBALL: As for baseball, by December over 50% cared if the sport comes back, compared to 44% in September when the players went out. Asked how long the strike would go, the number that said "through '95" rose steadily through the Fall peaking at 47% in November. But by December, the number was down to 41%. Similarly, the number of those who said they would boycott baseball peaked at 43% in November, dropping to 37% in December. However, of those boycotters, the number who said they would sit out the entire '95 season rose consistently to a top level of 92% in December. SOCCER: The survey identified a 30% core of Americans interested in soccer, but Luker questioned whether the soccer community will be able to maintain interest into '96 when MLS is scheduled to kick off. SPONSORS: The most mentioned sponsors: Nike 27%, Anheuser- Busch 26%, GM 11%, Miller 8%, Reebok 7%, Starter 6%, Coke 6%, Champion 6%. Nike showed strength among college football and basketball, while GM drew the most response from its golf presence (THE DAILY).
Sponsorships Advertising Marketing
American Isuzu Motors has extended it agreement with NBC Sports and the Celebrity Golf Association to continue as the title sponsor of the Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship. The event will be held July 7-9 in Lake Tahoe. This is Isuzu's third year of sponsorship. Past participants in the tournament include John Elway, Mario Lemeiux, Dan Quayle, Charles Barkley, Dan Marino and Lawrence Taylor. Celebrity golfers qualify for the $400,000 in prize money by having a USGA-certified handicap of 10 or under (NBC/Isuzu).
Coors Brewing Co. set a new sales record for the 10th straight year in 1994. 20.3M barrels of malt beverages were sold during the year ending Dec. 25, up 2.7% over last year (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/17)....PepsiCo is launching a multimillion dollar "attempt" to break Coca-Cola's "dominance of international cola markets." A series of TV ads in 30 countries will take a "humorous swipe at its rival." The ads will test the laws of comparative advertising in some countries, including the UK where attempts to knock competitors' products have been governed by "stringent legislation" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/19).
Cotter & Co., parent of True Value hardware, has a new 3- year promotional deal with the NFL. The deal, which George Lazarus in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE estimates to be about $25M, allows True Value to become the official hardware store sponsor of the NFL. As part of the package, True Value will have access to team logos for products and premiums. True Value confirms that it still is negotiating with MLB for a promotion. Meanwhile, True Value dropped its sponsorship of bowling (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/19).
Three studies conducted by American Sports Data Inc. (ASD),a Westchester, N.Y. firm specializing in sports and leisure, showthat women "are extremely under-rated as a marketing target inthe world of sports." The studies found that Women represent ahigh percentage of sports viewers, participants and potentialconsumers. RESULTS: A study of 2,410 Americans on sports viewershiprevealed that two out of every five network viewers of profootball, basketball, and baseball are women. Women viewershipincreased in most sports, even "decidedly male" sports likeboxing. However, since 1990, women have lost "some interest" inprofessional tennis, auto racing, and wrestling. Research alsoshows women have an extremely high awareness of sporting goodsbrands, underscoring "their importance as potential productbuyers." Women are "just as likely as men to recognize ... maleoriented" brands such as Converse, and Wilson. ASD PresidentHarvey Lauer said the research shows that "women are the keysporting goods shoppers for children." Harvey said the marketingimplications of the study show networks should strive for a morebalanced mix of gender-specific advertising, and manufacturersneed a "sharper technical focus on sporting goods and equipmentmade to accommodate the needs of women" (American SportsData/Sports Media Index Report).
|SPORT||TOTAL VIEWERSHIP||% FEMALE|
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If the Super Bowl is a blowout by halftime, ABC could be looking at "massive 'give backs,'" according to Neal Travis of the N.Y. POST. Officially, there is no guaranteed rating for the Super Bowl, but according to a source at ABC: "We would obviously want to stay on side with the kind of advertiser who is willing to spend $1 million for 30 seconds of air time. ... Advertisers in the second half, who will have paid exactly the same as those in the first, will feel entitled to some relief, like free make- good commercials at later dates" (N.Y. POST, 1/19)....In this morning's USA TODAY, Bruce Horovitz & Dottie Enrico note: "To sports marketers, next week's Super Bowl looks like a dud, as do most of its players." While 49ers Steve Young and Deion Sanders are expected to pick up a few more endorsements, the Chargers "have little to offer in the way of sure-shot pitchmen." Dave Burns of Burns Sports Celebrity Service notes that jockeying by sponsors for the game's potential stars is at an "all-time low." Chargers QB Stan Humphries and linebacker Junior Seau "are not expected to garner much sponsor interest," even if the Chargers win. Nova Lanktree of Lanktree Sports Celebrity Service, on Steve Young: "He's like Al Gore -- competent, attractive but a little inaccessible for advertisers" (USA TODAY, 1/19). MIAMI VICE: The NFL and NFLP took out a full-page ad in USA TODAY warning consumers of fake Super Bowl merchandise (USA TODAY, 1/19)....NFL Communications Dir Greg Aiello issued a warning to any players who associate themselves in any promotional activity with a Super Bowl cruise next week that will feature gambling, a nude limbo contest, a pool full of gelatin and 200 naked show girls. The cruise, being organized by "nude bar magnate" Michael Peter, claims that 50 current and former football stars will participate (MIAMI HERALD, 1/19).
