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Bahamas Red Cross donation site. #HelpUsHelp

• In an effort to “send a message of inclusion to its widely diverse fan base,” the NBA champion Toronto Raptors said they are the first NBA to offer an athletic hijab for Muslim women. The Nike Pro Hijabs with the team’s logo were inspired by the Hijabi Ballers, a Toronto-based non-profit organization dedicated to "celebrating and increasing the involvement of Muslim females in sports." “Inspired by those brave enough to change the game” the team posted to its social media platforms along with a video of the Hijabi Ballers in action.

• Greenleaf Foods said it has signed a deal with the Los Angeles Rams to become the first plant-based food brand to officially partner with an NFL team. As part of this partnership, Greenleaf’s Lightlife Burger will be available at Rams home games this season, beginning Sep. 15 during the team’s 2019 home opener ( agasint tthe New Orleans Saints). Lightlife plant-based protein products will also be featured in the Rams Game On! Program at Albertson’s, Vons, and Pavilions.

• The NFL and Facebook have signed a multi-year partnership extension that will “deliver more diversified NFL video content to fans worldwide through Facebook Watch,” expanding a relationship that began in 2017

The NFL will continue distributing recaps from all 256 regular season games, as well as playoff games and the Super Bowl; plus video highlights from such postseason tentpole events las the Pro Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and NFL Draft. The NFL will also utilize Facebook Watch for distribution of an array of unique content including NFL news and analysis, Video versions of NFL-produced podcasts and classic and special NFL 100 content.

In addition, the NFL will create Facebook Groups around content themes and work to share relevant video in those groups.

• American Airlines will not renew its naming rights deal with the venue that is home to the NBA’s Miami Heat, which has been AmericanAirlines Arena since it opened in 1999 via a 20-year deal valued at $42 million, according to Miami Today. The team and Miami-Dade County executives are in “advanced talks”with another national company. American will remain the official airline for the Heat.

• Bowlero Corp,, the leading owner and operator of bowling centers in America, has acquired the Professional Bowlers Assn. which has been in operation since 1958. Bowlero said, “All scheduled tournaments and programming will continue, with plans to build upon key initiatives including the PBA's groundbreaking Fox Sports partnership.” Full story here.

• Marshawn Lynch has been named as the founded for the expansion Oakland Panthers of the Indoor Football League, with the team beginning play in February 2020 in Oakland (formerly Oracle) Arena. The NFL Raiders are moving from Oakland to Las Vegas beginning with the 2020 season. Full story here.

• The Paley Center for Media, NY, will honor the 100th season of the NFL with a new exhibit: "A Century of Football: Celebrating the NFL’s 100th Season," free and open to the public (Sept. 14-Oct. 27), which includes the first public screening of the only known complete broadcast of Super Bowl I (then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game) in January 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.”

POLL POSITION

 Pro Football Hall of Fame First-Time Candidates Class of 2020
• DE John Abraham
• LB Lance Briggs
• WR/Special Teams Josh Cribbs
• RB Maurice Jones-Drew
• S Troy Polamalu
• DE Justin Smith
• WR Reggie Wayne
• LB Patrick Willis

The full list includes 122 players eligible to be selected to next year's class. Full story here.

KEEPING SCORE

Top Brands in 2019 Brand Keys “Consumer Loyalty Index”
• Airline: JetBlue
• Athletic Footwear:Nike
* Automotive: Hyundai
• Banks: Chase
• Beer: Corona Extra (regular), Miller Lite (Lite)
• Bottled Water: Dasani
• Casual Dining: Panera
• Coffee (OOH): Dunkin’
• Energy Drinks: Red Bull
• Headphones: Bose
• Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry’s
• Major League Sports: MLB
• Online Music: Slacker
* Online Retailer: Amazon
• Online Travel Booking: Booking.com
• Pizza: Domino’s
• QSR: Chick-fil-A
• Retail Sporting Goods: Dick’s
• Social Networking Sites: Instagram
• Soft Drinks: Coca-Cola (regular), Diet Coke
• Tequila: Jose Cuervo
• Ticketing Services: StubHub
• Vodka: Zubrowka
• Whiskey: Jack Daniel’s

