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Volume 24 No. 181

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Hawks have signed a five-year deal with Atlanta-based Sharecare that will see the digital health care company's logo "on the front left shoulder of the players' game jerseys," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Companies reportedly have paid other NBA teams $2.5-10M annually for the jersey patch, and while Sharecare Chair & CEO Jeff Arnold did not disclose how much his company is paying, he said that it is "'in the range' of the other reported deals." Arnold: "We're not the lowest, and we're not the highest." Hawks Exec VP & CRO Andrew Saltzman indicated that the Sharecare deal is the team's "second largest annual sponsorship, behind only the Philips Arena naming-rights deal." The NBA has only authorized patch deals for the next three seasons, but Tucker reports there are "many other elements" of the Hawks' five-year partnership with Sharecare, such as "signage and radio/TV commercials." The deal includes a Sharecare-branded section in the arena and "will make the company the presenting sponsor of the team's radio network." Both parties said that they will "collaborate on offering healthy food choices in the arena and will offer a rewards program, including game tickets, tied to healthy behavior." Arnold, a Hawks season-ticket holder for nearly a decade, said that talks "began when he was approached by Saltzman at halftime of a game late last season." Sharecare was founded by Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/17). The Hawks partnered with WME-IMG’s Global Partnerships group on the deal (THE DAILY).

NBA JERSEY PATCHES PLANNED FOR '17-18 SEASON
TEAM
SPONSOR
76ers
StubHub
Bucks
Harley-Davidson
Cavaliers
Goodyear
Celtics
GE
Hawks
Sharecare
Jazz
Qualtrics
Kings
Blue Diamond
Magic
Walt Disney World
Nets
Infor
Nuggets
Western Union
Pistons
Flagstar Bank
Raptors
Sun Life
T'Wolves
Fitbit

SEEING RED: In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote while the jersey sponsorship patches "will earn teams money, the policy does bring to question whether teams are cheapening their brand for a quick buck." Washburn: "Would love to know what Red Auerbach would have thought about such a promotional move" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/13).

A survey of commercial-ratings projections for the '17-18 broadcast-network season found that ad buyers "believe fewer people than last season will watch commercials during such primetime stalwarts as NBC’s 'Sunday Night Football' and the 'Thursday Night Football' broadcasts on both NBC and CBS," according to Brian Steinberg of VARIETY. To be sure, the games "remain TV’s top draw, with higher ratings expected for football than almost anything else on next season’s grid." But NFL games are "proving just as vulnerable to audience erosion as their scripted counterparts." Since May '07, sponsors and ad buyers have "made the number of viewers who watch a particular show within three days’ of its on-air debut -- and don’t skip through the ads -- as the basis for many of their commercial deals." A new supply of Thursday-night games on broadcast has "made more of the sport available to a wider audience." The Richards Group Brand Media Team Leader Ira Berger said, “Straight up, I believe the NFL has peaked and there too many games being broadcast." Steinberg noted C3 projections, which stands for commercial ratings plus three, should "not be taken as gospel." The bulk of football ad pacts are "based on live ratings, owing to the fact that only a sliver of the games’ audience time-shifts, though some buyers suggested 'C3' is used in some agreements. " A source said, “That’s all a negotiation." And there is "more to confuse the issue: Buyers said some football advertisers are considering use of so-called 'out of home' ratings that measure viewership of games in bars, hotels and offices, among other places" (VARIETY.com, 8/16).

PROJECTIONS FOR TV's BIGGEST COMMERCIAL-RATINGS PROGRAMS
SHOW (NET)
C3 ESTIMATE ('17-18)
C3 ESTIMATE ('16-17)
"SNF" (NBC)
6.55
7.6
"TNF" (NBC)
5.05
6.22
"TNF" (CBS)
4.7
5.74
"The OT" (Fox)
4.2
3.2
"Football Night In America" (NBC)
3.5
4.1
"Empire" (Fox)
3.28
4.88
"This Is Us" (NBC)
2.88
1.49

