Sports Business Week (#SBWeek) has finally arrived! You can follow along with the fun via our #SBWeek Tagboard – please continue to tweet and share pictures. We hope to see you at one of our FORTY events this week!
News and opinions on the business side of sports
Sports Business Week (#SBWeek) has finally arrived! You can follow along with the fun via our #SBWeek Tagboard – please continue to tweet and share pictures. We hope to see you at one of our FORTY events this week!
It’s time for another edition of Infographic Friday. Today, I’m excited to share my first personal attempt at creating an infographic and it’s all about Sports Business Week! Here is some information about how much #SBWeek has grown and how wide an audience of sports professionals will be attending.
Today’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Emily Huddell.
What makes someone great at their job? Intelligence? A particular skill set, or personality trait? The way a person learns, communicates, or builds a team?
There’s no question that many factors (on both the candidate side and the employer side) combine to make a particular person great in a particular position. The challenge when hiring is to identify those factors, which is something Turnkey Search focuses on. Over time, we’ve closed more than 500 executive-level searches in sports and entertainment by doing just that: matching the right candidates with the right positions so that both sides’ opportunities for success are maximized.
This week, we’ve taken a step towards communicating that message in what we hope is a fun, tongue-in-cheek way. As The Business of Sports readers may already be aware, we’ve launched a sports business fantasy contest. The premise: Turnkey Search identified four fantasy missions, each of which is focused on saving the world from a serious threat. When we say “fantasy”, we meant it – we’re talking Earth-smashing asteroids, AI-takeovers, etc. Then, we evaluated this year’s class of SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 winners to identify which individuals would be best-suited to tackle each mission, relying on our 20-year track record of building winning management teams, data and personality test results to match each individual with the mission s/he’d be most likely to excel at.
The next part is where the sports business community comes in – entrants can visit our website (you have until noon on April 7, 2015) and try their hands at evaluating talent by creating their own fantasy team for each mission. Anyone who assembles a “mission team” that’s identical to Turnkey’s will win up to $100,000 for themselves or their favorite charity.
Our goal with this campaign has been to increase industry awareness of how executive search analyzes and identifies the optimal match between candidate and team need while at the same time offering the sports business community a chance to participate in a quick exercise that we hope is both fun and relevant. What do you think? Did the #40U40Contest catch your eye?
Let us know if you accepted our mission to build a top-flight sports business fantasy team – we’d love to hear your take on this promotion!
Editor’s Note: I just entered the contest myself (full-disclosure), and I have to say it was interesting thinking about the various roles and skills that the 40 Under 40 honorees have and how they can be combined to create the strongest team for each challenge. It’s a good reminder for anyone who manages staff that the right hiring decisions are about a blend of individual strengths and team dynamics.
One of the benefits of running this blog is finding out about new, creative and effective campaigns and partnerships when they happen. So I will occasionally publish a recap-style post to highlight these deals. As always, thanks to the brands and properties (and their PR agencies) for keeping me up to speed!
Battle at Bristol Trophy Design Contest
Battle at Bristol is putting out a call to fans: Do you want to be a part of history? History will indeed be made as sports fans witness a border battle, decades in the making, between Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10, 2016. In honor of this epic rivalry, Battle at Bristol is giving fans the chance to be a part of the ground-breaking event in the form of a national contest. Fans have the opportunity to design what will inspire the iconic trophy awarded to the winner of this historic game. The full contest rules can be found at www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/BattleTrophy.
Entries will be organized by Bristol Motor Speedway to determine the top three that will go up on BristolMotorSpeedway.com on March 13, 2015 for fan voting. Majority vote winner from the fans will serve as the inspiration for the final Battle at Bristol Trophy. In addition to bragging rights, the winner will receive a free trip to a Bristol Motor Speedway race weekend, the September 2015 Trophy Unveiling event, tickets to Battle at Bristol in September 2016 and other prizes.
Expected to draw more than 150,000 fans, the iconic NASCAR short track will transform into college football’s largest venue within an estimated two-week timeframe following its traditional late-Aug. race date. The Battle at Bristol football game is on track to crush the current NCAA single-game attendance record of 115,109, which was set in September 2013 at Michigan Stadium.
New Atlanta Stadium to Showcase Next Generation Fan Experience with IBM Technology
IBM and AMB Sports & Entertainment announced a strategic partnership to develop a game-changing fan experience at the state-of-the-art new Atlanta stadium set to open in 2017. This will enable AMBSE to provide highly advanced, interactive technologies for sporting events including Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer Atlanta games as well as concerts and other marquee events.
Today’s sports and entertainment fans demand better event experiences from the moment they leave their home. With IBM’s Smarter Stadium Network technologies delivered via the cloud along with design and development expertise from IBM Interactive Experience, AMBSE expects to offer fans a truly immersive event day at the new Atlanta stadium from start to finish.
