Category Archives: Sports Marketing

March Madness Goes Live!

Life today is all about instant gratification.  We want what we want when we want it.  This translates into TV program viewing.  There are a many ways you can watch TV programming “on demand”: DVR, On Demand, Hulu, Amazon, Netflix & Network Apps. Some of these are free and some are paid, yet all of them allow you to watch TV programming when you want it.

Yet, when it comes to sports, viewers mainly watch events live. If you’re not around to watch the game, you’d better stay away from your Twitter or Facebook feeds, avoid listening to the radio, watching TV or going online…otherwise, you’ll find out pretty quickly who won the game.

MML

As we come to the end of March and are already deep into the March Madness tournament, viewers have another way of watching every game of the tournament live with the NCAA’s March Madness Live site. This site allows fans to view live streaming March Madness Basketball games on multiple devices.

Many College Basketball fans are paying close attention to their brackets, assuming they haven’t been busted already! What is so amazing and interesting is how the joint venture between CBS and Turner continues to move the needle in the way people can watch games.  Since 2011, fans have been able to watch all 64 games on TV through TNT, TBS, CBS and Tru-TV as well as on Apple devices – all for free.

In 2012, MML developed a paid/authenticated model and added Android devices to the mix.  This year, they went to four hours of free viewing per device before being prompted to authenticate, and added Android Tablet.  On TV, I’ve seen a CBS promo for MML, and CNN and the Today Show have talked about the MML app.  I have also read blogs and advertising industry publications/newsletters about MML.

March Madness Live is generating record-setting video streams and engagements across all digital platforms.  In just the first week of the tournament, there were 36.6 million live video streams across online and mobile (tablets and smartphones), double the 18.3 million for the entire event in 2012.  This is equivalent to more than 10 million hours of live video consumed across all media platforms!

The current MML model and distribution is taking live sports viewing to a new level.  From a college sports fanatic to a causal fan just watching to keep track of his/her bracket, you can watch sports anywhere on anything.  Now, I’m looking forward to football season!

The Super Bowl According to Facebook

Earlier this week, while perusing every ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and NFL-related blog article I could find (hey, it’s not every week your hometown team makes the Super Bowl!), I came across some fascinating information regarding NFL loyalties as measured by Facebook “likes.”

Facebook’s Data Science team released this nationwide analysis of NFL team “likes,” color-coding every county in the U.S. to reflect the team that had the most fans in that particular county. Take a look:

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Source: Facebook Data Science (https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-data-science/nfl-fans-on-facebook/10151298370823859)

As media professionals, we evaluate numerous sports-related proposals in many different markets. Though in some cases, sports associations are obvious “no-brainers” based on geography, it is not always clear cut. For example, Media Works places media in both Dallas and Houston, and I have always wondered how rest of the state of Texas cheers come football season – at what point between Dallas and Houston does the tide change? The Cowboys have been around much longer than the Texans, so I figured they’d have a slightly higher fan base … but look at all that Cowboy land! Not only does nearly all of Texas root for Dallas, but nearly all of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas do too.

According to the summary, over 35 million Facebook users have “liked” an NFL team page, and the number grows each year during the playoffs. In the media world, where data is a huge factor in making media-based decisions, sample size can be very important. A pool like that showing so many states where Cowboy loyalty dominates is a dream come true!

The author also provides maps showing remaining teams through each round of the playoffs. Below is a preview of how the country will be cheering this Sunday for the Super Bowl. Looks like the Ravens are the underdogs, but I hope the East Coast ends up happier than the West Coast!

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Armstrong’s Fall From Grace and the Sponsors that Ditched Him

One day, you’re the most renowned cyclist in the sport, heading up your own charity to help fight cancer, after successfully beating it yourself. You win seven Tour de France titles, companies endorse you, people wear bright yellow wristbands to support your charity, and along the way, you get engaged to Cheryl Crow.  The next day, you’re facing mounting accusations of doping by the USADA, they strip you of your titles, your sponsors drop you, and you are essentially forced to step down as the CEO of your own charity. Is this the very definition of “hitting rock bottom”?

This week, Nike and RadioShack announced they would no longer sponsor Armstrong. Then, several of his other sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, Trek Bicycles, Easton-Bell (maker of the Giro helmet), FRS (an energy drink company) and Honey Stinger (an energy food manufacturer), also decided to terminate their contracts. Even the Armstrong-branded 24-Hour Fitness Centers and Nike’s Lance Armstrong Fitness Center in Oregon all decided to drop his name.

