Sponsorship dollars are constantly declining in the current world economy. Brands willing to partake in sports sponsorship are demanding evaluations for their return on investment to maximize their marketing efforts. The increase in social media use by sports organizations is also rising and from a sponsorship perspective it is untapped asset to generate revenue. I’d like to formulate a case study on the social media assets, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, of global sports organizations, like FIFA, UEFA, and the FA, and the integration of sponsors. The field is relatively new but a certain growth area and provides more than just added value, which is common place involving sponsors and social media.

I’d like to make a case for sport organizations using their social media assets as a major sponsorship sales piece. These assets provide benefits in a number of way including, reaching consumers where they interact socially via the World Wide Web, measurement, target market demographic information, and much more. I believe social media sponsorship activations can involve a great amount of creativity and reach consumers in never before seen ways. This association with sponsors and sports organizations I feel can be a serious source of revenue that otherwise may be over looked. My capstone will take a look at existing practices in the industry, the measurement and value provided to sponsor, and creative ways a sponsorship can integrate into social media assets of sports organizations.

Why Sports Teams [Don't] Need Facebook Developers and Apps

“All good things come to an end.” Those words couldn’t be any more true.

With Facebook investors looking toward an exit and an expected IPO sometime early next year, the casualties from Facebook not only include a multitude of social networks and startups, but very soon, Facebook developers.

While it may be a little premature to write off the future of Facebook developers, the signs are there that their door is closing.

Only A Matter of Time

When Facebook first started, they were on the outside looking in when it came to making money. While Facebook was laying the groundwork for their social network, other companies moved in and enjoyed the spoils of Facebook’s hard work. Social gaming companies like Zynga took full-advantage of a potentially limitless distribution network and market and turned themselves into a multi-billion dollar company.Fast-forward now to the present and you see a completely different landscape. No longer is Facebook standing around while others make money off of them. Rather, they have taken the upper-hand and have re-positioned themselves. From the removal of certain Facebook API’s (example:Static FBML app) to the upcoming July 30th deadline for Facebook games to move toward a Facebook credits based currency system (30% of transactions will be pocketed by Facebook), developers looking to make a profit off of the social network giant will find themselves with few opportunities.

While some may be surprised at this news, Facebook has steadily made it clear that eventually everything would be developed in-house. If you look at some of the early Facebook applications that fan pages and websites would embed and compare it with those available today, the numbers have dropped drastically. Facebook has taken every great application that’s been built by an outside developer and has built it themselves. Logically, it makes sense. Why would Facebook let others make something when they can make it themselves.

How This Affects Sports Teams

With the potential exit of Facebook developers and apps, sports teams should consider the following points:

1. Social Media Agencies. In most cases, social media agencies rely heavily on customized applications for Facebook. While these applications can be visually stunning, the downside lies in the actual conversion rate for Facebook apps. To give you one an idea of the conversion rates that they are looking at, ReadWriteWeb published an article earlier where they found the following:

Like blocking, where a user has to “Like” a Facebook Page in order to access a feature, typically has a 50% or more drop off rate, even when there is something there that is actually worth liking the page to get, such as exclusive content or a great coupon.

Asking the user for a laundry list of access to their profile usually results in a 30% or more drop off rate, and that is for well known brands that they trust.

With Facebook tightening the grip on privacy opt-ins for 3rd party apps, sports teams need to begin re-evaluating if there marketing dollars are spent in the right way. In addition, the bigger question becomes if social media agencies themselves can survive if custom Facebook applications increase in difficulty and decrease in conversion and effectiveness.

2. You don’t need custom Facebook apps to be successful. If you take a step back and view how the average user interacts with Facebook, you will quickly realize that youdon’t need custom Facebook apps. As mentioned, if it’s useful, Facebook will undoubtedly have noticed and will build it themselves. From photo widgets to embeddable like buttons, Facebook has made it so that you don’t need to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on something custom. Especially with sports teams, what’s important is interacting and engaging with ones community, which doesn’t need a custom app.

3. Why are you spending money on Facebook? This is a big question that every sports team should ask themselves. As every dollar spent needs to be accounted for, spending money on Facebook should be done with the utmost caution. In addition, teams need to identify what factor success is being measured against. Spending money to get more fans may sound glamorous, but at the end of the day, what is that fan doing for you? Unless you are capturing fan data (which Facebook doesn’t allow), putting a dollar value on a Facebook fan is still too difficult. Additionally, Facebook apps have long been appealing because of their appeal in monetizing fans (ex: Enter and win contests), but they have been around long enough for us to understand that these rarely work.