“We know that creating the ultimate fan experience means meeting fans where they are, providing them with the platform to interact in a seamless way, and introducing them to new offerings that exceed expectations,” said Rich McKay, President & CEO of the Atlanta Falcons. “IBM understands the commitment we are making to our fans and will help us reset the bar in terms of fan experience, technology and sustainability for sports and entertainment complexes globally.”
IBM’s decades of experience transforming the fan experience at major global sporting events such as Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, Masters Golf Tournament and the U.S. Open golf and tennis championships will help AMBSE define and create a unique, engaging environment for visitors of the new stadium.
“Tech savvy consumers count on their devices to enhance their day-to-day lives whether at work, shopping at the mall or attending an event,” said Jared Miller, AMBSE Chief Technology Officer. “By partnering with IBM, we will ensure our fans and guests an unparalleled interactive and engaging experience, helping to make the new Atlanta stadium the marquee sports and entertainment venue globally.”
AMBSE will team with IBM Interactive Experience to leverage the power of mobility to create a highly contextual, more personalized game day experience for fans, all through the integration of analytics, mobile, social, security and cloud technologies to make this a reality. IBM is the Official Lead Integrator for the New Atlanta Stadium.
IBM’s Smarter Stadium Network will provide ABMSE with leading-edge wifi infrastructure that will enable guests of the new stadium to enhance their event experience. AMBSE will also operate within a “Smarter” Stadium environment where IBM’s system integration will enable the operations team to be connected to, and communicate with, numerous stadium amenities including the new 360 degree, 63,000 square foot HD Video Halo Board, 2,000+ video displays and concessions experience. This includes a more future flexible network, space savings within the stadium, power and cooling savings that will lower the carbon footprint while increasing operational efficiency.
Atlantic 10 Conference Debuts New Branding Spots
On the heels of a successful national brand campaign launch in 2014, the Atlantic 10 has again partnered with award-winning national branding agency 160over90 to celebrate student-athletes across each of its 21 championship sports. The campaign – dubbed ‘Any Arena. Any Field.’ – features a 1-minute, 45-second online video and three 30-second national TV spots that document a day in the life of A-10 student-athletes as they work hard to do it all: defend, pass, and score in “Any Arena,” and study, research and graduate in “Any Field.”
“The campaign perfectly ties into the mission of our league, which is about the overall student-athlete experience. We are proud of both our significant athletics accomplishments and the high academic marks that our student-athletes and institutions receive,” stated Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “This has been a powerful campaign that has extended our brand awareness across the country. It has been extremely beneficial to work with a professional agency such as 160over90 to tell our brand story.”
“Last year, we unveiled the grittiness of A-10 basketball and unleashed a challenge to any team: Who Wants Next? This year, we’re building on the core idea that in the Atlantic 10 Conference, it’s a ‘workright, not a birthright’ — something that holds true across all 21 championship sports — to show that the A-10 has great hoops and more,” said Darryl Cilli, 160over90 chief creative officer and principal. “The A-10 is an amazing conference, home to some of the most talented student-athletes. These young people really do earn everything they achieve, academically and athletically.”
In this year’s campaign, the 1-minute, 45-second spot tells the day-in-the-life story of A-10 student-athletes. Up before daylight, breaking a sweat in the weight room and hitting the books in the classroom, Atlantic 10 Conference student-athletes are united by a common focus and an uncompromising work ethic driving them to succeed athletically in any arena and academically in any field.
According to the NCAA’s most recent statistics, Atlantic 10 student-athletes graduate at an 89 percent rate — five percentage points higher than the national average. It is the fourth straight year that the league has been at 89 percent or better. The A-10 has 90 teams across its 14 campuses with a perfect 1000 GSR score. Athletically, the conference has achieved success crowning 21 conference champions, and sending numerous teams and student-athletes to NCAA postseason championships.
For a glimpse into the drive of an A-10 student-athlete, check out Atlantic10.com/anyfield.
It’s official! #SBWeek is back for 2015, with networking events taking place around the world throughout the week of April 13th. This is a great opportunity to come out and network with other sports business professionals that work or live in your area. All backgrounds are welcome, from those just starting out to industry veterans. The format of the evening is very casual – 2-3 hours of open networking over drinks with your industry peers. All of our events are listed on our Eventbrite page at thebusinessofsports.eventbrite.com, and each city will have its own direct link below.
Tickets for these events are $5 in advance or $10 at the door with 100% of this money being donated to The V Foundation for cancer research. We want to make it clear that we are not looking to make any money from these events. The goal is the same as it has always been – to help fellow members of the sports business community connect with one another. However, one of the best parts about working in this industry is how charitable it is and how sports can be used to support the community.