How ironic that these same companies relied on Armstrong to help boost their business. Now, on the heels of Armstrong’s doping scandal, they’ve abandoned him. At the end of the day, we’re left wondering what will happen to Cycling now that Armstrong has been banned from the sport.  And, how will this affect his sponsors over time?

Didn’t Armstrong learn anything from Tiger Woods though??

After his string of mistresses emerged, several of Woods’ sponsors dropped him, fearing their affiliation with the golf great would alienate consumers. AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade and Gillette all feared the ill effects of being tied to a self-admitted adulterer, and bolted. And, although Nike stood by Woods, they saw a significant decline in Tiger’s Nike apparel line across a number of retailers.

The scandal had a negative effect on The Tiger Woods Foundation too. Woods was unable to play at the Chevron World Challenge in both 2008 and 2009, one of the tournaments that directly funds his Foundation. It’s tough to solicit donations for an organization whose founder is not only absent from his own tournament, but was in the midst of a national PR crisis.

Should companies be a little more cautious when sponsoring a celebrity? Should they ask the burning question up front: “Is there any reason we might regret this affiliation someday?” Clearly, there’s much we can learn from these athletes and their downfalls.

Orioles Baseball 2013 – Buckle Up and Get Ready for the Post-Season!

I’ll admit it…I was wrong about the Orioles this year.

When I wrote my Opening Day blog back in April, I was certain that the Orioles would have yet another losing season. But somehow, the season went down to the wire with the Yankees, and Baltimore fans watched as the Orioles battled for 1st in the AL East, and will be playing the Rangers tonight in a one-game playoff for a Wild Card seat? Certainly not me.

The odds of the Orioles going from worst to first seemed to be stacked against them:

Big Players with Big Injuries

Some of the Orioles’ pivotal players suffered major injuries this year:

  • Brian Roberts came back from his concussion injury and then had season-ending hip surgery in August
  • Nick Markakis broke his left thumb in September and is still out
  • Nolan Reimold had season-ending neck surgery in June to repair is herniated disk
  • Jason Hammel missed two months after knee surgery earlier this year, and is still out after re-injuring his knee
  • Wilson Betemit re-injured his right wrist in September and is still out

Pitching

Some say that the Orioles’ best pitcher may still be in the minors: Dylan Bundy is 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA this year. Hammel is still dealing with his knee injury, and although Chris Tillman went 9-3 this season and Wei-Yin Chen lived up to his expectations, the Orioles haven’t really had a stand-out starting pitcher.

Rookies

There seemed to be a revolving door between the Majors and the Minors this year, and it seemed like the O’s were suiting up new players every week. Nearly half of the team’s active players (18 of 35) played in the minors this year.

Lackluster Offense

The stats speak for themselves: The O’s were 10th in the AL in runs scored, 11th in batting average and 12th in on-base percentage. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are our only hitters that have an above-average batting avg. with .287 and .298 respectively.

HOW DID THEY DO IT??

Winning Close Games

They won close games. The Orioles were 46-18 in games decided by one or two runs, and 28-9 in one run games alone – the best record in the . In extra inning games, the Orioles are 12-2.

A Great Bullpen

They had a great bullpen. How’s this for a stat: The Orioles are 73-0 when leading after seven innings. Jim Johnson was stellar this year, with 50 saves. Chris Tillman went 9-3 this season Buck simply knows when to pull the starters and put in the closers.

A True Team Effort

Although Adam Jones was a stand-out this year, playing in all 162 regular season games, and quick with the pies afterwards, there’s really been no one superstar or one go-to guy in the Orioles line-up. They’ve ALL been stars, and each game seemed to highlight a new player.

  • First baseman Chris Davis had 33 home runs this year and even beat the Sox from the mound in the Orioles’ win on May 6th.
  • The Orioles brought up Manny Machado, and in his first game in an Orioles uniform, he goes 2 for 4. In his 2nd game, he hits 2 home runs.
  • Nate McLouth came out of nowhere to become the lead-off hitter and in September alone hit .286 with 4 home runs, and 4 stolen bases.
  • The Sheriff, Mark Reynolds, may have struck out 169 times this year (hence the nickname), but when he was on, he was ON, hitting 23 HR’s and 69 RBI’s.

The Media Works team wishes the Orioles good luck in tonight’s game and can’t wait to see them back at home this weekend against the Yankees!

MNF is back, but is it the right place for you to advertise?

Monday Night Football kicks off with a classic AFC North battle on Monday, September 10th between our beloved Baltimore Ravens and division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. On the field, stats will be recorded for Flacco vs. Dalton and Rice vs. Green-Ellis, but off the field, buyers will be watching the ratings closely to see how the numbers delivered, and deciding whether advertising in Monday Night Football is the right thing to do for their clients.