FULL LIST HERE

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Sept. 6-8
1. It: Chapter Two $91M
2. Angel Has Fallen $6M
3. Good Boys $5.4M
4. Lion King $4.2M
5. Overcomer $3.8M
6. Hobbs & Shaw $3.7M
7. Peanut Butter Falcon $2.3M
8. Scary Stories $2.3M
9. Ready Or Not $2.2M
10. Dora and the Lost City of Gold $2.2M

Source: Box Office Mojo

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BodyArmor Into NCAA
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Cancer Drives Home
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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Entries in sports marketing (1)

Friday
Aug072015

Q&A: Microsoft Enhances NFL Alliance With Surface Pro, Windows 10, Xbox, Super Bowl

By Barry Janoff

August 7, 2015: Microsoft is a company built on technology. But it also knows how to get up-close and personal with consumers and NFL fans.

Entering the 2015 season, the Seattle-based company continues to build upon and enhance its five-year deal with the NFL, signed in 2013 and valued at $400 million by industry analysts. For its investment, Microsoft became the official sideline technology sponsor, Surface by Microsoft and Windows the official tablet and PC OS, respectively, and Xbox the official game console of the NFL.

This season, even as Microsoft unveils its new Windows 10 platform, Surface Pro 3 will replace Surface Pro 2 on NFL sidelines and expand throughout football operations.

Surface Pro 3, which allows NFL teams to review photos of plays instantly on the sidelines and up in the booths, has gotten a substantial upgrade from its previous versions.,That includes a larger screen allowing for more photos, more tools available to players and coaches — such as multi-color diagramming and a whiteboard for drawing up X-and-O plays — and a product that is lighter and more durable than its predecessor.

The NFL and Microsoft are also expanding during 20 pre-season games the testing of video and instant replay on the Surface Pro 3 by officiating crews, an element that was tested during the Pro Bowl last season. The NFL plans to review the results before potentially moving ahead with video and instant replay for 2016 regular season and playoff games.

Microsoft will get significant input from "Next Generation Stats" —   information being made available from the motion-tracker chips from Zebra Sports Solutions — which this season will be embedded in every player's jersey, including the distance and speed of every player on every play.

Consumers and fans will get an enhanced at-home experience via the Xbox One NFL app and Windows 10, as well as via Xbox and EA Sports' Madden NFL 16 (scheduled to hit retail Aug. 25). Among the benefits: More and upgraded video content, replays, statistics and a season-long skills game competition via such platforms as NFL Now, NFL Mobile and NFL Game Rewind.

And, owing to the burgeoning category of fantasy football, fans will get enhanced fantasy football notifications and quicker access to more detailed information on NFL players including NFL.com Fantasy Football.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Jeff Tran, director of sports and alliances for Microsoft, about the on-going impact of Surface Pro on NFL sidelines and football operations, marketing and activation during a season that will culminate with Super Bowl 50, the introduction of Windows 10 and the growth of Xbox, fantasy sports and other fan-friendly and consumer-centric platforms.

NYSportsJournalism.com: What are the hot points in 2015 regarding your alliance with the NFL?

Jeff Tran: This is a big year for Microsoft. It is a crucial point for the company and what we want to do with fans, consumers and Windows 10. It also is a big year for the NFL, celebrating Super Bowl 50. We love football. But this is not just about the validity and bigness of the last 50 years, but the future and what the next 50 years will bring.

NYSJ: The league is dealing with serious issues, such as concussions, health, domestic violence and child abuse, so how has that impacted Microsoft's alliance with the NFL?

JT: Our partnership with the NFL has blown away expectations. Every large company will have its issues, its ups and downs. We're involved with the league in a very strategic way and will continue to do so.

NYSJ: How much input do the players and coaches have regarding the Surface Pro on the sidelines?

JT: Players an coaches do contact us to let us know how the devices are operating and what impact they have. We listen to the players and coaches and take their input very seriously. We have gotten feedback from Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and other players. Bill Belichick has one. The color was something that the players wanted. Drew Brees told us he makes in-game adjustments based on what he is seeing on Surface Pro on the sidelines. He said it is a differentiator for him, and especially during inclement weather, because he can get the information faster (than using the black-and-white photo method) and communicate that information to his teammates faster.

NYSJ: Are more players and coaches acclimating to it?

