Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pick 6: Brands, Stories, and Trends Shaping Sports Business #16

What's new in sports business, you ask? Here are six stories we ran across in the past week:

1. Innovation is not just for Growth but for Survival, Too

Sports is no different than any other industry in that it must be innovative to keep products relevant and interesting to customers. Spectator sports in particular must consider how innovation could be applied to speed up the pace of play. Games can stretch out to 3 1/2 to 4 hours depending on the sport. Fans connected to screens or with other interests may be reluctant to invest that much time to attend in person or watch at home. The issue raised in the article could make for lively discussion on how to strike a balance between maintaining traditions and improving the consumption experience through innovations that either speed up games or pack greater entertainment value into an event.

Adapt or Die, John Rowady, MediaPost Marketing: Sports

2. Elevating Formula 1 in the US Sports Landscape

Formula 1 recently held its third U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. Despite the popularity of this event, Formula 1 has a long road ahead if it wants to reach top tier status in American sports. Access to drivers is cited as a key success factor, whether at the track or on social media. How can Formula 1 strengthen its brand in America given that it competes in this market just one weekend a year?

3. Can Issacson Call Audible on NFL's Image?

The NFL's response to domestic assault incidents involving some of its players has been puzzling, to say the least. However, one response that has gained attention is naming a Vice President to take the lead on domestic violence policy. That task falls on the shoulders of Anna Isaacson. Although skeptics view her role as little more than a PR ploy, Isaacson is being counted on to play a pivotal role in restoring the NFL's image. The question remaining to be answered is how that task will be accomplished.

Can Issacson Save the NFL? Wayne Drehs, ESPN.com

4. App-urtunity? Fans Spending More Time on Sports Apps

Sports fans are increasingly fulfilling their appetite to consume sports news, scores, and highlights through mobile apps. In the period August 2013 to August 2014, time spent on sports apps rose 210% compared to a 65% rise in overall app usage. These stats leave little doubt that sports fans crave mobile experiences. Given the consumption rates for sports apps, a question begging to be answered is what opportunities exist for sports properties and app developers to turn this trend into a revenue stream.

5. Emirates Drops FIFA Sponsorship: Who's Next?

FIFA has been mired in dealing with allegations of corruption surrounding the decision to award the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar. The negative baggage associated with the scandal is one reason why Emirates Airlines has decided not renew its partnership with FIFA. No other corporate partners have bailed. In fact, most sponsors have had little to say about the corruption scandal. Will Emirates Airlines be an outlier, or will its decision trigger other sponsors to reconsider their continued association with FIFA?

Emirates Drops FIFA Sponsorship over Corruption Allegations, Tariq Panja and Dannielle Rossingh, National Post

6. Taco Bell's Recipe for College Football Playoff Sponsorship Success

The initial College Football Playoff is whipping fans into a frenzy as teams jockey for position to be among the four teams playing for the national championship. On the corporate sponsor side, one brand has reserved its seats already- literally. Taco Bell will have the Live Mas student section at all three playoff games, reserving 500 tickets per school. The activation is aimed squarely at the young male audience that is key to its business. The sponsorship has a social media component, too, that will surely add to the buzz around Taco Bell's association with the CFP.

Taco Bell Brands Student Section for First College Football Playoff, Maureen Morrison, Ad Age

Video of the Week

We are often exhorted to go the extra mile to gain a competitive edge. Well, before you go the extra mile, make sure you go the required distance. Utah wide receiver Kaelin Clay fell one yard short in going the required distance, casually dropping the ball just before crossing the goal line. The result was a touchdown... for Oregon.