Monday Night Football is the most watched and longest-running sports series in cable TV history. In six seasons on ESPN, MNF had seven of the top ten all-time biggest HH audiences in cable history, averaging a 9.7 rating in 2011 and 13,252,000 viewers. MNF offers a huge opportunity for advertisers to reach a diverse, captive and live audience, since most sports programming is watched live rather than DVR’d, and Monday Night Football appeals to a variety of viewers.

Its popularity is expected to grow this year, as the Rolling Stones will partner with MNF to celebrate the Stones’ 50th Anniversary. Through a series called “Legend to Legend”, tracks from the legendary band will be paired with MNF highlights and featured during the pre-game show, in-game, and in the post-game show on Sports Center.

So, given the continued popularity of the series and the hype around the Rolling Stones, is Monday Night Football the right venue for your marketing dollars? Here are a few basic questions you should ask first before spending money to advertise on Monday nights:

  • Is your target audience watching Monday Night Football?

Consider who you’re reaching and hone in on their interests. Pull qualitative data to find out what they’re watching on TV, if they are watching sports programming, and if so – what sports are they watching? Also consider whether people are watching the game outside of their homes, such as a bar or restaurant, where your ad may receive additional exposure.

  • Is it cost-effective?

Many cable companies will offer MNF packages on a zoned basis, making it more cost-effective for advertisers. And, when you look at the costs amortized over several months, the pricing is very reasonable, given the reach and notoriety of appearing in-game.

  • Should you buy a package, or can you buy on a per-game basis?

Most MNF packages sell out well before pre-season begins, so inventory may be limited. Also, cable companies often include Thursday night games on the NFL Network and/or a digital component to give advertisers more exposure, and more bang for their buck. If there is bonus inventory available in MNF, the cable system will sometimes offer bonus spots to existing advertisers – an incredible way for advertisers to get added value!

  • How do last year’s ratings compare in your market?

The best way to gauge how many people you will reach with a MNF spot is to look back at the previous year’s ratings and estimate an average figure that you and the cable system can live with. Some ratings will fluctuate, depending on whether the home team is playing, if they are teams that have a National following, or if the game features division rivals.

  • Do you have the right creative?

Media Works focuses on the media side of the advertising puzzle, but we can’t ignore the importance of using the right creative. Will your spot include incentives that need to be changed frequently? Will your spot include generic or branding information? Will it drive traffic to a website or promotional portal?

 

On a related note, Media Works would also like to pay tribute to the late Art Modell. He received much criticism from Cleveland fans for moving their team to Baltimore. And, coming from a city that knows what it’s like to lose a football team, we can certainly empathize. (At least Cleveland got to keep the name, the uniforms and any Hall of Fame records…) Art Modell was loved by many and helped change the NFL in ways that we take for granted. We will honor him along with the rest of Baltimore with a moment of silence before Monday night’s game.

The Grand Prix Races into Baltimore: Top 5 Tips to Watch the Race

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Just one year after the race made its debut here in the city, the Grand Prix of Baltimore is back for a second time. With only one week to go, the city has already begun preparations for the big weekend. If you’ve been in the city lately, you may have already seen the giant barriers all along Pratt Street. As a self-proclaimed car buff, I couldn’t be any happier to see the big race right here in my own backyard. More importantly, I’m just as excited to have the famous Michael Andretti here in Baltimore.

You may not be an avid race fan, but chances are you’ve heard of Michael Andretti. The retired race car driver, and owner of Andretti Sports Marketing, has been instrumental in reviving the Baltimore race after last year’s financial collapse. While the race last year had an economic impact of about $47 million dollars, the organizers contract was terminated after they failed to pay the city. Thanks to Andretti, the show will go on.

By all indications, the race this year plans to exceed every expectation with events for children and race fans. Through a shortened schedule, race organizers hope to drive traffic to local businesses before and after the event. With so many events happening next weekend, we’ve put together a list on the many ways to watch.

It’s one thing to stay at home and watch a race on television, but to watch the race from your favorite corner in Baltimore is a whole other experience. Thanks to race organizers you have more than one option in getting a front row seat.

The simplest way to get a seat would be to visit the website and purchase a ticket beforehand. With only one week left I wouldn’t wait too much longer. Simply visit http://www.raceonbaltimore.com/tickets-and-schedule/ and select your ticket for purchase.

The second option would be to buy your ticket on LivingSocial.com. All week long they’ve been advertising heavily discounted tickets for the race. You can get general admission tickets for Friday’s race for as little as $9. General admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday are going for about $30. According to the race website, “General Admission tickets will have access to the three DHL Speed Zones, the Family Fun Zone and Rest Area, the Dr. Pepper Ten Test Track, ALMS Paddock, IZOD IndyCar Fan Village, Car Corrals and viewing along the fence lines between turns 9 and 10 or where signage is not placed.”

