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Volume 24 No. 115

Events and Attractions

ATP/WTA BNP Paribas Open CEO Raymond Moore “unveiled ambitious plans Tuesday to grow the international tennis event to attract 500,000 fans within five years,” and included in those plans is the “construction of a new 8,000-seat stadium to debut by 2014,” according to Leighton Ginn of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. In addition to the new stadium, plans call for “a new parking lot, entrance and box office, among other infrastructure improvements.” Moore said, “It’s an aggressive timeline and it’s an aggressive program.” He added tournament Owner Larry Ellison “doesn’t know anything else.” The proposed stadium “would be built on the north end of the 16,100-seat main stadium.” Moore said that designers have “come up with two different stadium plans at different cost points.” Moore: “We’ll be creating jobs. If we can get it done by 2014, we’ll be very happy, very excited. We will need a lot of cooperation from the city and the agencies that issue permits and approvals. We’re going through that whole process as we speak.” The tournament, which has “broken attendance records in 12 of the 13 years" since moving into Indian Wells Tennis Garden, "attracted a record 370,406 fans in March, surpassing 2011’s mark of 350,086.” Ellison during this year’s event said that he “plans to attract half-a-million fans in five years.” The BNP Paribas Open at 500,000 fans “would attract more fans than two of the sport’s Grand Slam tournaments -- Wimbledon and the French Open.” A new stadium “might allow the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to hold more events.” Moore said, “The smaller stadium will be more intimate. We’ll be able to do events there with the smaller audience. It gives us more options than we usually have” (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 10/3).

Plans for competing America's Cup teams to be based on Piers 30-32 in S.F. for next year's event are “unraveling, with two teams blaming regatta organizers of backing out of a deal struck months ago,” according to John Cote of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The “conjoined piers" just south of the Bay Bridge were "supposed to house team bases for America's Cup races, serving as one of two major hubs for spectators to get close to the boats and crews.” But sources said that “in a surprise move” Monday, the America's Cup Event Authority, established and run by the current Cup holder, Oracle Racing, “told teams it plans to scrap $1.25 million in spending on hospitality facilities for team guests at Piers 30-32." Sources added that the authority would "not require teams to be based there, preferring to spend that money on facilities at the Marina Green.” The move has “frustrated two teams in particular, and talks are being held on trying to salvage the original deal.” The change would “leave only two teams on Piers 30-32 for the moment: Italy's Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, who are now upset that they've spent millions of dollars for custom temporary facilities based on regatta organizer specifications to house their boats and crews on the pier.” America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay said that the changes were “proposed with the public in mind.” Barclay “contends opposition to the revised plan is simply about the two teams' bottom line” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/4).

Marketing to a global audience through sports sponsorships involves a three-tier strategy: the league, the tournament and the individual. Most important to this strategy is keeping a consistent message across all three tiers and all markets around the world, said panelists participating in the "In-Depth Look At Global Sports Sponsorships And Events" session on Day 2 of theIMG Sports Marketing Symposium '12. Brands’ global strategies, although unified, should be empowered at the local level, panelists said, so that marketers at every level are motivated to push the brand. For companies interested in expanding globally, soccer remains in the lead as the No. 1 sport with upside and marketability, but basketball follows closely with the NBA successfully marketing itself as a single entity. They suggested that soccer teams in Europe can suffer as each team markets itself individually, even EPL club Manchester United, which is often considered to be the No. 1 brand in the world.


-- SAP Group VP for Global Sponsorships Chris Burton, on managing global sponsorships: “Ours is all centralized. We have a global strategy where we can make some smaller regional investments. Clearly, we do loads of local research. But we have a centralized strategy. I guess it was about 10 years ago that there were some donkeys in Argentina that had our logo on the back of them. Argentina did it, so we were like, ‘OK, we have a centralized strategy now.’”

-- MasterCard Worldwide VP/Global Sponsorships Michael Robichaud, on Visa’s global campaigns with the Olympics and World Cup: “From a sponsorship point of view, it’s a bit of a challenge because they do have the big ones, but the way we look at it is there is not a whole lot of flexibility in their portfolio because they’ve made these huge investments. We know where they’re going to be for the next eight-plus years, so we can kind of plan around it.“

-- Sports marketing firm FoxRock Partners Founder & CEO Peter Farnsworth, on B2B sponsorships: “B2B marketing is a completely different set of objectives. I think there’s a huge opportunity for that. A lot of companies miss out on that opportunity. Deloitte was a sponsor of the Olympics, but what were they really doing? You have to make sure to tell your story.”

