TBS seeks to be the sultan of swing during its exclusive broadcasts of the American League Wild Card Game (Sept. 30), AL Division Series (beginning Oct. 3) and AL Championship Series, stepping up to the plate with an on-air crew that includes Ernie Johnson, Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Dennis Eckersley, three-time Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez and nine-time All-Star Gary Sheffield, supported by a marketing campaign starring actor Bryan Cranston humorously re-enacting iconic post-season events (think Carlton Fisk, Kirk Gibson and Derek Jeter) and another heavy-hitter featuring the music of AC/DC. However, as Craig Barry, svp-production and executive creative director for Turner Sports, divulges in this Q&A, the challenge is not just getting core baseball fans to tune in but also employing tactics that attract casual fans, keep the core audience engaged and utilize social media to drive interest, ratings and marketing dollars.
Allstate has taken a hands-on approach to using college sports as a platform to get its insurance message out and to reach a young demographic, including naming rights to the Allstate Sugar Bowl (which this year is part of the new CFB Playoffs), a corporate partnership with the NCAA, the 'Good Hands Field Goal Nets' activation with 81 universities now in its tenth year and presenting sponsor for the Football Writers college coach of the year award and the Football Coaches Good Works Team (in addition to an official partnership with MLS and the U.S. National Soccer Team). But as Pam Hollander, vp-marketing for Allstate, reveals in this Q&A, there is a significant challenge in getting their messages to resonate with people in a sports category loaded with insurance company rivals and there is a fine line that must be walked when using humor — perhaps best epitomized by Allstate's 'Mayhem' campaign — while remaining serious about selling insurance.
As teams from the American League try to pound out hits during the Wild Card, Divisional Series and Championship Series, Turner Sports will be pounding out what could be the newest hit from legendary AC/DC, whose song, "Play Ball," from the soon-to-be-released Rock or Bust, will be the soundtrack for promos, commericals and other activations supporting exclusive coverage on TBS. MORE
Although he last played a MLB game in 2001, Cal Ripken Jr. is very much a part of the baseball landscape as president and CEO for Ripken Baseball, owner of MiLB's Aberdeen IronBirds, in campaigns for such brands as Kellogg's and Under Armour and, since 2007, as an analyst and commentator for Turner Sports' coverage of MLB. With this year's post-season fast approaching, Ripken will get national air time alongside Ernie Johnson and Ron Darling as part of TBS' exclusive AL playoff broadcasts. But first, the Hall of Famer who played in a record 2,632 consecutive games shares his thoughts in this Q&A on the challenges MLB faces in attracting new fans, the pitfalls players need to avoid on social media, the ups and downs of being a marketing spokesman and a plan of attack for his friend Derek Jeter after Jeter hangs up his New York Yankees uniform for the last time.
As Walter White in Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston played a high school chemistry teacher turned crystal-meth dealer, but as the MLB post-season approaches he reverts to his real-life persona as an actor who is a huge baseball fan, and he gets to evoke both in a multi-platform effort for TBS' coverage when he stages a one-man show in which he recreates memorable baseball events involving Carlton Fisk, Kirk Gibson and Derek Jeter with the assistance of world-renowned ballerina Misty Copeland, former pitcher Pedro Martinez and animated icon Bugs Bunny. MORE
NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers is best-known for his prowess on the field, including throwing TD bombs to his Green Bay Packers teammates, but he has also built a reputation as a photobomber, most notably in weekly pictures featuring honorary game-day captains, dating back to 2006, in which he has appeared wearing hats and eye-patches and holding such items as cameras and party favors. In a new regional marketing campaign, Associated Bank in Green Bay puts Rodgers' photobombing skills to the test and asks people to join in for an opportunity to win autographed footballs and have their own photos bombed by the QB. MORE
The NFL, looking to fill its vacant CMO office, has not strayed too far from the family by signing Dawn Hudson, who spent more than a decade with league partner PepsiCo as top marketing executive and then president/CEO for Pepsi-Cola North America, which gave her first-hand experiences in the pros and cons of working with the NFL that will be a put to the test during a volatile time as a result of domestic violence and child abuse cases pulling the league and its partners apart. MORE
The dire situations regarding domestic violence and child abuse that are impacting society and eliciting action from the NFL are now hearing a loud and massive voice from the White House, which has launched a multi-media PSA campaign, 'It's On Us' targeting sexual abuse on campus, with participants and supporters including the NCAA, U.S. Olympic Committee, Microsoft, iHeart Radio, Electronic Arts, Kevin Love, Kerry Washington, Common and Questlove, all speaking to and asking people both on and off universities nationwide to "Stop sexual assault. Get in the way before it happens. Get a friend home safe. To take responsibility." MORE
NEWS FROM NFL 2014
Now entering its ninth year, "Crash the Super Bowl" from PepsiCo's Doritos brand continues to draw global attention while keeping the promotion itself invigorated, this year touting via a multi-platform marketing push a $1M top prize and a trip to the Big Game in the University of Phoenix Stadium this February for the creator(s) of the winning consumer-generated spot, plus the opportunity to work for a year at Universal Pictures in several creative capacities and on several film projects, in addition to having the commercial air on NBC during Super Bowl XLIX and then going into regular rotation, following in the Madison Avenue footsteps of last season's winner, "Time Machine." MORE
