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~Nearly one in four online American adults (23%) revealed that they will be using some form of social media to follow this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament, according to new research released today from IMRE Sports, and conducted on their behalf by Harris Interactive. The research showed that among those who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, 27% plan to utilize a mobile application to do so.

These are some of the results released of the survey of 2,366 American adults surveyed online between February 24 and 28, 2011 by Harris Interactive. The research was spearheaded by the Maryland-based sports marketing agency, IMRE Sports.

Social networking sites top resources to follow the games

The way Americans utilize resources to follow March Madness paints a unique picture of how brands can focus their spending as digital and social media options continue to rise in popularity.

Of the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following:

  • 50% will use social networking sites
  • 31% will specifically utilize YouTube
  • 27% will utilize a mobile application

The research also revealed that those with higher household incomes ($75K+) and college graduates are more likely to be planning to use mobile applications and Twitter.

Checking scores atop reasons why fans plan to follow games via social media channels

The focus of why Americans plan to use social media to follow March Madness in 2011 reveals a variety of trends that brands can exploit via advertising.

Among the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following statistics:

  • 62% will use social media channels specifically to check the scores
  • 44% will use them to watch the games
  • 44% will use them to follow their favorite team/college
  • 40% will use them to follow their own bracket/other gaming purposes
  • 19% will utilize social media channels to follow their favorite player/coach

The research also shows that men will be more likely than women to use social media to follow March Madness, by a margin of 3 to 1 (32% men vs. 14% women).

Facebook is the most popular social media channel for men’s college basketball fans throughout the season

March Madness aside, social media channels are very popular amongst men’s college basketball fans year round. The survey revealed that roughly two in five online Americans (42%) follow men’s college basketball throughout the year. Among those followers, the research also revealed statistics that might impact how brands spend money on college basketball next year.

Of the 42% who follow men’s college basketball throughout the year, the study showed:

  • 44% use social media tools to interact with the sport
  • Facebook is the most popular way to follow/interact with the sport (25%),  followed by Twitter (13%) and blogs (13%). 11% interact via online forums.
    • Specifically, Facebook Pages (18%) and Twitter accounts (10%) hosted by sports or news networks are the most popular.
    • Roughly one in 10 (13%) follow/interact with a team/college Facebook Page. 7% follow/interact with a player/coach Facebook Page.

“As more fans continue to engage in social media channels to view sports and follow their favorite teams and players, there are more opportunities for brands to share their messages with the very targeted demographic that lies within sports fans,” said Kelly Nowlan, research director at IMRE Sports.

For more statistics and insight on the implications of this research, visit the IMRE Sports IQ blog atwww.IMRESportsIQ.com.

About the survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of IMRE Sports from February 24 to 28, 2011 among 2,366 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Kelly Nowlan at 410-821-8220 or kellyn@imre.com.

About IMRE Sports

IMRE is an agency of marketing experts serving brands and clients invested in the Sports Industry. IMRE Sports connects brands to fans and helps corporations leverage their sponsorship investments to generate more brand exposure and fan engagement. IMRE’s clients include Target, Stanley Black & Decker and John Deere. Services include marketing, public relations, social marketing, advertising, emerging media and research. For more information, visit www.imresports.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

 

(Atlanta, GA, March 15, 2011) ~ This year, NCAA March Madness will be just as much about the fan Tweets and Facebook posts as it will about the high-flying dunks, buzzer beaters and improbable upsets. That’s because Coca-Cola Zero, Turner Sports and CBS Sports have partnered to create the most impressive and robust online fan experience ever with the launch of the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena.

From the First Four™ through the Final Four®, fans can log on to the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena at CokeZeroSocialArena.com and follow every aspect of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, from the action on the hardwood to the online social commentary. This innovative digital experience will accompany live streaming of the games on March Madness on Demand (MMOD) and feature a real-time Social Ticker displaying fan chatter and trending social topics around the tournament, and a first-of-its-kind Social Bracket that ranks teams based on the sum of online conversation about each team. The MMOD experience, including the live player, can be accessed through NCAA.com, CBS Sports.com or SI.com. “Each year millions of everyday people suddenly become rabid basketball fans – immersed in the live action of March Madness and obsessed with following every play, every upset, every victory over the three weeks of this exciting tournament,” said Bea Perez, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. “With the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena, we’re giving fans the ultimate way to follow the tournament wherever they are and play a role in March Madness through their own social commentary.” When visiting the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena online or via the new iPad app, fans can monitor and contribute to the social chatter around each match up from their own Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. Fan comments and social media posts related to March Madness will appear in “Tourney Buzz” on the site.