Nielsen announced today the launch of Nielsen ESports, a new vertical devoted to measuring sponsorship value in the emerging world of competitive video gaming. The business is centered on two product developments: New international viewer data in the U.K., France, Germany, China, South Korea and Japan, along with Esports 24, database of esports events that can help customers quantify return on investment with standardized measurements. “Clients are coming to us with these questions,” said Nielsen Games Dir of Custom Research Nicole Pike, who will co-lead the new vertical along with Stephen Master, the Managing Dir of Nielsen Sports North America. Sponsorship value in esports is much more difficult to measure than traditional sports in several ways, said Master, because exclusive media rights are still rare, meaning that many events are viewed on a wide variety of streaming and linear channels. Also, the international nature of the fan base is harder to measure, and esports tournaments have a rich post-live value because esports players will re-distribute clips from their matches on their own streams. Master said the division has exceeded revenue generation expectations. Nielsen has convened an advisory board of esports industry leaders, including from ESL, ESPN, Facebook, Activision Blizzard, Turner, Twitch and others.

Sentry Insurance has signed a five-year title sponsorship of the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort in Hawaii. The newly named Sentry Tournament of Champions will keep its traditional spot as the first tournament in January when the ‘17-18 PGA Tour schedule resumes following its holiday break. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal extends through the ‘21-22 season. This represents the first major sports sponsorship for Wisconsin-based Sentry Insurance. “This tournament and its champions format is the ideal way to more broadly introduce Sentry to the business insurance audience,” said Sentry Chair, President & CEO Pete McPartland in a statement. Sentry replaces SBS as the tournament sponsor (John Lombardo, Staff Writer). The AP's Doug Ferguson noted the move strengthens the Tour's "commitment to starting the new year in Hawaii." The '18 iteration "marks the 20th straight time the PGA Tour starts a new year on Maui." South Korean broadcaster SBS "had been the title sponsor and briefly farmed it out to Hyundai until the automaker switched its sponsorship" to L.A. and the Genesis Open at Riviera. SBS had been "looking for a new sponsor to take over before its deal expired" at the end of '19. McPartland said that the company "hoped to benefit immediately from more name recognition." He added that the partnership with the PGA Tour would "allow it to entertain more top clients at Kapalua and other tournaments throughout the schedule" (AP, 8/16). In Milwaukee, Gary D'Amato notes though terms of the deal were not disclosed, title sponsorship of a Tour event "reportedly starts" at $7M annually. McPartland: "We’re going to bring some of our top customers and brokers to Kapalua and engage with them. Many of our customers play golf and follow golf. We kind of see it as a year-round opportunity to engage with our customers" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/17).

Heineken has been "pouring millions of dollars into its North American soccer play and, in the process, become one of the ubiquitous faces of the sport," according to Chris Smith of FORBES. Heineken is one of the "biggest investors in the growing domestic soccer market," and has "long been associated with soccer in Europe." But its push into North America "only began in earnest" in late '14 when the company "signed on to replace Budweiser as the official beer" of MLS, paying $50M over five years. Heineken "doubled down on its league-wide deal" by also partnering with seven teams. It has since "expanded to nine total team-level deals, a pretty significant tally considering the typical MLS team sponsorship runs in the mid-six figures." The company's "most recent deal was signing on to sponsor expansion club LAFC and partnering with the team’s supporters to design a dedicated in-stadium bar for the group." Soccer remains a "smaller interest among American sports fans." But Heineken USA Brand Manager Rob Ryder said that the "sheer population size makes the American market a goldmine." Ryder argues that by "focusing almost entirely on soccer" -- Heineken’s only other American sports property is tennis' U.S. Open -- the company is able to "punch above its weight against other beer brands that spread their money across multiple sports." Heineken has "expanded its North American soccer approach by becoming the presenting sponsor" of the Int'l Champions Cup. Heineken pays "more than double what other blue-chip brands like Nike and McDonald's spend to be among the tournament's premier sponsors." That deal "not only exposes Heineken to a different segment of American soccer fans, but it also puts the brand into major markets like Detroit, Nashville and Miami that MLS has yet to tap" (FORBES.com, 8/16).

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