Your third option for catching the race action would be to volunteer with the Grand Prix. If you’re a race fan like me, you can work a few hours during the weekend for a front row seat behind the scenes. According to the website, the Grand Prix has openings in various categories, including Accessibility Ambassadors, Credentials, Customer Relations, Fan Zones, Guest Services, Hospitality, Media Center, Office Services, Pass Control, Track Services, Transportation, Ushers and Volunteer Services. All the information you need can be found here on the Grand Prix website.

Of course, if you find yourself driving down to watch the event you’ll certainly need parking. Don’t fret because there’s a new local startup looking to alleviate your parking woes. Parking Panda has put together a full parking plan for those heading downtown Labor Day weekend. You simply visit their site, reserve your space, and head on down. For more information, visit https://www.parkingpanda.com/baltimore-grand-prix-parking to reserve your space.

And finally, if you are lucky enough to work in Baltimore or have a friend who works downtown, ask if you can watch the race from the office. Many high rises offer an aerial view of the course, so you can see all the action from above, and do a little people-watching at the same time.

The 2012 Media Olympics

After months of preparation, the 2012 Summer Olympics are officially here! Tonight’s opening ceremony marks the beginning of two weeks of Olympics festivities. Athletes from across the globe have arrived in London to represent their homeland. In more ways than one, the Olympics represent a coming together on many different levels. Not only is this a momentous occasion for sports fans, it’s also one of the biggest events in media. From social media to television advertising, consumers are going to have unprecedented access to the best of the best in media.


From an advertising standpoint, running a spot in Olympics programming will be costly, even at the local level. Normally, July and August are quiet times for TV stations, when viewership is typically low, the networks have not yet launched their new fall shows and people are taking summer vacations. However, the Olympics deliver ratings and excitement on an unprecedented level.

Media Works purchased an advertising package in Baltimore to get our Baltimore clients involved in this premium programming, when they might not normally be able to afford it on their own. With Michael Phelps on the verge of making Olympic history again, Baltimore’s ratings are expected to be very strong. Clients that will have spots airing in the Olympics in Baltimore include The Community College of Baltimore County, Jiffy Lube and Baltimore Washington Medical Center. Spots are targeted to specific, highly-rated programming, such as the Today Show, Evening News and in the Olympic Zone, which is the lead-in programming to the games during prime time. Advertisers such as Jiffy Lube and Baltimore Washington Medical Center both have spots in the actual games during the day, weekend and in prime time.

Another Media Works client taking advantage of Olympic programming is Fox Run, an Erickson Living property in Novi, Michigan. Media Works identified the connection between our Michigan-based retirement community and recommended running in Olympics programming. Fourteen athletes from Michigan are competing in the games, including top women’s gymnast Jordyn Wieber. With increased local interest, our client should see strong ratings in their target demographic of Women 65+, who coincidently have higher TV viewership levels. We are also anticipating that this Olympics schedule will reach new viewers because the Olympics draws both non- traditional TV viewers and sports fans.

Moving away from TV, there’s been a ton of buzz around social media’s role in the Olympic games. While you might not be in London for the games, you’ll still have a chance to follow along as if you were there.

Twitter established a dedicated page just for tweets about the Olympics. You can log on at any time and find pictures from the athletes themselves or follow along as people tweet during the games. The city of London has also integrated Twitter into the famous London Eye ferris wheel. Basically, the lights on the ferris wheel will change colors based on the sentiment around the games on Twitter. This is a really cool attempt to integrate technology with social interaction. For more information on social media’s impact on the Olympics please visit here.

Here are additional ways to watch the Olympic coverage.

IntoNow- http://www.intonow.com/ci

IntoNow is a tablet application that allows you to interact with your favorite TV shows as you watch. The application turns your tablet into a second screen so you can experience television in a whole new way. Developed by Yahoo, the app delivers live stats to you as you watch the games on your television. This is the perfect tool for those who want to follow their favorite athletes and teams.

NBC Sports Live Extra- http://www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra/

If you’re a hardcore sports fan, you’ll definitely need to download the NBC Sports Live Extra app for your tablet. The app is based on a dashboard layout that updates you on all the Olympic scores at a glance. This year the rights to the games are owned by NBC which means you won’t be able to watch the game son any other websites or apps other than those owned by NBC. The best part is that with a subscription the app will allow you to watch the games live.

Enjoy the Games!!