 Joining in on the conversation will be CBS Sports and Turner Sports online and on-air basketball analysts who will be regularly commenting on live game action, sharing tournament observations and connecting with fans. The Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena also will contain an “Impressive Moments” section, a video portal highlighting the most exciting plays from each round of the tournament. Fans will be prompted to vote on their favorite impressive plays, and the video with the highest ranking will be featured on the national broadcast show, “Impressive Moments of March Madness” presented by Coke Zero airing at 3 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports leading up to the coverage of the Final Four games on April 2. And to top off this most impressive March Madness experience, Coke Zero is sponsoring a sweepstakes where fans have a chance to win tickets and a trip for two to the 2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston. Between March 14-24, fans can submit an entry on Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena for one of two grand prize packages, including two Final Four 2011 Final Four tickets, round-trip airfare and accommodations for four nights in Houston. To visit March Madness On Demand and explore the Coke Zero March Madness Social Arena, visit http://mmod.ncaa.com. iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users can download the free NCAA March Madness On Demand app from the App store. More information on the Coke Zero NCAA Men’s Final Four Sweepstakes, including complete contest rules visit www.cokezerosocialarena.com.

 About The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. The Company’s portfolio includes 14 billion dollar brands, including Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, as well as Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate.

 For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.

 About the Turner Sports Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in televised and online sports programming, airing championship level sporting events on TBS, TNT and truTV, and managing some of the most popular sports sites on the Internet. Turner Sports’ television line-up includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, NASCAR and professional golf. The company’s digital portfolio includes SI.com, NASCAR.COM, NCAA.com, PGATOUR.COM, GOLF.com and PGA.com, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile websites and connected device apps. Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com. About the NCAA The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit http://www.NCAA.org and http://www.NCAA.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions — AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola — and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners — Enterprise, The Hartford, Infiniti, LG, Lowe’s, Planters, Reese’s, Unilever and UPS. NCAA, Final Four, March Madness and First Four are licensed by or trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Contacts Coca-Cola Refreshments Kirsten Witt, 404-676-0314

Gatorade Mission Control

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Social Media, YouTube

(Newark, NJ, February 16, 2011) ~ In a first for a professional sports franchise, the New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) today launched Mission Control, a Digital Command Center designed to activate and further extend the franchise’s online brand presence. Located inside Prudential Center (@PruCenter), the command center will be fueled by fans using Twitter, Facebook and other online channels hosted by the franchise and opening its digital outlets to bloggers and message board users.

The Devils carefully chose  25 social media savvy fans, the self-proclaimed Devils Army Generals, through Facebook and Twitter to act as the voice of the team’s fan base using Devils’ social media platforms.   Several of the Generals already host fan blogs of their own.  The team and Generals (@DevilsGenerals) were assisted in the development of Mission Control by the team’s social communications consultant, Jim Delaney (@activate).

Mission Control is headquartered in a newly constructed dedicated suite of offices in Prudential Center that will serve as an interactive digital hub for the team to engage in online discussions, initiate proactive outreach, track media performance/trends, and deliver interactive service to fans and followers of the Devils and the Rock on Twitter, Facebook, fan message boards and other media channels.  Fifteen individual screens in Mission Control instantly monitor all aspects of the Devils and Prudential Center brands.

“Mission Control will allow our team to connect directly with our fan base, expand the Devils’ presence throughout social media platforms, and ultimately give our fans the opportunity to be a part of the Devils family,” said Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman and Managing Partner of Devils Arena Entertainment. “The National Hockey League is aggressively using social media and we want to set the standard not only for the league but in all of sports as well.”

Mission Control will serve to not only connect the Devils with fans but will also allow the team to engage more broadly with music and entertainment enthusiasts. Prudential Center has established itself as one of the country’s ‘must-play’ stops for top concert acts, family shows and high-profile special events. The Rock recently ranked 6th in the nation according to Venues Today 2010 arena rankings.  Mission Control will host opportunities to grow the Prudential Center brand and promote its top shows and concerts via all digital media platforms.

Mission Control is a next step in the Devils overall strategic goal to more effectively engage through social communications. Starting at the end of 2010, the Devils introduced the Digital Zone on the arena concourse.  The Digital Zone gives fans a hands-on opportunity to tweet, post and check Facebook during the game.  In addition, the team offers an Apple iPad rental program,  with customized  Devils’ application as well as apps from the NHL and other sports,  while watching the game live. The team has also successfully tripled their number of Facebook followers this  season, and grown significantly on Twitter.

The logo for Mission Control was designed by Devils fan Chrissy Baptista of Elizabeth, NJ, through a crowd-sourced design contest via social media, believed to be a first by any professional team or venue. The logo incorporates the Devils’ demonized font, the Prudential Center’s ‘arena art’ element, and NASA-inspired graphic rays that symbolize outbound communications.

“Being a designer, I jumped at the opportunity to create a logo for the New Jersey Devils Mission Control,” said Baptista. “I’m a Devils fan, of course, and it makes it that much cooler to see my design represent this program. I’m really excited to see it in action.”

