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Volume 24 No. 113
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Sports Execs Discuss Relationships Between Facilities, Sponsors

Attendees at the AT&T Sports Facilities and Franchises conference this morning got a preview of this afternoon’s tour of New Meadowlands Stadium, with Giants Senior VP & CMO Mike Stevens describing some of the sponsor activation at the venue during a panel titled, “Sponsor/Property Roundtable: Developing Unique Partnerships.” Stevens said the four Cornerstone deals are “like nothing I have ever seen” at a sports facility. Stevens said these deals give partners -- PepsiCo, Met Life, Verizon and Budweiser -- “just a dominant, dominant presence” that extends to non-gamedays. He added each sponsor area includes private club areas, and these are each “very distinctive and different.” White Sox Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Brooks Boyer asked Stevens, “How are you going to layer in a naming rights partner?” Stevens responded, “For how much space (the Cornerstone partners) get, trust me, there’s more.” When asked whether the naming-rights market is more vibrant now after a tough period economically, Stevens joked, “Vibrant? It only takes one.” Stevens: “People are talking again. … Marketing is back. It’s reflective of the economy.” Stevens also was asked about what the value of the Farmers Field deal for the expected NFL stadium in L.A. means for the market. Stevens: “Every deal is great for the industry, but they are all very, very market-specific.”

Rooks says PepsiCo is constantly monitoring the
value of its sports sponsorship deals
HAPPY RETURNS: The panel also featured two representatives of the brand side of the marketing business: PepsiCo Dir of Sports Marketing Mark Rooks and MillerCoors Dir of Sports & Entertainment Marketing Ryan Luckey. Luckey’s brand activates at the White Sox’ U.S. Cellular Field, and he said the activation is “street to seat.” Luckey: “The value of communicating our brand matters to the 42,000 people inside the stadium. The value of communicating to the 55 million people passing U.S. Cellular Field on the express way is every bit as valuable.” The brand reps also had some more general comments on assessing the ROI of deals. They agreed that putting a hard number on the value is difficult, but Rooks said PepsiCo is “actually monitoring” its deals and will “course correct where we can.” Luckey said marketers at times look for the “Ferrari of measurement tools.” Luckey said his brand tries to measure impact in a way that is “simple, repeatable, affordable and credible. It’s more the reliable Toyota Camry of measurement tools.” He stressed the importance of retail activation numbers, “not so much brand awareness.” Luckey: “At Coors Light and Miller Lite, we don’t have a brand awareness problem.” Stevens pointed out the variety of activation that is possible with sponsorship compared to traditional media buys: “Look at what somebody like us can deliver and what we can do together versus classical marketing expenditures.” Boyer also said one “can’t put an ROI on a connection” to a team’s brand.

SUPER MEN: Stevens said the Super Bowl at New Meadowlands Stadium will be “the largest single event that has ever come to this market bar-none. Not just in sports.” Rooks: “Obviously, we activate around the Super Bowl as an NFL partner, and it’s always great when we can activate around a PepsiCo facility as well. And then you layer on top that it’s in our back yard, and it’s even more of a win-win for us.”