Digitally Activated: Sports Centered

A Look at Online Sports Activations

What Can Sports Learn From PewDiePie About YouTube?

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Do sports properties have a YouTube problem?  I asked myself this question after reviewing a list of the top YouTube channels and comparing them to some of the top sports properties on YouTube.

Top Channels on YouTube

Top Sports Properties on YouTube

Channel

Subscribers

Total Views

Channel

Subscribers

Total Views

PewDiePie

12,862,711

2,362,510,892

NBA

4,457,188

1,568,025,299

Smosh

12,301,747

2,618,134,546

WWE

1,976,941

653,562,026

JennaMarbles

10,585,166

1,226,902,444

UFC

1,268,470

422,500,068

HolaSoyGerman

10,541,515

734,771,916

NHL

325,470

146,819,066

RayWilliamJohnson

10,253,086

2,490,321,307

MLB

151,530

37,362,979

*Numbers current as of September 7, 2013

**The NFL does not have a YouTube channel

*** The sports list is not intended to denote the top five sports properties on YouTube, but to be used as a reference

The chart above is not to suggest an apples to apples comparison.  However, it is telling that four of the top five channels on YouTube are geared towards Males 12-24.  PewDiePie is a Let’s Play channel that captures “one dude’s hilarious” take on different video games, Smosh is a sketch comedy channel, and HolaSoyGerman & RayWillamJohnson are channels featuring one man’s commentary.  None of these channels feature “studio production quality” films, but they have been able to find strength with an audience base that has a voracious appetite for their content.  To put this into perspective, PewDiePie posted a video Scariest Part! – Outlast WalkthroughPlaythrough on September 7th and within 24 hours the video had 1.1MM views.  PewDiePie posts about two videos per day and gets anywhere from 1.3MM to 2.6MM views per video.

The channels are generating a substantial number of views.  It is my opinion that sports properties must begin to invest in developing content that is geared towards YouTube’s audience.  However, there is a very obvious problem with this idea, will the investment in developing the content be worth the return.  There are few ways to dissect this argument.

1.     Is it an investment in growing the sport with future viewers?

The strength of the sports industry is built on the fact that television has subsidized its growth.  Rights fees have escalated over the past twenty years because Generation X & Millennial fans grew-up with the rise of the cable industry.  Access to sports was the driving force when the selection of television channels was limited to 70.  Now, future generations are growing with the rise of different online media platforms that no longer limit their viewing options.  Creating content for M12-24 on YouTube is an investment in the future of a properties fan base.

2.     Will you be able to monetize your YouTube investment?

The short, but complicated answer would be yes.  YouTube has been actively seeking out content partners that will develop programming specifically for YouTube.  Their current partnership with content creators agrees to pay producers 55% of all revenue associated with their sites.  Revenue splits will different by properties; however, there is a considerable opportunity for properties to monetize an audience that is not visiting their website.

The diversification of M12-24 viewing habits necessitates that sports properties develop content specifically tailored for the platforms they are using.  The properties should look at the content that are driving views and develop content that is tailored for these platforms.

Written by Peter Amador

September 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

How About Billions Can Grow Adrien Broner’s Star Power

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Adrien Broner About Billions

Adrien  Broner has been described as “profane, raunchy and occasionally even lewd”.  He is the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather’s throne as the most talked about personality in boxing.  His two fights on Showtime this year have averaged 1.35MM viewers and his web series About Billions has more than 700K views on YouTube.  At the age of 24 he is as much a force in the sports industry as his punches (22 of his 27 victories have been by KO).  However, I believe Adrian Broner can better use his About Billions to develop into one of the most recognized personalities in sports.  Here are my two suggestions.

1. Use About Billions to Develop a Narrative for Adrien Broner’s Career –

HBO’s 24/7 helped build Floyd Mayweather into a global icon.  The series captivated people with the on-going drama that surrounded Floyd’s relationship with his father and uncle.  The first edition of the series featured the almost incomprehensible story line of Floyd’s father training Oscar De La Hoya for his fight against Floyd.  The drama surrounding the Mayweather’s captivated sports fans and helped drive interest in a fight that would establish the all-time PPV record.  The on-going drama between Floyd and his family members has continued to be a significant sub-plot for all his fights, and is part of the reason why he is recognizable to millions of Americans that are not able to name one other boxer.

Adrien Broner and Golden Boy Promotions should spend time together before the development of the next installment of About Billions to determine what is the story they want to tell sports fans.  Currently, all we see are the superficial acts of a young man reveling in acts of self-indulgence.  These acts are fine – as they are part of the Adrien Broner narrative – but by themselves will not make him an international star.  There needs to be further meaning as to why he behaves the way he does.  My suggestion would be to look for a compelling story line from his childhood that involves a struggle, fuels his relentless work ethic, dictates why he keeps such a large entourage, and defines the man we see today.

