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Volume 26 No. 30
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Deep Dish Live! Touches On State Of Sports Business

Graybill, Madkour, Besser and Lefton talked sponsorship and analytics, among other topics
Photo: DAVID DUROCHIK

Day 2 of the '19 Intersport Brand Engagement & Content Summit on Thursday began with our first live "Deep Dish" morning show, where Intersport's Charlie Besser and Brian Graybill joined SBJ's Abe Madkour and Terry Lefton to chat for 30 minutes about the state of sports business, sponsorship and marketing (check it out here if you missed the live version). The four panelists discussed Heineken USA CMO Jonnie Cahill's remarks to open the conference on Wednesday, where he impressed upon the execs in the audience to not focus so much on impressions. Lefton said of his takeaway from Cahill: "The focus on metrics and analytics has pushed it. I think ideally, it's a blend of black magic and science. And we're still trying to find the equilibrium. And with the advent of the analytics guys, we're sort of being pushed and we're finding somewhere in the middle." Besser believes analytics can "become a crutch and it can be a reason to not do things." Besser: "Trying to create joy, that's the fun stuff and that's where the art meets science and that is what separates the great marketers from the pretenders."

HAVE SOME FUN! A panel on Wednesday looked at the success of the Browns and the Bud Light Fridge this past season, and Graybill during "Deep Dish" said of the effort from A-B InBev, "It was fun, because obviously it leveraged their partnerships and their IP with the NFL and the Browns, which is important. Not every brand -- despite having the use of the marks or the access to the marks -- does a particularly good job of developing them. But it was a great idea and something that would never pencil out theoretically on paper." Besser said of the industry becoming too stat-focused: "That would clearly be no fun."

WHAT’S NEXT? Lefton said he is watching CBD/pot and jersey patches. He said of the growing CBD sponsorship category: "There are deals with people like Martha Stewart. Is that mainstream enough for you? Three PGA (Tour) golfers, three cars in the Indy 500." Besser added, "We have unleashed our sales force to make sure that they're talking to all of the CBD manufacturers." Besser also noted he's watching compensation for college athletes. Graybill is still watching the rollout of sports betting and how legislatures continue to move on the issue.