Monday, June 23, 2014

Pick 6: Brands, Stories, and Trends Shaping Sports Business #2

Just like the summer weather, sports business has heated up as the NBA and NHL have crowned champions, and FIFA World Cup is in full swing. Here are six links to content touching on what's happening in the sports industry:

1. A Name Change for the Washington Redskins?

The Washington Redskins nickname controversy resurfaced again last week when the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office revoked six trademarks held by the NFL franchise. Is a name change for the Washington Redskins a matter of when, not if? Marketing experts weigh in on four issues to consider in a rebranding effort.

2. Sponsor Reaction to Latest Chapter of Redskins Name Controversy

Another aspect of the Washington Redskins ongoing name controversy is how sponsors are affected. They partnered with the Redskins for the association benefits, but they are also associated if the brand is viewed in a negative light. Sponsors must walk the line between not offending the very audience to which they are appealing and tapping the affinity of football fans. In contrast to the swift and clear positions taken by most sponsors against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racially offensive remarks, Washington Redskins sponsors have largely been silent as the issue is debated in the court of public opinion.

3. Coldwell Banker Goes Home with MLB Players

Most sponsors long for more than brand exposure at sports venues; they want to create deeper connections with fans. To that end, Coldwell Banker is targeting MLB fans through a video series called Home Field Advantage. The 12-installment campaign features a new video weekly in which viewers get a glimpse into the home life of current players including CC Sabathia, Neil Walker, and Adam Jones as well as former players such as Johnny Damon and Steve Garvey. Home Field Advantage is a good example of how marketing content can be created that entertains while at the same time making connections between a sponsor's brand and its target market.

4. Learfield Sports Adds to Portfolio of Services via Acquisition

Marketing agencies add value to their client by offering expertise and resources to perform certain functions more effectively than handling in-house. Learfield Sports, a leading agency serving intercollegiate athletic programs, recently expanded its portfolio of services by acquiring Licensing Resource Group, an agency specializing in brand management and licensing services. The move adds to Learfield's capabilities to meet clients' needs without the risk associated with building a business from the ground up.

Learfield Sports to Acquire Licensing Resource Group (LRG) by Jennifer Duncan, Learfield Sports

5. Los Angeles Kings Reap Marketing Benefits of 2nd Stanley Cup

Winning its second Stanley Cup in three seasons has given the Los Angeles Kings marketing flexibility that many other franchises would love to have. Winning has fueled fan interest for tickets, so the Kings have the luxury of shifting focus from attracting customers to creating deeper engagement with them. The LA Kings may not win the Stanley Cup every other season for years to come, but the franchise is taking steps to cement fan relationships that withstand fluctuations in on-ice results.

6. The Value of Sports Sponsorship

The high dollar rights fees paid by sponsors to associate with marquee events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup lead to a very valid question: Are top tier sponsorships worth the cost? The answer is "it depends." Consultants from McKinsey & Company identify brand and financial metrics to assess when weighing the value that a sponsorship offers. They acknowledge that despite the popularity of sponsorship as a marketing vehicle, many companies have either overlooked or ignored measurement to determine sponsorship effectiveness.

"Is sports sponsorship worth it?" by Jeff Jacobs, Pallav Jain, and Kushan Surana,