JT: Last year we saw more players and coaches using it during critical moments of the game: During two-minute drills, in overtime. So not just a couple of times during a game but more often during each quarter. Using Surface Pro is seven times faster than the black-and-white photos, and each and every time they came off the field the Surface Pro was available for them to look at plays, which is not the case with the photos. And it's not just the speed, but also the ability to manipulate the photos, to zoom in on them, to circle players and use the pen to draw routes. The coaches in the booth have accesses to Surface Pro and the information that the players are seeing on the sidelines, and nearly all of them are using it.

"This is a big year for Microsoft, a crucial point (in) what we want to do with fans, consumers and Windows 10. It also is a big year for the NFL (with) Super Bowl 50."

NYSJ: Were you able to measure the growth of Surface Pro usage last year during games?

JT: In 2014, for the first half of the season, we saw a 50% adoption rate. And it grew from there. Teams have come out and said that they want to use Surface throughout their football operations. Aside from the marketing support, we have found that if a professional sees a device or tool that makes them better, faster, more informative, they are going to use it. It's as simple as that. That's what we focus on: To make sure that the user gets exactly what they want.

NYSJ: How do you get most of the feedback from players or coaches?

JT: Russell Wilson gave me his feedback in person, so I know it was him. We do activations with Wilson, PErcy harbin and a host of other players, and I ask them directly about Surface and how it is impacting their game. I ask them in a way in which the truth has to come out, and they all have given positive feedback. They tell me that they have become better at their craft, better at their job using Surface. They like the information they can access, the speed in which they get it and the durability of the product, which is made to use in inclement weather, in hot weather, under conditions in which it might hit the ground, get tossed around by linemen. It supports the marketing theme, Trusted by the pros, built for the fans.

NYSJ: What is the contingency plan just in case of extreme usage?

JT: Each team has 13 Surface Pros, which are kept on the sidelines in climate-controlled charging carts. And there are 12 in the coach's booth. So at any given time there are 50 Surface Pros at every game. Not once have we had a shortage.

NYSJ: The NFL is testing video and instant replay on the Surface Pro 3 during pre-season, but how long before that might become part of the regular season and post-season?

JT: The NFL has a process, and the process is to test it first, then present it to the Competition Committee. We don't see it being implemented this season. If they like the test results, we can see it being used beginning next season.

NYSJ: What are you taking from your first two seasons with the NFL to build and expand upon this season?

JT: A lot of people didn't know what to expect in going from paper to the digital world during games, and that's a risky position to be in. But we feel that the results have spoken for themselves. Players and coaches are using it on the sidelines and it's proliferating into the locker rooms, onto their play books, in video departments and throughout team business operations. And that's the outcome we were looking for.

NYSJ: Can you talk about marketing and activation for the coming season leading to Super Bowl 50?

JT: You will continue to see us use all of the platforms that connect us to fans and consumers. This year is a celebration of Super Bowl 50, but our storytelling also will talk about the next 50 years. How Microsoft will be at the forefront of technology and using that to improve the game and enhance the experience for fans and consumers, as well as players and coaches.

NYSJ: Are you finding that consumers are associating Microsoft with the NFL?

JT: People at first may not have realized that they were seeing Microsoft on the sidelines during games, where you don't see brand names and logos. Now it's almost second-nature. They are not questioning it. They are seeing more players and coaches going to the Surface Pro after plays. At home, football and fantasy are becoming synonymous with Xbox. We are the official technology sponsor of the NFL, and with the Surface Pro on the sidelines, more consumers are understanding that Microsoft is associated with the NFL.

NYSJ: How is Microsoft translating what it is learning from its NFL alliance to other partnerships and other parts of the company?

JT: We want to apply everything we are learning with the NFL to to sports and business alliances. In sports, we have among others partnerships with Nascar, Major League Soccer and Real Madrid. So in working with the NFL, the biggest league in the world, and its players, we are learning and building and taking that knowledge to all aspects of Microsoft.

NYSJ: What do you envision moving forward?

JT: Football (fans) are like steak eaters: Give them the red meat. We want to empower them. We are always looking to see how we can revolutionize and evolve the experience of football in our living room. Microsoft is in a singular endemic position to take the NFL and technology to the next level, to the future. Microsoft wants to be at the forefront of technology not just in how it impacts football and the NFL but sports and life. Revolutionizing and evolving the game-day and life experience.

PHOTOS COURTESY MICROSOFT

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