Even as commissioner Roger Goodell was apologizing for his actions and the state of the NFL, marketing partners were bemoaning the state of the league regarding the issues of domestic violence and child abuse and P&G was severing its league alliance with an upcoming breast cancer awareness event, Tommy Bahama and '47 Brand were keeping the faith, not only unveiling products but marketing support, as well, with men and women as their target consumers. MORE
Entering its second season as an official NFL partner, Microsoft is unveiling a multi-platform strategy intended to expand and enhance its alliance with the league and its fans, including Surface 2 tablets on sidelines during games for players and coaches to review action, Xbox activations to boost in-game and fantasy experiences, an "on-the-go" option for the Microsoft NFL app for Xbox, a centralized gathering of content from such sources as NFL Network and NFL Now, presenting sponsorship of NFL Kickoff on Sept. 4 and a multi-media marketing push to support the entire effort. MORE
The NFL is accustomed to running on the ground and throwing passes through the air, and now a growing number of teams are showing their fans how to travel by sea via alliances with such cruise line companies as Carnival, Celebrity, Princess and Norwegian, including multi-platform advertising and marketing, in-stadium activations and such on-board experiences as meet-and-greets with team legends, live viewing of games and recreating tail-gate parties at sea. MORE
NEWS FROM MLB 2014
Since 1977, Kiss has licensed products in some 3,000 categories that have accounted for more than $1B in total retail sales, but the iconic rock group has now found another field of merchandise dreams, signing with MLB to produce a line of T-shirts with a logo inspired by the 1975 release, Dressed to Kill, to be followed by apparel that will harken back to the classic song, "Detroit Rock City," all thanks to the fact that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley call themselves "die-hard fans of Major League Baseball." MORE
NEWS FROM NBA 2014-15
Seeing both the fanciful and nonsensical sides of relatively non-descript items such as mouthguards, tearaway warm-up pants and bobbleheads, Blake Griffin shares his inner beatnik poet in a new campaign for Vizio to support the consumer electronics firm's division of Ultra HDTVs, which lives up to the tag, "See the beauty in everything" when the NBA All-Star offers lines including, "It ain't no big thing to take an elbow to the face/Because my Silcone mouthguard is there to keep my pie hole in place." MORE
When LeBron James recently declared that he would be leaving the NBA's Miami Heat and returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was hailed as a favorite among fans, media and the general public for his loyalty to family, friends and his hometown roots. But it turns out that James already was the favorite male athlete in the U.S., according to a new study from The Harris Poll, which has James ahead of Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. MORE
Calling it the league's first official partnership in the audio category, the NBA has signed a multi-year, multi-platform deal with Harman International, which will encompass the NBA, WNBA, D-League and USA Basketball, produce NBA player- and team-branded headphones and equipment and get significant presence at such jewel events as the 2015 All-Star Game in New York and the pre-season NBA Global Games beginning next month, all to be supported by multi-media marketing, promotions and a sweepstakes. MORE
NEWS FROM NHL 2014-15
The NHL has added Procter & Gamble to its roster of marketing partners, with global consumer goods giant putting its division in Canada front and center to bring its oral care division to fans, including a multi-platform campaign for such products as Crest, Oral-B, Scope and Fixodent to run throughout the season and league veteran Martin St. Louis and his wife Heather being signed to support the launch of and marketing efforts behind Crest Sensi-Relief. MORE
NEWS FROM BostonSportsJournalism.com
General Motors brand Buick has signed on as the title sponsor for the upcoming friendly match between two iconic soccer clubs, Liverpool and AS Roma, and the automaker intends to keeps its recent upswing in sales and consumer profile high via 'Buick Football At Fenway' on JUly 23, an event that will air on NBC Sports and is being conducted under the auspices of Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool, the latter of which also includes minority interest owner LeBron James, who just might make an appearance at the game due to his alliance with FSG and its marketing arm, Fenway Sports Management. MORE
NEWS FROM SanFranciscoJournalism.com
The NHL will stage an outdoor game in California for the second consecutive season when the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series hits Levi's Stadium, the new $1.2B home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, in February, with the nearby San Jose Sharks hosting the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, but there will be several firsts, with this being the first outdoor game in Northern California, the first outdoor game for the Sharks and also the first NHL outdoor game to be played in a venue that will host the Super Bowl (historic Super Bowl 50, scheduled for February 2016). MORE
NEWS FROM LosAngelesJournalism.com
Declaring that "This is still Lakers Town," new Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott showed that, although he has not been with the team since 1997, he still bleeds purple and gold when, during his introductory press conference on July 29, he declared that it was the Lakers, not the Clippers, that ruled the town and that "a ton of great players want to be here," which had to sound good to former players Magic Johnson and Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, current players such as Kobe Bryant, ownership, fans and marketing partners including Coke, Nike, AmEx, Staples, Toyota and Verizon, all of whom endured last season the team's worst showing in a decade and still face the potential of several rebuilding years to come. MORE
MORE NEWS ...
