Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 2
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

No consensus on our most influential list

One element stood out as we surveyed sources in putting together our list of the most influential people in college football for this week’s issue: the wide range of opinions about who should or shouldn’t even be on the list.

Generally, there is a consensus for the individuals who should make up one of our lists, with the disagreement being over where they should rank. On this list, however, outside of the commissioners and top television executives, there was no such consensus.

That was no more evident than in the ranking of NCAA President Mark Emmert. One very connected executive on the list put Emmert in the top three; another very well-placed insider didn’t even have him in his top 25. There were other such variances over the executives on the list, but Emmert was the most glaring example of the different perceptions about who has influence — and the role the NCAA plays within college football. In the end, as our ranking states, we took what Emmert did in the Penn State situation as a clear sign of his influence and authority.

I heard time and again how effective LOCOG was in implementing a soundtrack to the Summer Games, from the music-themed opening and closing ceremonies to the pulsating tracks throughout the venues. It was clearly one of the hallmarks of the Games, creating boundless energy and enthusiasm.

The connection between sports and music is a trend not going away any time soon. Coca-Cola developed a global campaign, “Move to the Beat,” that tied together music and sport for its Olympic activation. Coca-Cola’s Scott McCune told us, “The way we tried to recruit teenagers was knowing, ‘Yes, they like the athletes,’ but we looked at what they are most passionate about: music.” Last week, Pepsi and the NFL created an anthems campaign that featured four songs around specific teams. Todd Kaplan, Pepsi sports marketing director, told USA Today the concept “was born from this insight that sports and music are intersecting in more ways than ever.”

Original tracks never resonate as well as the greatest hits that rocked London, but that was a licensing play. Here, brands are taking their sports assets and IP and creating original content in the hope that it will become a hit with today’s youth while being shared and commented on in the mobile and digital space. It also is a different type of on-product redemption item, and it’s free. In Pepsi’s case, it localizes music and the brands more deeply with the teams, and it uses talent as a reinforcement of local activation. There’s Kid Rock in Detroit singing about the Lions, and devout Raiders fan Ice Cube writing a track for Oakland. It shows that Pepsi understands the local/team passion points.

Many of you commented on our Olympic coverage across SBJ/SBD/SBD Global and our microsite, where Podcasts From A Pub became part of the vernacular. While special thanks go to those with feet on the street, Tripp Mickle and John Ourand, major props go to Assistant Managing Editor Tom Stinson, who was the strategic planner, scriptwriter, conductor, photo coordinator and chief editor of the entire microsite from the beginning. It means a lot to hear from all of you who found the content valuable.

Finally, we are looking for heavy sports consumers — of live events or on TV, digital and/or mobile devices — to be part of a focus-group session at the Sports Marketing Symposium in early October. We are looking for a broad representation of fans to share their thoughts on sports marketing, media and related business issues. If you have someone in mind, let me know. Should be a fun session.

Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at