-- Farnsworth, on local verse centralized approaches: “I think a local buy-in is critical. When I was at the NBA, we always made sure the local decision-makers were vested in it. Because if they’re not vested in it then they’re not going to activate it locally. And you don’t want to be in a situation where corporate is forcing something down people’s throats. If you don’t have that local buy-in then it’s not going to be a lasting relationship.”

Brands are becoming more judicious in the way that they choose who to endorse, according to panelists in the "Athlete Endorsements As A Strategic Marketing Platform" session at the IMG Sports Marketing Symposium '12. The fallout from the Tiger Woods scandal, for example, has caused sponsors to think longer and harder about who they sign and about the language they include in their contracts. Celebrities and musicians have started to encroach further into the sponsorship realm, as well, adding to the competition for endorsements. Unilever VP/Marketing for Skincare Rob Candelino said, “Ten years ago, the celebrities who were getting the big bucks before were saying, ‘Hey, these athletes are encroaching on my space.' [Now] these guys are starting to treat themselves like brands. It’s gone full circle.” Gold medal-winning U.S swimmer Cullen Jones said that he “thinks of himself as a brand and believes that is what has to happen for athletes to be recognized.” When even relatively unknown reality TV stars are competing for deals, agents and brands are focusing more on an organic, authentic match-up and becoming better storytellers.


-- Williams & Connolly Partner Jim Tanner, who represents Rockets G Jeremy Lin, on what drives marketing: “One of the things we always tell new clients is don’t start with branding. Start with performance. That drives 90 percent of marketing.”

-- Under Armour Senior VP/Global Sports Marketing Matt Mirchin, on how to reach customers: “As a brand you want to associate yourself with something that resonates with your consumer. From our perspective, Under Armour is all about making athletes better. So it’s nice when entertainers or celebrities wear our product. But we’re going to go right to that sweet spot with the athletes because that’s who resonates with us.”

-- Candelino, on Unilever's athletes representing Dove Men: “Every one of them has told a story or a sentimental moment that has shaped them as men. We think that has been a winning formula because it resonates with our brand. If we started trying to be a sports brand, then we’ve lost the plot. I think far too often nowadays, brands, particularly ones that don’t have both feet firmly entrenched in sports, subcontract their responsibility of brand equity to the athlete. If you do that, you’re done.”

-- IMG Talent Marketing Group Senior VP & Managing Dir Alan Zucker, on athlete overexposure: “People talk about overexposure all the time. Whether it’s Tiger Woods or Peyton Manning or Danica Patrick, [they say] 'I see them everywhere.’ Yeah, they are everywhere, but people keep calling. So obviously they must be doing something right with their brands or people wouldn’t want to work with them anymore.”

-- Jones, on using Twitter: “Granted, I might have thoughts that I might want to instantly put out there, [but] it’s not smart to do that. I consider myself a brand.”

In the first of several sessions of our “Marketing from the C-Suite” series, MetLife Exec VP/Global Brand, Marketing & Communications Beth Hirschhorn discussed what is exciting, innovative and challenging about today’s marketing landscape. Here are selected quotes from the session at the IMG Sports Marketing Symposium '12.

-- On the paternalistic and scare messages that take up lots of ad space: “You can’t scare people into buying something. The way we are addressing the clutter is positioning our brand as more empowering than the other guys. So our entire global brand platform is about enabling people to take action.”

-- On the MetLife Stadium naming-rights deal: “Think about the market as a funnel. You’ve got awareness at the top and a whole host of things, whether it be purchase consideration or preference, eventually getting down to more engagement and one-to-one relationships and sales. The thing about this property that is different than all others is it works on all of those levels.”

-- On fan engagement outside of the stadium: “We’re trying to bring the experience on the field off the field. Democratizing the fan experience through giving people access to things they’ve never had access to before. So if you want to know what it feels like to kick a field goal, meet us this Sunday.”

-- On attending the Super Bowl in Indianapolis: “We built this 14-foot ice sculpture in the middle of Indianapolis with the skyline of New York, although we enhanced it a little bit because we put the stadium in the skyline, as well. We wanted to make our home team feel at home, so we brought their hometown to them. We were also celebrating and promoting our first Super Bowl spot ever.”