The 2014 campaign doesn't end until November, but Major League Soccer took time in September to unveil its plans for the future under an umbrella effort called MLS Next, including expansion, marketing, media strategies and a new 'crest' — which will be rolled out beginning with EA Sports' FIFA 15 release next week and which can be 'customized' to reflect the colors of each club — that CMO Howard Handler called "a great reflection of our character, ambition and where we are headed as a league." MORE
Michael Phelps, arguably the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, has worn Speedos since he was 16, but that 12-year endorsement deal, which expired at the end of 2013, has been replaced by a fervent one with Aqua Sphere, where Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman, will help to design a brand of competitive swimsuits and products, work on and appear in marketing and promotional efforts and continue to share the virtues of swimming to get more kids and adults into the sport, all as the man with 18 gold medals trains for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team with the goal of competing in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. MORE
With a goal of making its women's business equal to or larger than its men's lines, Under Armour has launched what the brand is calling its biggest global marketing push for women, under the umbrella 'Womanifesto' tag line, "I Will What I Want," and endorsers such as Lindsey Vonn, Misty Copeland, Kelly O'Hara, Sloane Stephens and Brianna Cope all on board for a campaign that includes TV, print, Internet, social media and mobile. MORE
Back in December, a student held up a sign on ESPN asking his mom for financial help, not in dollars but in digital bitcoins (he received $23K worth into his account from various benefactors), a ploy that inspired bitcoin processing firm BitPay to move ahead with a strategy to align with sports and entertainment to reach a target demo of young, tech-savvy consumers. That tactic has since led to official partnerships with the NBA's Sacramento Kings and the athletic department in Georgia Tech, handling the account for rapper 50 Cent's new album and a naming rights deal with ESPN for the post-season college football game now known as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. But as BitPay vp-marketing Stephanie Wargo explains in this Q&A, although the notion of paying with bitcoin is expanding, getting mainstream businesses and consumers to understand and use bitcoin is as difficult and challenging as the early days of the Internet.
Following several meetings with representatives from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC, U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst said that although there still remains a lot of work and planning, he is 'more optimistic than ever that a U.S. bid for the 2024 Summer Games can be successful,' putting the nation's overseeing body for the Games closer to the point where it could move ahead with a bid in early 2015 and giving sponsors and supporters of the USOC hope that the Olympics could return to domestic soil for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. MORE
Calling it an 'historic agreement,' Nascar unveiled a ten-year deal with Comcast's Xfinity to take over as title sponsor for the Nationwide Series beginning in 2015, valued at $200M by industry analysts, which makes the high-speed video and Internet provider just the third company to hold that position in 26 years (Anheuser-Busch), with the pact giving Xfinity official partner status in the multi-channel video programming distributor and broadband ISP categories and enabling both Comcast and Xfinity to gain broader access to what Nascar called a 'large, highly engaged technology-connected TV audience.' MORE
There are 190 million fans of college sports and many of them love to spend money to support their team, this past season to the tune of $4.59B on univeristy-licensed merchandise, according to CLC, the college licensing division of IMG College (which represents 200 schools nationwide), with the Texas Longhorns leading the way for the 9th consecutive year, Florida State having jumped up from No. 21 to No. 8 due to its BCS success, Nike leading the apparel category (as it has every season since 1999 except for two) and EA Sports again topping the non-apparel category. MORE
Cancer is an aggressive disease that impacts mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends and co-workers. The best way to beat it: Be even more aggressive in finding a cure. That is the heart of the strategy that drives STAND UP TO CANCER, which along with key partners MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL and MASTERCARD used in 2013 multi-media marketing and platforms that reached consumers and corporations to support an overarching plan of empowerment to get funds directly to doctors, scientists and hospitals to hasten research to end cancer. MORE