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• In response to the mass shooting that occurred in the early hours of August 4, 2019, The Dayton Foundation has established the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund.

• "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

• "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

• "I intend to live forever, or die trying." — Groucho Marx RIP 8-19-1977

• Per NBC Sports: “A plane carrying Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife Amy and their daughter Isla rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire upon landing today (Aug. 15)  in Elizabethon (Municipal Airport), Tenn. All (five people) aboard the plane (including two pilots) are safe.”The airport is about 14 miles south of Bristol Motor Speedway, where Earnhardt Jr. was scheduled to be part of the NBC Sports crew cowering this weekend’s Nascar races.

• Continuing its expansion into the sports betting landscape, MLB has signed a multi-year partnership designating FanDuel as an “authorized gaming operator” of the league. FanDuel called it a “landmark deal” as it marks the company’s first partnership with MLB or an MLB team. MLB also has alliances in the sports betting category that include MGM Resorts International, Draftings and Sportradar. Full story here.

• For future trivia buffs: ex-NFL and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has become the first player to officially sign with the XFL, which is scheduled to begin play in February 2020. Landry, who played in 19 games (five starts) during his NFL career (2013-18), mainly with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be assigned to one of eight XFL teams via an eignt man QB draft scheduled for the fall. Financial terms were not released.
 

• Nick Kyrgios, currently ranked No. 27 in the world, has been fined $113,000 by the ATP relating to a series of incidents during his second-round loss at the Western & Southern Open Wednesday evening in Cincinnati, including five separate unsportsmanlike conduct situations, each a $20,000 fine.

• National consumer cannabidiol (CBD) brand cbdMD has signed a deal with reigning UFC heavyweight world champion, Daniel "DC" Cormier, which comes as Cormier is scheduled to defend his heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 on Aug.17.

• T-Mobile said it would donate $2,000 per home run hit at the inaugural T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby to Little League Baseball and Softball—pledging to hit at least $1 million in total donations in its first year of partnership. The money will fund participation grants to make programs more affordable for kids and families. The donation includes the $642,000 donated at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at MLB All-Star Week.

• Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has become an investor in the MLS Seattle Sounders, along with his wife, musician Ciara; as well as rap artist Macklemore and his wife Tricia Davis. The Sounders also said that founding owner Joe Roth is leaving the club.

NBA Opening Weekend presented by Kia national TV Games 2019-20:
Oct. 22 New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors (TNT), Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers (TNT); Oct. 23 Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers (ESPN), Denver  Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers (ESPN); Oct. 24 Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets (TNT), Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors (TNT); Oct. 25 Dallas Mavericks vs. New Orleans Pelicans (ESPN), Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN).

• WNBA Teams, Players Now Part Of NBA 2K20: "We have arrived!" Full story here.

• The NFL said the Pro Bowl would return to Orlando's Camping Ground Stadium for the fourth successive year, scheduled for Jan. 26, 2020. It will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and be simulcast on ABC (3 PM ET). Full story here.

• 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

NBC Sports Group and Mecum Auctions have signed a multi-year partnership extension to continue coverage of Mecum car auctions across NBC Sports through 2024.

The top-five selling cars since the start of the partnership in 2014:
1, 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype GT/104 $7M (2014)
2, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari $4.7M (2016)
3. 1966 Ford GT40 MkI $4.4M (2016)
4. 1933 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe $3.85M (2018)
5. 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible  $3.5 (2014)

KEEPING SCORE

World's Most Valuable Sports Franchises

1. Dallas Cowboys $5 billion, +4%
2. New York Yankees $4.6 billion +15%
3. Real Madrid $4.24 billion +4%
4. Barcelona $4.02 bilion
5. New York Knicks $4 billion +11%
6. Manchester United $3.81 billion
7. New England Patriots 43.8 billion
8. Los Angeles Lakers $3.7 billion +12%
9. Golden State Warriors $3.5 billion +13%
10. New York Giants $3.3 billion