Ultimately, with or without outside Facebook developers and the custom applications that they build, Facebook will continue to be a valuable asset for sports teams. Still, just how the social network giant is constantly changing, sports teams need to continue to evolve as well.

(Belmont, CA, April 25, 2011) ~  BlogHer, Inc., the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online, is teaming up with Gatorade, a company committed to providing sports performance nutrition innovation for athletes across all sports and competition levels, to launch a new BlogHer Sports section dedicated to conversation and community for female sports enthusiasts and moms who are raising kids in competitive athletics.

BlogHer created its new Sports section in response to the growing role that sports is playing in women’s online conversations. The Sports section will be a dedicated content area on the BlogHer website, alongside other sections dedicated to conversations around career, money and style. The section will feature BlogHer member posts about sports news, competing in sports and raising youth athletes.

For “Sports Moms” – moms of competitive youth athletes – the BlogHer Sports section will feature blog posts from moms across the BlogHer network who are sharing personal experiences in raising, fueling and preparing their youth athletes to be successful in sports and beyond. Gatorade will participate by providing tips, inspiration and blogger access to experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), Gatorade’s science and educational facility dedicated to better understanding sports nutrition science and exercise physiology.

“Moms of athletes are no longer in the bleachers — these Sports Moms have taken an active role on the sidelines of youth sports, especially in the area of nutrition,” said Sarah Robb O’Hagan, president of Gatorade North America and global chief marketing officer for PepsiCo sports nutrition. “We know how much these Sports Moms do to help their athletes succeed, and we are absolutely thrilled that they can now find sports nutrition information and share their stories through BlogHer.”

“BlogHer is extremely proud to partner with Gatorade to showcase the stories women are telling about sports and their lives,” said Lisa Stone, CEO and co-founder, BlogHer Inc. “From athletes to fans to Sports Moms who are raising the next generation of athletes, women are using social media to share all their wins.”

For more information, please go to http://www.blogher.com/topic/sports and http://www.blogher.com/gatorade.

About BlogHer
Reaching more than 25 million women each month (Nielsen Site Census, October 2010), BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online. Founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, BlogHer’s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. Today BlogHer creates opportunities for members via a community hub (http://www.blogher.com), annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency. BlogHer enjoys a strategic partnership with iVillage, part of Women@NBCU. BlogHer’s investors are Venrock, GE/NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fund, and Azure Capital Partners.

About Gatorade
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo, provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports. Gatorade® Thirst Quencher is backed by more than 40 years of research and is scientifically formulated and athletically proven to quench thirst, replace fluids and electrolytes, and provide carbohydrate energy to enhance athletic performance. The company’s product portfolio is built around the G Series®, a 1-2-3 approach to athlete nutrition and hydration before (Gatorade Prime 01®), during (Gatorade Perform 02® and G2®), and after (Gatorade Recover 03®) training or competition. For more information, please visit http://www.gatorade.com.

About PepsiCo®
PepsiCo offers the world’s largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales each. Our main businesses — Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi Cola — also make hundreds of other enjoyable and wholesome foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world. With net revenues of approximately $60 billion, PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo’s promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment, including by conserving energy and water usage, and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support, and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visithttp://www.pepsico.com.

It still does not have a name and it has not hired a top editor, but Bill Simmons unveiled details of his new project, which will be a new website that will be 70% sports and 30% pop culture. It will launch later this spring. And while it will be fully owned by ESPN, it will not carry the ESPN brand. 

“This is something that was really important to me when my contract was up at the end of last year,” Simmons told THE DAILY. “It’s going to have a bunch of quality writers. And it’s going to have the flexibility to have a lot of people come in and write one time a year or a couple of times a year, whatever. I’m hoping that we’re going to have enough quality people coming out of the gate that other people are also going to want to write for it.”

Simmons would not say who he has hired to write for the site, other than Chuck Klostermanand Katie Baker. “We’re going to start with somewhere between 8 to 12 writers that will be on staff fulltime and some freelance people that will be involved on a weekly or bi-weekly basis or a monthly basis,” Simmons said. “A pretty good share of contributors that will be coming in and out.”

