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• Under Armour said this morning that Patrik Frisk, the company’s president and COO, would become its new CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2020. He will also remain president. Company founder, chairman and CEO Kevin Plank, will become executive chairman and brand chief. According to Friske via Under Armour, "The opportunity that lies ahead of us is incredible as our entire global team continues to lean hard into our transformation."

• Sacramento, California's capital city, has been awarded an MLS expansion team with Sacramento Republic FC becoming the league's 29th team and beginning play in MLS in 2022. The club will build a new, $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer stadium in the downtown Railyards District. 

• Octagon and the National Women’s Soccer League have signed a multi-tier consulting partnership, in which Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting and Marketing divisions will "advise the NWSL on its league media rights, sponsorship, and marketing." “The growth of the NWSL over the past six years has been tremendous, and the league, its teams and players show absolutely no sign of slowing down,” Christine Franklin, SVP, Marketing, Octagon, said via the firm.

• The Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. But if a new MLB proposal were to become reality, more than three dozen cities with affiliated minor league teams will lose those teams a year from now and thousands of minor league players will be out of work as well. Full story here.

• "We said there's no chance that's happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver regarding China’s request that the league fire Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

• "The losses have already been substantial. Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we'll see what happens next. I don't know where we go from here. The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the Time 100 Summit on Thursday regarding the league’s on-going situation with China.

• Halloween this year is Oct. 31, and retailers, marketers and consumers are ready for another season of trick-or-treat. Total spend on Halloween 2019 is expected to reach $8.8 billion according to the National Retail Federation, Washington, DC. Full story here. 

POLL POSITION

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Nominees

• Pat Benatar
• Dave Matthews Band
• Depeche Mode
• Doobie Brothers
• Whitney Houston
• Judas Priest
• Kraftwerk
• MC5
• Motorhead
• Nine Inch Nails
• Notorious B.I.G.
• Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
• Todd Rundgren
• Soundgarden
• T. Rex
• Thin Lizzy

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KEEPING SCORE

Most Popular NBA Player Jerseys (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
5. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
6. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
7. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
8. Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans
9. Carmelo Anthony (most recently with Houston Rockets)
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets

Most Popular Player Merchandise (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
4. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
6. Paul George Los Angeles Clippers
7. James Harden Houston Rockets
8. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
9. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets
SOURCE: STUBHUB.COM

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Oct. 18-20
1. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil $36M
2. Joker $29.2M
3. Zombieland 2 $26.7M
4. Addams Family $16M
5. Gemini Man $8.5M
6. Abominable $3.5M
7. Downton Abbey $3M
8. Judy $2M
9. Hustlers $2M
10. It 2 $1.5M
BoxOfficeMojo.com

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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. 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)

NBA 2019 Opening Nights
• Oct. 22 New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors TNT 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 22 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers TNT 10:30 PM (ET)

• Oct. 23 Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers ESPN 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 23 Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers ESPN 10 PM (ET)

Tuesday
Sep262017

Q&A: Nascar Revs Up The Energy With Fans, Drivers, Playoffs, Partnerships

By Barry Janoff

September 26, 2017: Nascar is hot-and-heavy into the 2017 ten-race Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series playoffs, which began in Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 17), with the 2017 champion scheduled to be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19, NBCSN).

Drivers competing for the Cup include Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowsk, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr.

The playoffs are being supported by multi-media marketing, including TV ("The Beginning," "Challenge of Champions"), digital, social media and on-track activation.

Among other marketing and sponsorship deals, this season has seen the arrival of Monster Energy as title sponsor for the Cup Series (replacing Sprint) via a two-year alliance (with a two-year option) that includes numerous activation, valued at $20 million annually by industry analysts.

One key reason for the deals between Nascar and its plethora of marketing partners: Nascar fans are seen as being among the most brand loyal in sports, according to studies from such sources as the American Marketing Assn. and Turnkey Sports & Entertainment.

Jill Gregory was named CMO for Nascar in June 2015. She joined Nascar in 2007 after serving as Senior Vice President of Motorsports Marketing at Bank of America and prior to as Director of Nascar Sprint Cup Series Marketing at Sprint Nextel.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Jill Gregory about marketing, drivers, the sport’s fan base and the future of Nascar.

NYSportsJournalism.com: Nascar is now finishing its first season with Monster Energy as title sponsor for the Cup Series. How would you rate the alliance so far and what do you see moving forward?

Jill Gregory: We were excited at the start of the season to launch our partnership with Monster Energy. They have brought a different perspective to the Cup Series. An energetic brand. An edgy brand. They drive interest. They brought different elements to the race tracks. All sorts of at-track activation. Music. MMA fights. And obviously the Monster Energy Girls. They created a different buzz in the air. And they have done a great job of activating at retail. Their brand and their product is everywhere. So with the growing association between Nascar and Monster Energy, we have been seeing Nascar and our partnership in a lot more places. It’s been very productive.