2.Own the Distribution Vehicle –

The series should be hosted on Golden Boy’s official web site.  This would allow Golden Boy to put its marketing muscle behind the series while providing the boxer and the promotions company with incremental revenue opportunities.  Adrien Broner could take a revenue share from sponsorships Golden Boy could secure for the series, or be paid to star in videos produced by Golden Boy with the promotion company carrying the ultimate financial reward/risk of the series.  The explicit nature of the videos will make sponsorship of the videos tough; however, with the right direction, the series would become one of the most marketable assets in the sport of boxing.

Adrien Broner has the ability to transcend the sport of boxing.  His talent and charisma are unmistakable and will drive interest in him throughout his career.  However, it is imperative that he develops a storyline to his personality.  The best entertainers have always built a narrative to their lives and drilled this into the consciousness of their fans.  About Billions is Broner’s opportunity to do the same.

 

Written by Peter Amador

August 20, 2013 at 11:32 PM

The Vertical Packaging of the Pac-12 Network

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The Pac-12 has an opportunity to become the first property to deliver a true vertical channel of distribution to its audience.  Through ownership of its online and broadcast media channels with Pac-12 Enterprises and conjunctive on-site activations, the Pac-12 can control all facets of interactions with its consumers.

Pac- 12 Enterprises directive is to “control the distribution of the Pac-12 intellectual property rights in sports, and other Conference initiatives” via the Pac-12 Networks and Pac-12 Digital Network.  This directive guided the conference through their contract negotiations with Fox and ESPN.   The conference maintained that the Pac-12 deserved the highest rights fees in college sports, and the right to quality Football and Men’s Basketball games to bolster the programming for Pac-12 Networks.  The subsequent $250 million-a-year deal negotiated with Fox and ESPN has allowed the conference to invest resources into the development of the Pac-12 Networks.  The content produced on the Pac-12 Networks can then be disseminated through the Pac-12 Digital Network to the consumer via their preferred method of consumption.

The Pac-12 Digital Network is “the first sports entertainment network built from the ground up for integrated broadcast and broadband entertainment.”  The ambition to create “personalized, interactive and customizable video experiences for the web, tablets, smartphones, and connected TVs” demonstrates a vision in which the property empowers personalized consumption of Pac-12 original programming.  The Pac-12 Digital Network will not be a supplemental consumption channel to Pac-12 Networks but an additional dissemination vehicle of its content, inclusive of more than 850 live events a year.

The Pac-12 Digital Network’s approach towards the development of material specific to onsite consumers will define its impact across the sports industry.  It should be the network’s ambition to marry the vertical channels of digital and broadcast dissemination with the horizontal channel of on-site activation.  The inclusion of the on-site horizontal channel into its vertical distribution pattern will multiply the value of the consumer to Pac-12 Enterprises by extending the monetization strategy beyond advertising revenue into increasing per-caps and on-site tickets sales.  This could be achieved through the delivery of broadcast quality content from the stadium to fans onsite via a HTML5 strategy or campus specific apps.

A vertical channel of distribution enables properties to monetize their audience through the delivery of sponsored content and IP specific opportunities.  Digital and broadcast channels will increase per-caps through increased knowledge and enjoyment of the in-venue experience, and the dissemination of IP rights through integrated digital and broadcast channels will expand the presence of a property.  I look forward to seeing if the Pac-12 becomes the first true vertical property in sports.

Written by Peter Amador

September 15, 2012 at 10:58 PM

The Future Impact of Augmented Reality on Sports Media

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Augmented Reality is the innovation that will abruptly disrupt sports media.  It will fundamentally revolutionize the consumer’s experience.  The moment is not that far away.  In the past few months we have had a rapping Tupac at Coachella and fans virtually posing with Super Bowl rings, the Stanley Cup, and the French Soccer Championship trophy.  Augmented Reality will center on specialized one off events for the next few years; however, the future of the burgeoning field is the enhancement of live events.

The aforementioned sport activations are superb in their innovation.  Fans will appreciate them for their authenticity, and they provide an opportunity for fans to identify with athletic greatness.  These are vitally important developments for properties and sponsorship activation teams.  To effectively construct a different sports reality, we will have to take this technology to the hands of consumers in real-time.