The 17th International Sport Summit closed business after a second successful day. Wednesday's keynoters were USOC Interim Exec Dir JOHN KRIMSKY, 1995 Special Olympics Organizing Committee President TIM SHRIVER, White Sox Vice Chair EDDIE EINHORN, and ESPN/Chilton Sports Poll Exec Dir RICHARD LUKER. Topics discussed at the afternoon sessions included: Tennis at the Crossroads, Sports Finance, and How Agencies Can Help Market to Sponsors. Highlights follow: JOHN KRIMSKY said that, through the efforts of the USOC, 90% of U.S. Olympic athletes train without cost. While Krimsky said that Americans "have become stockholders in their Olympic team," he added: "If there are no sponsors, there are no games as we know them." TIM SHRIVER said the Special Olympics World Games "will be the largest sports event in the world in 1995." Shriver: "We want to be the L.A. of the Special Olympics movement." EDDIE EINHORN: "Sports in this country have grown too fast -- and not given most time to grow with it. Now we're catching up." While admitting that baseball has made big mistakes in the past, Einhorn declared the sport "healthy" and predicted that The Baseball Network would survive. TOM HYLAND, a partner at Coopers & Lybrand, discussed the economics of sports and the relationship between profitability and franchise value. He noted that media contracts are the key factor differentiating the franchise values among the leagues, while stadium and venue situations are the key in differentiating franchise values among the various teams within each league. As for profit vs. value, he said, "There is not much relationship." According to Hyland, teams are sold on the basis of revenues, not profit. DAVE CHECKETTS, President of MSG and the Knicks, outlined a simple model of the sports economy: Live events drive the broadcast business, which in turn, helps drive the properties business. Asked about the source of future revenues, Checketts cited the international market, but noted that it will be a greater opportunity for TV and licensing than for live events -- although some live events will be staged overseas to help boost those other entities. RICH McNERNEY, ATP Dir of Marketing/America, noted that participation is down in tennis, but said that a combined approach of a "strong professional game" and grassroots programs aimed at kids can help bring the sport back. HARLAN STONE, Senior VP of Marketing and Sales at Advantage International, presented his ways an agency can help a sponsor develop a successful program, including: No ad hoc decisions; encourage clients to include research in any program; think long- term; disclose any conflicts; know about the client's business; a "C idea" with "A+ execution" is better than the other way around; get the client to understand that sports is a "no rules" business and that their regular rules and practices may not apply. DOUGLAS PIRNIE, Dir of Marketing at IMG, stressed that, despite what they might say, the client's first priority is to "sell more stuff." While noting that there is "no rate card" in the sports business, Pirnie did say that IMG uses a system to evaluate sponsorships before the client enters into any deal. ALEX NIEROTH, Managing Dir/Exec VP of Clarion Performance Properties, noted the increasing influence of corporations in the sports world. But with the trend towards downsizing in corporate America, many companies are looking outside their ranks to agencies to develop sports sponsorships. What can agencies bring to the table? Identification of sponsorship opportunities, expertise in the field, objectivity, the strategies and tactics to get results from a particular concept, as well as creativity, event execution and P.R. capabilities (THE DAILY).
Ski resorts from "Canada to Connecticut are suffering warm weather meltdowns that have left many of New England's best slopes speckled with green grass," according to a report in the BOSTON GLOBE. As of early this week, 35 of the 69 ski areas in the New England Ski Areas Council were listed as closed. Areas that remained open this week "were mostly those that had invested heavily in snowmaking equipment" (Ackerman & Arnold, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/18). SNOWBOARD REPORT: Michael Farber reports on snowboarding in the current issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Snowboarding is "the new craze at America's winter playgrounds," and the National Sporting Goods Association estimates that by the year 2000, there will be close to four million snowboarders. Farber writes that not "only has a new sport and culture emerged, but also a new industry" (Michael Farber, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 1/23 issue).
Ogden Corp. announced that its Entertainment Services division has been awarded a 5-year contract to provide food and beverage and merchandise services for Wrigley Field. Ogden will also manage the Cubs' mail order business and mall stores outside the park (Ogden).