Here is the full list of participating cities, with links to each registration page (some still in progress).
It’s time for another edition of Hashtag Tuesday which features insights from sports business professionals on a variety of topics, all collected via specific hashtags. With the 20th Annual National Sports Forum currently taking place in Cincinnati, it seemed like a good time to curate and share some of my favorite #NSF15 tweets.
I’m sure there will be more throughout the day, so keep an eye on that hashtag and I’ll make sure to add more to this post at the end of the day.
UPDATE: I’ve also added a video featuring content from Bonner Paddock’s “Raising the Bar” keynote that NSF shared this evening.
It’s time for another edition of Hashtag Tuesday which features insights from sports business professionals on a variety of topics, all collected via specific hashtags. Starting last week, I asked the #sportsbiz community on Twitter to share their professional resolutions for 2015 via the #MySportsbizResolution hashtag. There was a definite trend on finding more ways to show thanks and give back, along with some great goals for career growth, driving partner value and work/life balance.
I hope these can be inspirational to everyone and I encourage you to tweet your own with the #MySportsbizResolution hashtag. After all, nothing helps with goal commitment more than publicly sharing it!
Today’s post comes from our partnership with the Columbia University Graduate Program in Sports Management. You can follow them on Twitter at @CUSportsBiz.
This past year had its share of big events in sports; from the Winter Olympics to a Super Bowl in New York to LeBron’s return, Jason Collins and Michael Sam as catalysts for acceptance and tolerance in sports, Germany’s World Cup run, a historic comeback in Americas Cup, a rare double championship for UConn in basketball, the Ryder Cup staying in Europe and many others along the way.
Still for all the big budget, big ticket, big media events, there were others that literally came from nowhere, most with small budgets and little fanfare, to engage millions around the world, some for a few minutes, some for a few days, some maybe for a lifetime. We asked for thoughts on what amazed you, what drew attention beyond predictions, and what made you excited to be involved in sport. There are no awards, and they are in no particular order but here are some things we felt were amazing in sport in 2014.
From the rise of athlete self-publishing on sites like The Players Tribune and Sportsblog, to well-funded global events like World Tennis Day expanding, there were no shortage of eyebrow raising businesses and efforts. Alchemy Global (a new crowdfunding option for early stage sports companies) CEO Andy Brusman told us that “There are subsets in the sports space that are undergoing dramatic changes because of innovation…These verticals have very large market opportunities, which is always going to draw attention from investors.”
The explosion of pay fantasy platforms and partnerships, the launch of Fantasy Sports TV, and disruptive concepts like Fantex, which trades shares of athletes, all confirm that the space saw many aggressive attempts to capture the fan dynamic. Fantex CEO Buck French told us innovation is on the rise due to the “continued rise of mobile connectivity and fantasy sports are creating a fundamental shift in what it means to be a fan.”
All exciting stuff – but ultimately for our list we tried to look beyond income statements and business ventures – to see what really captured imaginations from an intangible level.
The following is the final list of amazing happenings in sports for 2014. We canvassed the sports business community for input and ideas from all over the country were supplied to us. In the end we settled on a blend of both peer submissions and some things that we internally thought were worthy of mention.
The Ice Bucket Challenge: The simplest of activations, passed on through social went from an activation to help ALS in the Boston area to capturing the attention of millions, and raising millions along the way. There was no massive media budget, no crazy celebrity stunt to get started. It was a good cause and a fun, simple activity that went viral, and hopefully changed the lives of thousands going forward who have what is known as Lou Gerhig’s Disease.
Rugby Sells Out Solider Field: If someone said a few years again that 60,000 people would show up for a rugby match in the United States, one would have asked for a strait jacket. However that’s what happened on November 1 in Chicago, when the All-Blacks came to America to meet team USA. With a big boost from their global sponsor AIG on the grassroots side, and the help of local brands, USA Rugby and organizer The Legacy Agency, the match became one of the feel-good, eye-opening events of the year.
Hank the Dog: It started with a stray dog wandering around in the Arizona heat, and he became a cause celebre and a marketing opportunity for the ever-entrepreneurial staff of the Milwaukee Brewers. Hank was a stray dog when he wandered around the fields of the spring training facility of the Milwaukee Brewers, located at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 17, 2014. Hank weighed 11 pounds, had been run over by a car, and had two chipped teeth. Team officials attempted to find an owner, and when one could not be found, they rescued Hank. They took him to a veterinarian, where he was treated for a laceration. The organization named him Hank in honor of Hank Aaron and he competed in a Sausage Race during a spring training game wearing a hot dog costume on February 26. From a partnership with the Humane Society to holiday ornaments to merchandise, the team embraced the lovable stray and made him a part of their family year-round.