Live sports continue to be the most indispensible commodity of a network’s portfolio.  However, there will come a point when rights fees are no longer economically justifiable.  Distributors are increasingly willing to fight networks on their carriage fees, e.g. MSG v. Time Warner, Fox Sports San Diego v. Time Warner/Dish/AT&T U-Verse, and Viacom v. Dish.  These fights will continue at both the local and national level.  It is inevitable that the ceiling for sports rights will have ramifications that extend to the playing field through CBA related causes.  Therefore, it will be incumbent upon properties to develop new mediums which will give broadcasters more interactive advertising solutions.  This is where Reality Distortion will truly take hold.

I envision a world where the next Shazam integrations are geo-targeted, time-specific, and relevant to the broadcast.  For example, Coors Light would run an ad during the third quarter of a Chargers vs. Raiders game to a displaced Chargers in fan NYC.  The fan using an app on their phone or tablet would then be able to recognize the ad, the fan’s location, time-slot of the ad and offer the fan specific behind the scenes footage of the game.  The activation would include bringing Herm Edwards into the living room of the user.  Herm would offer real-time commentary about the broadcast in such a way that would speak directly to the fan’s team allegiance.  This user specific Augmented Reality will be the defining experience of sports media over the next decade.

We have only begun to scratch the surface of Augmented Reality’s potential.  The future will include geo-targeted integrations that speak directly to the consumer’s interest during live broadcasts.  The ability of properties and networks to offer these solutions to advertisers will ensure the sustainability of current sports broadcast rights.

Written by Peter Amador

July 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Multi-Screen Sports Viewing Options for 2013

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How can networks capitalize upon the fragmented attention span of sports fans during live broadcasts? The reality of our ever increasing need for information has caused broadcasters to not only think about how they stay connected with viewers, but also how to serve their advertising partners.  The use of multiple screens by viewers has been widely debated by advertisers and programmers.  Evidence from parties such as Time Warner’s Research Council suggests that users who interact with social media during broadcasts are more engaged with programming than those that watch broadcasts without a second screen option.  NBC and ESPN are developing apps to address the opportunities associated with multi-screen viewing experiences.

NBC’s Live Extra App for the 2012 Summer Olympics “will allow you to view live video, highlights, news, and more on your smartphone or tablet”.  Satellite and cable subscribers will be able to access more than 3,500 hours of live competitions, including medal events.  NBC’s new app will not deter viewership from their broadcasts, but will either complement their broadcasts or connect with viewers unable to watch the events live on their TV.  A similar thought process has compelled ESPN to develop an app for the college football season.

ESPN will unveil a college football app that has access to video highlights as soon as six seconds from the live action, game recaps, trending scores, and live engagement.  The opportunity to connect fans before, during and after games is what appeals to ESPN.  The fact that they will be offering in-game highlights demonstrates that they are committed to providing fans with content as it unfolds.  This user first approach of ESPN will ensure that the company continues to provide its consumers with the experience they demand, and advertisers with opportunities that connect them with the experience of the game.

The sports consumer now demands to know what, why and how things are happening in real-time and wants to consume this information on their terms.  Broadcasters no longer have a monopoly over a fan’s attention span.  It is imperative that they continue to provide fans with more interactive options during their broadcasts.  NBC and ESPN should be commended for their initiative, and we can be assured that they will not be the last broadcasters to take this approach.

Written by Peter Amador

July 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Jose Cuervo Romanced Kevin Love with Pro Beach Volleyball

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Kevin Love has chosen to “Find His Beach” not with a Corona, but with a shot of Cuervo.  He  partnered with Jose Cuervo to promote  last month’s Manhattan Beach Open.

The Manhattan Beach Open is part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series (JCPBVS), and is one of the premier events of the So Cal summer.  According to Brian Radics, Jose Cuervo brand director, the decision for Jose Cuervo to become title sponsor of the JCPBVS was based on the fit between the brand and the sport:

“Beach volleyball and Jose Cuervo are both known for intensity and lifestyle appeal, and the opportunity to help the sport return to prominence not only for the players but also for fans was one we’re excited about.”

The Partnership

The partnership between Kevin Love and Jose Cuervo was announced in July at the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series event in Times Square.  There, Kevin Love described to a reporter from Larry Brown Sports how the partnership originated:

“Jose Cuervo came to me and said that they wanted me to be a part of it and I took it and ran with it — I thought it was a home run. It’s a different thing I could use throughout the lockout to keep active and kind of have fun with, so I’m very excited about it.”

It is very interesting that Jose Cuervo would approach an active player – albeit one not under contract – to participate in one of its marquee marketing initiatives of the summer.  Furthermore, we should examine why the marketing of the event was conspicuously devoid of Kevin Love’s likeness.

