Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pick 6: Brands, Stories, and Trends Shaping Sports Business #10

The NFL is grabbing attention, but for all the wrong reasons. Thankfully, their are other happenings in sports marketing that are not as troubling. This week's Pick 6 is a blend of NFL happenings and other news from the industry.

1. Major League Soccer Gets a Logo Makeover

For the first time since the league began play in 1996, Major League Soccer has updated its logo. The revised logo is distinctive in that its color scheme can be adapted to match that of any MLS club. Is this the future of league logos?

2. Radisson Takes a Stand, Wins Approval on Social Media

Among the fallout from the Adrian Peterson story was sponsors taking steps to distance themselves from Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. Radisson Hotels was one sponsor that made such a decision, announcing that it was dropping its sponsorship of the Vikings. Although the company probably did not make the decision for publicity reasons, the impact was noticeable and immediate. Radisson mentions on social media in one day were 58% of the total of brand mentions it had received in three months. A majority of the mentions of the Radisson brand were positive. The brand had little to lose by disassociating with the Vikings, and as it turned out it gained admirers for taking a stand.

3. Procter &  Gamble Moves NFL Activation to Sidelines

The NFL has a major initiative in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but one of its corporate partners has decided to not participate this season. P&G's Crest brand will not go through with its planned activation, providing pink mouthguards to players, in response to the league's handling of domestic violence cases involving some of its players. Is P&G making the right move to distance itself from the NFL brand, or are there other ways to show disapproval of the situation without canceling the planned activation?

4. Univlever Connects with College Football

While P&G is scrambling to get away from the NFL, another consumer powerhouse brand is using football to connect with fans, college football that is. Unilever is an official NCAA football sponsor and is aligning multiple brands- Axe, Dove+ Care, Degree, Suave Men, Clear, and Vasoline- and is featuring ESPN personality Jesse Palmer in its marketing. The program is the latest in  Unilever's strategy of using sports to connect with men.

Unilever Launches Retail Program around NCAA Football by Karl Greenberg, Marketing Daily 

5. Will New NCAA Scholarship Policy Impact Sponsors?

The NCAA recently approved institutions from the "Big 5" conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC) extending "full cost" scholarships to student athletes. Many observers believe this decision is a step toward these conferences becoming more powerful and an effort by the NCAA to keep them from breaking away. College athletics sponsors should be monitoring these developments to determine their next steps in partnering with institutions, particularly ones included in the new scholarship policy. 

What the NCAA Autonomy Vote Means for Sponsors by Vince O'Brien, GMR Marketing Blog

6. MLB's  Addition to Product Lineup Card: Wines

What does Major League Baseball have to do with wine marketing? It turns out there are 10 million reasons for MLB to be in the wine business, as in $10 million retail sales estimated from the league's  foray into event and team-branded wines. MLB licensed wines provide yet another outlet for fans to exhibit affinity for their favorite team while giving the league a revenue stream that is associated with an upscale product.