Jimmy Connors App

(San Diego, CA, April 7, 2011) ~ Active.com®, a media property of Active Network, and the leading online community that connects people with the sports and activities they love to do, today announced the nationwide expansion ofSchwaggle, a deal-of-the-day program offering exclusive deals on fitness-related products and services for the active consumer. Schwaggle is one of the first deal-of-the-day programs to distribute offers through both email and Facebook, with a greater opportunity to be shared virally. Kicking off this month, Schwaggle deals will be available in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The introduction of Schwaggle in the three largest U.S. cities will be closely followed by a rollout of the program to other cities nationwide for a total of 25 major markets by year-end, and select international markets in 2012.

Schwaggle was first introduced in the Bay Area in January of this year and initial consumer acceptance has been strong, with discounted deals to local Bay Area events such as Bay to Breakers and the Marin County Half Marathon selling out within hours. Now, active-minded consumers in the New York, Los Angeles and Chicago areas will have access three times a week to exclusive and targeted deals on sports and fitness products and services, discount registrations for endurance events and golf tee times.

“With the successful launch of Schwaggle in the Bay Area, we have lined up a host of local and national vendors ready to offer high-quality, relevant daily deals to active lifestyle consumers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and our upcoming cities,” said Brian Enge, vice president, strategic projects of Active Network. “Schwaggle provides a unique value proposition to both fitness-minded consumers who benefit from compelling offers, and vendors who benefit from a highly-targeted audience to whom they can market their products and services.”

The April launch dates and initial deals include:

  • New York 4/7 – discounted registration for Tunnel to Towers Run, a Run/Walk fundraiser for the 9-11 commission
  • Los Angeles 4/12 –discounted registration for Gladiator Rock’n Run
  • Chicago 4/19 – discounts on GU Performance Gels and Xterra Wetsuits

Organizations offering their products and services via Schwaggle have an opportunity to reach a large demographic of consumers comprised of runners and athletes, health and wellness enthusiasts, golf and tennis fans and adventurers. Schwaggle is the only online coupon software to sell a finite inventory of items so vendors won’t be overwhelmed by demand.

Active.com plans to further expand its Schwaggle plans program to include community events, camps and more in the near future. To learn more about Schwaggle, visit http://schwaggle.active.com.

About Active.com

The Active Network, Inc. is a leading provider of organization-based cloud computing applications serving diverse market segments including business events, community activities, outdoors and sports. Our technology platform, ActiveWorks™, transforms the way organizers manage their activities and events by automating online registrations and streamlining other critical management functions, while also driving consumer participation to their events. Our flagship media property, Active.com, is the leading online community for people who want to discover, participate in, and share activities about which they are passionate. Headquartered in San Diego, California since 1999, the company has over 25 offices worldwide. To learn more, visit us on the web at www.ActiveNetwork.comor www.Active.com.

Contacts

Active Network
Mona Klausing, 858-964-3813
Mona.Klausing@ActiveNetwork.com
or
The Blueshirt Group
Brinlea Johnson, 212-551-1453
Brinlea@blueshirtgroup.com

 

ESPN Front Row -Blog

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Social Media

The new blog, to be updated daily, will be managed by the Communications department, and be a collaborative effort among the company’s key personnel — meaning it will feature a variety of voices, opinions, and insights. Topics will focus on ESPN news and people, the employee experience, behind-the-scenes activity and will serve as a platform to address select company issues that are making news. ESPNFrontRow.com will feature a comment-posting functionality to allow two-way communication.

Sheldon Spencer, a journalist with more than 25 years of experience, will serve as the site’s primary voice. Spencer, most recently an NFL editor for ESPN.com, working with NFL blogs, served as a staff writer for the National Sports Daily (1990-91), Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1991-96) and the San Jose Mercury News (1997-2000).

As a more informal and personal source of news and insights than a traditional website, ESPNFrontRow.com will engage readers with both personality and authority as a source of information, photos, video and more. The blog will feature posts that attempt to educate the consumer as well as entertain them.

Opening Day, ESPNFrontRow.com will launch with a collection of real time photos that depict “A Day in The Life” at ESPN.

“The goal for ESPNFrontRow.com is to provide fans a window into ESPN,” said Mike Soltys, ESPN vice president, communications, domestic networks. “We will provide credible, relevant, informative and fun content that will take readers inside ESPN.”

Consumers will be able to access the site directly at www.espnfrontrow.com or via links on ESPN.com and ESPNMediazone.com home pages. Posts on the site will also be distributed via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.