NYSJ: Have they received feedback from fans and consumers of Nascar or seen a response at retail due to its Nascar alliance?

JG: We continually share all sorts of metrics with them. The acceptance of the Monster Energy brand among Nascar fans has been tremendous. We are already seeing results that we didn’t see until much farther along in our relationship with Sprint. They have made an impact. And we know that Nascar fans have really been open to their brand and are excited about what they are bringing to Nascar.

NYSJ: Literally and figuratively, there are a lot of moving parts in Nascar when it comes to marketing and sponsorships. Drivers have sponsors, teams have sponsors and Nascar has sponsors. What is the challenge to keep the partnerships aligned?

JG: That’s why we go to work every day. (Laughs.) It can be a complicated landscape. But the great news is that we’ve got more Fortune 500 brands in our sport than any other. We’ve got competitors working together, not just on the race track but in the marketplace. We know, and they know, that Nascar is a great place to do business. That’s because those brands want to connect with our fans. Our fans are passionate. They reward the brands that spend in our sport. So we feel that there is a place for any brand that wants to reach an incredibly loyal fan base.

NYSJ: In speaking with Kevin Harvick, he said he pays close attention to the companies with which he partners because he knows the type of impact those relationships have on the lives of his fans. How important is that to Nascar when you look for and sign partnerships?

JG: That is a priority for us because we know that the loyalty of Nascar fans is tremendous. Fans understand the importance of sponsorships. They get that the sponsors make our sport happen. Without sponsorships for a team or race car, their favorite driver might not be racing. That’s where the loyalty and passion comes in to play. For fans of Kevin Harvick, they are going to be loyal to Jimmie John’s or Busch Beer (two of his primary sponsors). They know he wouldn’t race if it wasn’t for those sponsorships. They understand the importance of those companies delivering to them the sport they love.

NYSJ: The NBA this coming season has sold for the first time space on team jerseys for sponsorship deals. That is a major move for the NBA, but something Nascar and soccer teams have traditionally had. Is that the shape of things to come in all pro sports?

JG: They have to deal with it on their own terms. And how it plays out in that space will be different from how it plays out in ours. For us, sponsors are the lifeblood. Without them, those cars don’t race. There is probably a bit of a different association with stick-and-ball sports. But sponsorships and the brands that are with us know that deal is going to lead to strong brand consideration or sales.

NYSJ: Nascar released a marketing campaign to support the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series playoffs. How does it differ from efforts during the regular season?

JG: The playoffs are when the intensity ratchets up. The passion increases. Everything is on the line. We have been working on the playoffs campaign for several months. We moved to a new strategy a couple of years ago where we focus on digital and social first. But we also have great TV partners. So we have a lot of great inventory to do TV spots. It’s all about content.

NYSJ: What was the creative process?

JG: We brought the drivers in to talk about the playoffs, and this year the campaign evolved so that it was told from their perspective. What do they think about the playoffs. What is their mindset. We did s series of interviews with them ahead of time before we even reached the concept of the campaign. And they all have a slightly different perspective. Some want to add to their championships. The rookies are thinking, I deserve to be here and I want to show these (veterans) that I am for real. The TV element shows the grueling road that it takes to make the playoffs. The social and digital component is more light-hearted, talking about the drivers’ preparations for a race. But it’s all from the drivers' perspective.

NYSJ: What is the challenge when creating marketing campaigns in showcasing the personalities of the drivers, sometimes in a humorous way, but not losing sight of the fact that this can be a dangerous sport?

JG: I feel we have been able to show that mix in our marketing. We do have humorous components, But safety is always first and showing that our drivers are professionals is very important. At the end of the day, these guys are all friendly and cordial. But once the race starts it’s different. They put their helmets on and its game on. Our guys have a lot of sponsorships, a lot of media opportunities, and they know how important that is, how much of a difference it can make to them and their teams.

"We are already seeing results with Monster Energy that we didn’t see until much farther along in our relationship with Sprint."

NYSJ: After the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series is decided and you have your Nascar Awards in Las Vegas (Nov. 30, NBCSN), you take a short break and then start the 2018 season. What are you looking at and what might you like to see as far as marketing and drivers?

JG: We will continue to dive deeper in to the personalities of the drivers, and continue to make them the focal point. We know that they are the No. 1 connection between Nascar and our fans and their loyalty to the drivers. Kevin Harvick, for example, has many interests beyond driving, with music and being a fan of the New York Yankees. So we can focus on that and to build the connection between him and fans of the Yankees who might not yet be fans of Nascar. So we will continue to uncover and showcase what makes these drivers unique. And to get inside one of the most intense forms of competition in the world. They balance this unbelievable skill and bravery on the track, but they are also like you and I off the track.

In Quest For Nascar Cup Title, Harvick Driven By Fans, Sponsors

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