11. Los Angeles Dodgers $3.3 billion
12. Boston Red Sox 43.2 billion
12. Los Angeles Rams $3,2 billion
14. Washington Redskins $3.1 billion
14. Chicago Cubs $3.1 billion
16. San Francisco 49ers $3.05 billion
17. Bayern Munich $3.01 billion
18. San Francisco Giants $3 billion
19. Chicago Bulls $2.9 billion
19. Chicago Bears $2.9 billion

SOURCE: FORBES

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Aug. 9-11
1. Hobbs & Shaw $25.4M
2. Scary Stories $20.8M
3. The Lion King $20M
4. Dora and the City of Lost Gold $17M
5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood $11.6M
6. The Art of Racing in the Rain $8.1M
7. The Kitchen $5.5M
8. Spider-Man Far From Home $5.3M
9. Toy Story 4 $4.4M
10. Bring the Soul $2.3M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
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).

Monday
Mar262012

Q&A: Stanley Cup Quest For Gold Runneth Over For The NHL, Marketing Partners

By Barry Janoff

March 26, 2012: The National Hockey League strongly believes that its fans are the most loyal of any in sports. According to the league, all metrics are up this season, including social media participation, merchandise sales and viewership on NBC and NBC Sports.

But the NHL is on a mission to get more casual and non-hockey fans to pay attention (and spend money) during the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin April 11 and will run through mid-June. To that end, the league has put the Stanley Cup itself - arguably the best-known sports trophy in the world - into the heart of its post-season marketing and activation.

The NHL said that its new campaign, "Because It’s The Cup," represents the most "strategic and creative campaign collaboration ever among the [league], NBC Sports Group, CBC, TSN, RDS, teams and sponsors.    

One spot, "Where It's Been," follows the Stanley Cup on its epic travels around the world, which have included Mario Lemieux's swimming pool, baptisms and night clubs. Another spot, "Story" follows the evolution of the Cup in stop-motion time lapse from its original bowl more than 120 years ago to its current incarnation. The lead agency is DraftFCB. Chicago.

NHL league partners also are vesting heavily in the Stanley Cup aura. Discover Financial Services is using Facebook as a landing spot for people to show why they should spend a "Day With The Stanley Cup," being supported by multi-media marketing that includes a TV spot with Phil Pritchard, one of the charged with the care and handling of the Cup.

And league partner Miller-Molson Coors is working with some 6,500 bars across the U.S. and Canada for POP signage and Stanley Cup tap handles that draw Molson Canadian and Coors Light draft. Coors Light also will have Stanley Cup images on cans available at retail.

Brian Jennings, evp-marketing for the NHL, spoke with NYSportsJournalism about the challenges and rewards facing the league as the Stanley Cup playoffs approach.


NYSportsJournalism.com: How would you assess the 2011-12 season as we near the playoffs?

Brian Jennings: In many ways this has been a remarkable season. As we are heading into the most important time of the year for us, the playoffs and the marketing of the Stanley Cup, this season has been very rewarding. Right now, from our sponsorship to digital metrics, consumer products and everything around the league is trending upward. We are bullish, and excited, about our plans and outlook for the future.

NYSJ: What are the challenges in keeping that going?

BJ: Keeping the momentum and energy behind the brand is essential, but is no small task. The marketplace, and most importantly our fans and our sponsors, have been responding positively to everything we have done. We look at the marketing calendar, and we continue to build out platforms, be it the Thanksgiving weekend  with the float in the Macy's parade, the Winter Classic, the All-Star Game, looking ahead to the post-season, we have something going on almost each month for our partners to rally around and celebrate.

NYSJ: For sports fans and marketers, there is a lot happening now. Are you finding that the NHL brand is resonating with fans and consumers and that NHL marketing messages are reaching them?