According to the Distill Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS):

“To help ensure that individuals in beverage alcohol advertising are and appear to be above the legal purchase age, models and actors employed should be a minimum of 25 years old, substantiated by proper identification and should reasonably appear to be 21 years of age and older. (Page 5, Point 7)”

Partnership Restrictions

Kevin Love is only 22 years old.  In order for this partnership to be compliant with the distilled spirits governing body, Kevin Love could not publicly endorse the Jose Cuervo product e.g. “I have always loved Cuervo.  Back at UCLA, me and Westbrook used to got shot for shot on our way to the Final 4. (fictional quote)”  Therefore, when Kevin Love speaks about his partnership with Jose Cuervo it is always in direct relation to the JCPBVS, “I have always been a fan of beach volleyball and when I received the opportunity to play in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. (actual quote)”  The restriction however detracts from Love’s dynamic social personality which could have dramatically moved the needle on the partnership.

The Possibilities of the Partnership

Love has been part of a clever campaign with Right Guard, a viral video promoting his All-Star game worthiness (the video was created by the T-Wolves and has been removed from the Internet due to the lockout), more than 67,000 Facebook Likes, and more than 97,000 Followers on Twitter.  His greatest asset to brands moving forward is that he is fully fluent in the language of social media.

He entered college as Facebook was becoming ubiquitous and Twitter was gaining mainstream attention.  He has immersed himself in these platforms, and understands how to engage his audience.  Furthermore, he is comfortable in front of a camera.  His appeal to Jose Cuervo is obvious.  However, the limitations of his age prevented the partnership from reaching is true potential.  We could have a mockumentary on his training reigme featuring guest appearances from NBA and Hollywood stars, we could have had a cross country tour with Love promoting his affiliation with Jose Cuervo at summer hotspots across the nation, and we could have seen one of the most interactive social media campaigns of the summer.

Partnering with Kevin Love was a great way for Jose Cuervo to bring national attention to a local event, despite the limitations of his age.  I look forward to seeing how Jose Cuervo promotes the remaining two events of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series.

To Life, Love and Loot: A Captain’s Orders

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Original content that speaks to the hearts and minds of your consumer.

Captain Morgan’s To Life, Love and Loot campaign is a “witty narrative about a great leader who fearlessly protected his crew and had the ability to gracefully navigate whatever life threw his way.”  Captain Morgan demonstrates an unflinching poise in the face of adversity and a self-assured bravado.  Not coincidentally, these are the qualities which we look for in our quarterbacks, point guards and starting pitchers.

The What

Homepage Takeover of ESPN.com on August 8th.  Elements included:

  • Page Reskin
  • Pushdown Unit (with video player)
  • Fixed Above-The-Fold rectangle

The units clicked through to Captain Morgan’s, YouTube page which featured all three videos in the To Life, Love and Loot campaign.  Captain Morgan’s, YouTube featured a page skin and a fixed 300×250.  The 300×250 linked to Captain Morgan’s, Facebook tab “Rumpedia“.  All of these elements served to increase the user interaction with the brand.

 The Why

The video player in the pushdown unit allowed Captain Morgan to tease its third and final video in the To Life, Love and Loot campaign. The 15 second clip showed the Captain Morgan character upsetting a maternal guest at an elite dinner party.  However, if viewers clicked on the video, they would see that the Captain Morgan character uniting the guests in a rebellion against their stodgy, traditional ways, and creating a spontaneous moment of exhilaration.  The underlying theme of the spot was that the charismatic leader is able to cause change without saying a word.  Again, a quality that we look for in our sports heroes.

We want our sports heroes to perform at a world class level, but more importantly, we want them to lift their teams to the pinnacle of their sport.  That is why Vince Cater is viewed differently than Dirk.  That is why the Captain Morgan character is different than the Most Interesting Man in the World,  and why To Life, Love and Loot is the perfect campaign for Captain Morgan to increase its brand image with sports fans.

The To Life, Love and Loot campaign highlights three different aspects of Captain Morgan’s personality: in Captain Morgan’s ‘Glass’ he’s a leader; in Captain Morgan’s ‘Ride Home’ he’s responsible; and in Captain Morgan’s ‘To Life, Love and Loot’ he’s cool, calm and collected under pressure.  These are all traits that we look for in our favorite athlete, and more importantly traits that we all like to think we personify.

Key Takeaways

To Life, Love and Loot is a campaign for the Captain Morgan brand that aims to reinforce to the viewer that they too can live like Captain Morgan.  Through demonstrations of valor, confidence and charisma, the Captain Morgan character speaks to the brand’s target audience.  The positioning of the campaign fits well on sports outlets.  This audience is looking for the same characteristics personified by Captain Morgan, in their favorite athletes.  To Life, Love and Loot resonates with sports fans and will greatly enhance the brand’s image.

Written by Peter Amador

August 16, 2011 at 11:49 PM

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