Oyo Boyo: Boston based and now Boston-area manufactured, OYO has taken the old LEGO-licensed idea and brought it into the next decade. They have licenses to manufacture products for MLB, NFL, NHL and MLS, with more coming not just in the US, but internationally as well (how many kids in the States will now buy Messi figures who would not have a few years ago, thanks to soccer’s expansion in the media here?). Their system allows for custom printing and design of almost ANY player they have a license for, with delivery taking only a few days. More importantly, OYO has used video, data and technology to bring the figures to life in short form video with self-created “stadia,” which thousands of young people with an interest in sport AND film can have fun with in recreation scenarios, much like LEGO has done with the Star Wars themed line.
Even better, the figures are compatible with LEGO blocks, so parents don’t have to discard those mounds of blocks sitting around the basement. The kids can build stadia or other scenarios, and use the OYO sports figurines as well. The best part about OYO’s potential is that it again seeks to marry what were once divergent worlds for young people. Like robotics, LEGO were once thought to be nerdy and not for “sports” kids.
Lehigh and Lafayette Bring 50K To Yankee Stadium: College football’s mega-crowds are commonplace across the country. However what is not common is to see to FCS schools with losing records and minimal marketing dollars pack Yankee Stadium on a November afternoon. The 150th matchup between Lehigh and Lafayette was five years in the making and was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, as alumni, students, faculty and longtime benefactors united for a perfect storm of an event. There were no massive giveaways, no radio stunts, just grassroots efforts that will be hard to duplicate by two schools any time in the next 150 years.
The Sochi Rescue: It started as a news report and became a social media phenomenon. The Russian government was rounding up stray dogs in and around Sochi in advance of the Olympics and they were to meet a terrible fate. Immediately, dog lovers, from athletes to fans, jumped on the cause and suddenly shelters were being set up and dogs were being smuggled out of the country to fans and citizens around the world wanting to help. US Olympian Gus Kenworthy and other American athletes played key roles. The simple story, without much initial funding and fanfare, became one of the unique rallying points for the games
The National Anthem Girl: You may not know Janine Stange, but chances are if you were around a sporting event in the US this year, you may have heard her. Stange took it upon herself, with little budget, to sing The National Anthem in all 50 States, and was welcomed from baseball and the NBA to NASCAR and the NHL. Her efforts raised awareness for military families, and she got to cap the year by singing in Baltimore during the celebration of Francis Scott Key penning the song 200 years ago this past September.
Win and Breathe Right: There have been several campaigns where a brand capitalized on a moment, and one was this past spring as California Chrome made its run for the Triple Crown. Breathe Right nasal strips and the horse had generated controversy for its use of equine nasal strips leading up to the event. Breathe Right seized the moment by going to the Belmont Stakes, co-sponsoring the race and handing out at least 50,000 of its nasal strips to adult fans.
The Chevy Guy: Yes Chevrolet spent millions advertising with MLB. What they didn’t spend on was the viral explosion after Rikk Wilde presented World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner with the keys to a new truck. Wilde and his “technology and stuff” moment was immediately turned into a marketing success, one of the best examples ever of a brand using a negative moment for fun and great positive spin.
So there you have it. Fun, opportunistic and worthy of praise. We look forward to what can be coming next in 2015 as well. Happy Holidays!
It’s time for another edition of Hashtag Tuesday which features insights from sports business professionals on a variety of topics, all collected via specific hashtags. This week, I collected some of the best tweets from the 9th Annual Ivy Sports Symposium that were shared via the #ISS2014 hashtag. The content covers a wide range of sports business topics, from culture and entrepreneurship to media and engagement. Enjoy!
Last week I had the chance to join Sean Callanan for the latest episode of his SportsGeek podcast. In the show we discussed several topics, including:
Click here for the full show notes and you can listen to the episode below. If you haven’t already, I encourage you all to subscribe to the Sports Geek podcast, available on iTunes, Soundcloud & Stitcher.
Sports business networking events coming to a city near you the week of April 13th! Tickets are $5 with 100% going to The V Foundation. Find your city below or click here for more information.
Tuesday, April 14
- Charlotte, NC
- Dallas, TX
- Houston, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Jacksonville, FL
- Los Angeles, CA
- New York, NY
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Orlando, FL
- San Francisco, CA
- Tampa, FL
- Chennai, India
- Toronto, Canada
- Vancouver, Canada
Thursday, April 16
- Atlanta, GA
- Baltimore, MD
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Cleveland, OH
- Minneapolis, MN
- Philadelphia, PA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Portland, OR
- San Diego, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Bangalore, India
Friday, April 17
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
Saturday, April 18
- Delhi, India