Oh the cool things I get to do at work. If you’ve read any of my blogs over the past few months, you know there are two things I love: sports and innovative marketing ideas. On November 29th, I sat at the intersection of these two passions at The Ad Club’s “Sports & Entertainment: A Marketing Summit".
If you weren’t there, check out this roster; you couldn’t ask for a better group of speakers. The event kicked off with Sports Marketing committee chairman Chip Rives discussing the landscape of an industry worth over $50 Billion annually. Chip is no stranger to sports or sports marketing, being both the CEO of TRP Sports and Entertainment and a former Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year during his football career at Wake Forest.
What I was most impressed with at the event was the depth and breadth of the speakers featured, as well as the consistently high caliber of their presentations.
Manny Rodriguez was, in my opinion, one of the surprise presentations of the day. Rodriguez is VP of Sponsorship at NRG Energy, a global leader in solar energy. Rodriguez discussed how NFL stadiums are increasingly incorporating solar into their construction. NRG has installed solar panels at 8 NFL stadiums across the country, including Gillette Stadium. At the beginning of Rodriguez’s presentation, only three hands went up when he asked if people thought about their energy bill. After he finished, more than half the room agreed they wanted to know more about solar energy.
Later on in the day, David Pace of Pace Sports Management discussed the sponsorship deal between UGG Australia and Tom Brady, providing very interesting insight into how a historically female-targeted brand came to partner with Tom Brady to promote luxury men’s footwear. It all came down to giving men permission to try a pair of UGGs. Pace shared a particularly funny story in the planning process in which an executive asked him to find the “Oprah of men.” The result was Tom Brady.
Glenn Brown, Director of Brand Strategy for Twitter (@GOB for us prolific twitter users), spoke about new uses for Twitter in sports marketing, including Brad Keselowski tweeting live from NASCAR’s Daytona 500, and gaining over 100,000 twitter followers in the process. Brown also shared stories about objects that tweet, such as the NBA backboard cam at the Slam Dunk Competition this year, and the London 2012 pool cam.
In a stats filled presentation, Clifton Ma, Yahoo! Head of Fantasy Sports, discussed the business behind the game. Did you know more people play fantasy sports in America than live in Canada? While we all love playing Fantasy Football, here’s why marketers love us playing fantasy sports. The average player is a male (80% of all players), will be on their league site or app for 500 minutes a month, and spend $468 dollars a year on fantasy sports. His average income will be $93,000! 40% of them will remember an ad that is on their fantasy page, as opposed to 31% normal ad recall. Oh the power of fantasy!
The keynote for the night might have been my favorite presentation from a sports lover’s standpoint. Peter King, the legendary Sports Illustrated Monday Morning Quarterback writer shared stories from inside the world of the NFL with us. One of his best stories really illustrated the change in the sports economy over the course of his career. King told us (and I’m paraphrasing of course) of a phone call between him and legendary Packers QB Brett Favre in 1996 the night before Favre went into rehab for painkillers. Over the course of 45 minutes, in what Favre said was his last phone call before rehab, Favre discussed how “everybody wants to be Brett” and how miserable it really was, how he was destroying his life by popping painkillers just to get out of bed, and how he really needed to take care of himself.
King recalled getting off the phone with Favre, on a Tuesday night, knowing the Sports Illustrated publication deadline was Monday night. In a pre-internet environment, King just hoped this bombshell of a story would hold until the following Monday to go to press, and until the following Thursday when it would release. So he waited, and he read newspapers, and he hoped. And shockingly, at least to us in a instant information society, the story held, and Peter King broke one of the great personal stories in football.
In today’s world, says King, he would have immediately tweeted out two quotes from Favre teasing of a story to come, posted the story to SI.com shortly after, and been on ten TV and radio programs by the morning. That is how much sports has changed in 15 years. From a world in which 15 reporters show up to the NFL combine, to a world in which 700+ show up and the event is televised live.
King wrapped up his presentation with one of his famous lightning rounds of questions from the audience, in which both the question and his answer must take one minute to complete. It was during one of these rounds that my favorite quote from the event came out. Again, paraphrasing; King said of his access to the NFL “I love my job because I get to take people places they can’t go”.
What did you think about the event? Tell us in the Sports & Entertainment Marketing survey, we appreciate your feedback. Connect with us on Twitter @TheAdClub and tell us what you enjoyed most!