-- On the company's foundation donating $50,000 to charities of the MetLife Bowl: “We really always try to build in and incorporate the social responsibility component. You will definitely see that from us with this Super Bowl. I don’t know what it will look like, but we will be doing something good for somebody … lots of somebodies.”

-- In retrospect…: “Don’t try to hit all home runs. You don’t know what’s going to work and what’s not going to work. So when you get out of the gate, you’d be surprised at what small things can make a difference.”

-- On the next frontier for the NFL and finding success regionally: “It’s a big world out there, and we would give anything for better expansion outside of the U.S. You go outside of the U.S. … and they just don’t care. It’s a totally different animal, and it is of no interest.”

-- On social media strategy: “We’ve seen promotions where companies are out there buying fans, and I don’t really think that’s the answer. One of the things that you should know is that our most used or most popular use by consumers of social media with us is from a service sampling. People want their problems solved.”

In the second session on “Marketing from the C-Suite,” from the IMG Sports Marketing Symposium '12, Verizon Wireless VP & CMO Tami Erwin discussed new products, measuring ROI and the company’s deal with the NFL. Verizon is the largest single buyer in sports advertising, with approximately $345M spent in ‘11. Erwin said, “Every day I get questions from our COO asking, 'Is this the right way to spend money?' We can take the analytics out of aggregated, anonymous information to answer that question: Who am I reaching through those sponsorships?”


-- On streaming NFL content over the network: “What we’ve got with the NFL RedZone is exclusive content, and our customers are valuing that on our network. I don’t know if I can directly say that content has affected [Verizon’s] girth.”

-- On whether exclusive mobile rights will make Verizon a broadcaster: “I don’t know if we’re going to be considered a broadcaster, but we understand the importance of delivering content to customers, whether it’s at home or on a tablet or on the phone.”

-- On which devices she uses every day: “I swap devices every week. I always have three to four at any time, I have a Samsung S3, an HTC device, which is [in] my wallet, an Apple tablet. I also have a BlackBerry at the bottom of my briefcase.”

-- On how foreign mobile users are ahead of American consumers: “From a mobile banking standpoint, the Europeans and Asians are ahead of us. We lead in terms of speed and feeds with 4G LTE.”

How do you convince big companies to adopt risky marketing strategies? You need got to convince them of the payoff. Speaking during the "Marketing Mavericks: Driving Innovation" session at the IMG Sports Marketing Symposium ’12, JoNa Ventures Managing Dir John Bello said, “Most big corporations would rather miss opportunities than make mistakes.” Bello, pointing to SoBe’s use of golfer John Daly as proof, said that “risks can pay off.” Bello: “He was the antithesis of something healthy. He said he’d [partnered] because he liked the products because they went well with vodka. That got Pepsi crazy, but it was in every newspaper.” DDCD & Partners Chair Mark Dowley pointed to Nike as a company willing to take a risk and “embrace the weird” by adopting neon green and yellow colors for many of its products. He said, “Make [the color] pervasive in 140 countries, and then sell in those countries. That kind of thinking wins the game.” Reebok Senior VP/Sports & Entertainment Marketing Tom Shine discussed the effects of his company losing its NFL deal to Nike. Shine said, “It was a difficult pill to swallow, but the number that was out there didn’t make economic sense.” However, he said the “old model of marketing around licensing deals is over.” Shine: “The model of being a guarantor and royalty collector is gone. There are no more companies that are willing to take on this financial pounding in the future.”


-- Altis Marketing Chair & CEO Frank Craighill, on late adidas Chair Horst Dassler: “He guaranteed 65 million Swiss Francs to FIFA and another 30 million to UEFA in 1982 to put together the World Cup program. I thought he was crazy to have guaranteed 95 million Francs. But he had a phenomenal sense of where the market was going.”

-- Dowley, on creating a culture of creativity at large corporations: “You employ those creative destructors and people in acquisition, so you don’t break up the culture that you want. You’re placing lots of bets in lots of places so you’re always coming out on top.”

-- Bello, on whether the NFL’s referee lockout hurt the brand: “They are succeeding in spite of themselves. I don’t even know why they advertise, because I don’t think they can do anything wrong.”