BJ: Most certainly. The challenge to any marketer and just the sheer volume of messaging in the marketplace can be daunting. But we believe that we have been very successful with our approach to date. Now, looking at the 2012 playoffs, there has been a bit of a shift strategically in the sense that we are trying to socialize the Stanley Cup playoffs. All of the things we are doing in marketing behind the playoffs are trying to take advantage of the equity in the Stanley Cup itself. During focus groups we held [to get consumer and fan insights into the NHL] in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, we had maybe not an 'Aha!' moment, but one of those moments where we recognized that we had such an asset in the Stanley Cup that it would be perhaps the best gateway to welcome new fans into what we think is the best two-and-a-half months of sports competition in the world.

NYSJ: What has been the reaction of NHL marketing partners to the new post-season campaign?

BJ: There have been two moments that showed the high level of satisfaction. One was coming out of the All-Star in Ottawa when we had all of our Canadian partners in a room and I was making a presentation about our playoff plans. And this is an audience that understands hockey, reveres the game of hockey. And they embraced it. The other pretty much came when when we were making the post-season presentation to all of our partners that active heavily where for two months we are a traveling road show. And they said to us, 'We get it. We like it. We understand it.' Getting back to the ability to cut through all the other messages and to reach fans and consumers, it is not about a clever tag line. It's really about the voluminous activation that you have going on that allows you to execute and effective campaign. And when you have a level of brand consistency where your partners are using your brand material or they are talking about the Stanley Cup playoffs in a similar realm that you are, everything you do reinforces the message in the marketplace.

"It's not about a clever tag line. It's really about the voluminous activation that you have going on that allows you to execute and effective campaign."

NYSJ: What was it specifically that you found in the focus groups about what casual and non-hockey fans know about the Stanley Cup?

BJ: Some of the qualifications [for participation] were self-defined sports fans and some of it was built on actual behavior. We received some very good insights, and some things that we were very encouraged about. For the most part, the participants told us that they were open to the NHL; they don't reject the sport.  But that we need to find them. They are not necessarily seek us out. Which directly addressed our association with and being strategically aligned with strong media partners. The importance of profiling and telling player stories. We also found that the Stanley Cup playoffs are clearly our biggest opportunity to attract casual fans.

NYSJ: What was it that specifically came out during the sessions that was a catalyst for the league?

BJ: I attended two of the three focus groups we had and watched video of the third. At the end of each, the facilitator asked the men and women sitting around each table, 'What is the name of the trophy that they give out at the end of the NHL season?' And almost in unison, among 14, 15 people at each session, they would respond, 'The Stanley Cup.' And not only did they know the name, but they also knew that there was a handler who takes care of and travels with the Stanley Cup, that players on each winning team got to keep the Cup for a day and went deeper into some of the history of the Cup than we could ever have imagined. It was one of those insights that leads you to say, As far as our [post-season] marketing, let's really make it about the Cup.

NYSJ: Why do you think people respond that way to the Stanley Cup?

BJ: Credit is given to the league, which all along has done a good job to make it a focal point of the NHL and a focal point of the playoffs. But it also is about the uniqueness trophy. It is iconic. I even go back to when I was on the consumer-products side, we would have it show up at trade shows. And even if there were other sports championship trophies there, people showed more interest in the Stanley Cup, lined-up to have their picture taken with it. It didn't matter where we were or what market we were in. It was hard to put your finger on it, but it has a celebrity status. One new spot really connects that, talks about where the Cup has been and reinforces that while treating it with the respect and reverence it deserves.

NYSJ: Beyond winning the NHL championship, how important is the Cup itself to players?

BJ: When you talk to athletes, one of the most coveted honors is to represent your country in the Olympics and to win a gold. But when you talk to our guys, winning the Stanley Cup is right up there with that as far as respect and pride and the sheer will to win and then hoist the Cup and skate around the rink with it. That holds true for any player who has ever laced up a pair of hockey skates. Grown men crying, realizing what they have accomplished. The sheer will to win as a team. That honor makes them a band of brothers, even if they get traded or when they retire and move on. They will always have that moment of winning and having their name alongside the names of their teammates on the Stanley Cup.