Media Contact:

Anne Sciaino

asciaino@prucenter.com

973-757-6246

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Chicago, IL, February 24, 2011) ~ Crown Imports announced a new text donation campaign for Corona Extra and Corona Light to help The V Foundation for Cancer Research raise money to find a cure for cancer. Since its inception in 1993, The V Foundation, foundedby legendary North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano and ESPN, has raised more than $100 million for cancer research and awarded 400-plus cancer research grants nationwide.

Beginning March 1 and running through April 5, the “Find a Cure” text donation campaign encourages consumers to text the phrase “DontGiveUp” to 85944 to donate $5 to The V Foundation, with 100 percent of the money raised going directly to fund cancer research. In timing with the popular March basketball tournament, patrons at thousands of partnering bar or restaurant locations across the country can present their donation “Thank You” confirmation text to their server to have their name and contribution put on display. In addition, some participating accounts (where legal) will also be giving away Corona-branded merchandise, apparel and more.

“Crown and Corona are committed to giving back to such a deserving cause, and it’s our end goal to reach as many consumers as possible – both on-premise and online – to contribute a sizeable donation to further cancer research,” said Bill Hackett, president of Crown Imports, Corona’s exclusive U.S. importer. “The ‘Find a Cure’ text donation campaign is just another part of our ongoing partnership with The V Foundation – helping to raise awareness and funds for such an important cause.”

In addition to donating through text, consumers can also visit the Corona Extra and Corona Light Facebook pages to contribute to The V Foundation directly, as well as share the “Find a Cure” promotion with their friends. In its first promotion with The V Foundation last December, Corona Light brand enthusiasts helped raise $20,000 for the organization as part of an awareness campaign via the brand’s Facebook fan page.

“We are so excited to be teaming up again with Crown and Corona to progress my brother Jim’s dream of finding a cure for cancer,” said Nick Valvano, chief executive officer of The V Foundation. “Although much has been accomplished during the last 17 years, it’s through collaborative partnerships like these that help raise the bar to putting an end to a disease that affects millions of people around the world.”

Corona’s “Find a Cure” text donation promotion will run from March 1 through April 5, 2011. To learn more about this promotion and Crown Imports’ ongoing partnership with The V Foundation, visit www.facebook.com/Corona orwww.facebook.com/CoronaLight. Direct donations can also be made by going to www.jimmyv.org/findacure.

About Crown Imports

Crown Imports LLC is a joint venture that imports, distributes and markets the Modelo portfolio and other fine beer brands across the entire U.S. The Modelo portfolio includes Corona Extra, the #1 imported beer in the U.S. and #6 beer overall, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, Pacifico and Victoria (Chicago only) beer brands. Crown also imports the St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao beer brands in the U.S. For more information, visitwww.crownimportsllc.com.

Crown Imports is a 50-50 joint venture between GrupoModelo, S.A. de C.V. (MX: GMODELOC), Mexico’s leading company in the brewing, distribution and sale of beer, and Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ, ASX: CBR), a leading international beverage alcohol producer, importer and marketer.

About The V Foundation

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $100 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. Administrative and fundraising expenses are paid by the Foundation’s endowment. The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.

Contacts

For The V Foundation
Ann-Marie Sales, 919-624-5733
ann-marie@intrepidmg.com

 

As we noted last week, Foursquare decided to experiment with a new feature for Super Bowl Sunday: Promoted Venues. Specifically, they created a “Super Bowl Sunday” worldwide venue that anyone could check-in to to let others know that they were watching the Super Bowl. So how did it go? Well, when it wasn’t crashing the network, really well!

Foursquare has a post today detailing the experiment. Apparently, there were over 200,000 check-ins on Super Bowl Sunday to this venue from all around the work. In fact, as we suspected, it became the most checked into venue ever — and it took just four hours for that feat to happen. Foursquare also says that it was the largest online check-in event of all time.

Foursquare says there were check-ins from all 50 states and 125 countries around the world. Humorously, that included 13 check-ins from the Vatican. This begs the question: does the Pope use Foursquare? If so, was he rooting for the Packers or Steelers?

Speaking of that, as part of the fun, Foursquare allowed people to add a comment as to whether they were rooting for the Packers or the Steelers, so they could get that team’s badge. As you can see in the chart above, the Green Bay fans dominated throughout the entire day. “At no minute during the game was Steeler Nation stronger,” Foursquare notes.

Good news aside, many people who tried to check-in to the special venue during the game had issues. And in fact, some couldn’t use Foursquare at all. The service acknowledges some hiccups at their end of their post:

We weren’t quite prepared for all the excitement (our sincere apologies to those of you who had trouble finding the location at first; our ‘trending’ server was a bit hampered by the overwhelming traffic), but thank you everyone for participating.

In other words, the Promoted Venue idea was even more successful than they anticipated. I smell business opportunity. And so do they, you can be sure.