NYSJ: How significant was it for the league to replace its two-year-old 'History Will Be Made' post-season campaign with 'Because It's The Cup'?

BJ: The word 'Because' instead of 'History' was another area that led us to that insight. We felt that 'History' may have excluded too many people but that 'Because' gave us a lot of room to grow in a lot of different directions. And it gave our partners a lot of room to activate. Miller-MolsonCoors alliance with us really allows us to active in bars, on-pack, in-premise, other areas that are critical to us to reinforce this message of social relations during the Stanley Cup playoffs. This year’s campaign, perhaps more than ever, capitalizes on the social connections among fans during the Stanley Cup and the playoffs.

NYSJ: What role will local marketing featuring each team and players from each squad play in the overall campaign?

BJ: When you look at history and traditions, you typically are talking to a more heavily engaged fan, who are already invested in the property. But we wanted to look at the casual fan and see how they fit in. We looked at team rivalries as an entry point, because anyone can understand a good rivalry. The events that we put on have a social and pop-culture kind of notion to them: The Winter Classic, [the season-opening] Faceoff, Hockey Day in American or Canada, those are moments when people come together in celebration. Then when you go up the ladder, talking about players and the nuances of the game itself, you are talking about more heavily engaged fans. So we wanted to make sure that there were enough things happening in and around the playoffs to engage the casual fans and welcome them in to watch the hockey being played every night.

NYSJ: The NHL and Comcast NBC-Universal signed a ten-year deal last year, and this year NBC rebranded Versus as the NBC Sports Network. How important has that been to the league and marketing partners in getting the game and its players to core and casual fans?

BJ: When the deal was signed, [NHL] commissioner Gary Bettman called it 'the most significant U.S. media rights deal in the league's history.' We recognize that with NBC as our media partner, they are serving our fans unlike any time in the history of our sport. Every game, every night being broadcast as part of our new alliance with NBC Sports. And now there will be this frenetic pace of hockey, beginning April 11 until the conclusion of the Stanley Cup finals. When you look at the creative we have produced for local markets, highlight players on each respective team, there is a common thread that the clubs can take and customize for their broadcast marketing and for use in-arena. That is very important.

"We recognize that with NBC as our media partner, they are serving our fans unlike any time in the history of our sport."

NYSJ: In talking about players, how important is it to have Sidney Crosby, arguably the player best known to casual and non-hockey fans, healthy and back on the ice?

BJ: First and foremost, having a player of Sidney's caliber healthy and back on the ice is nothing short of a wonderful positive. It's a great development for Sidney and for our fans. He is a great player and a fiery competitor, which aligns quite nicely with this time of the hockey season. But you have to give credit to the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Even with Sidney out, they were still winning hockey games, were still very competitive. And you look at guys like Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, who had to step up a take a larger role. They get to create more awareness for themselves and for the team.

NYSJ: How big an impact can Crosby's return have on post-season awareness among casual and non-hockey fans?

BJ: Clearly, we want the best players on the ice all the time. But I remember during the 2010 playoffs when both Sid and Alex Ovechkin [of the Washington Captials] both got knocked out of the playoffs early and people were asking, 'What's going to happen? Who will watch now?' But the momentum continued to build all the way through the Stanley Cup finals when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated Philadelphia Flyers in six games. The game is played on the ice by 22 guys and we have a competitive balance throughout the NHL that, frankly, many of the other leagues are striving for.

NYSJ: Can up-and-coming young players who can be like Sid and assume not just local but national roles as marketing spokesmen?

BJ: One of the things that the NHL wants to continue to do is make sure that many of our top players and young stars get national awareness. When you look at the emergence of Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Steve Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightening), Jonathan Toews (Blackhawks), Tyler Seguin (Boston Bruins), Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oilers). All of a sudden you look look at the impact they are having, young 21- 22-year-old players who are putting their mark on the game. Where in the past the maturation process might be three or four seasons, now they are making an impact much quicker. And that's a very good place for us to be.

NHL, Discover Marketing Stanley Cup For Post-Season Drive

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