August 17, 2020

Brand Fact
According to WARC, global esports sponsorship spending will top $1 billion by 2022.


Top Story

Stadiums across America are empty, so what happens to those naming rights deals?

If stadiums don’t have a single fan in the seats these days, what are all of those multimillion-dollar naming rights deals worth? Is this the end of an era for the high-profile name slapping that brought us Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium, Hartford, Conn.’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park and Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona, Pa.?

How have teams tried to make good?

The 10 largest stadiums in the United States have a combined capacity of well over 1 million people. And with every canceled game or rock concert, that’s a million fewer people who’ll be seeing a sponsoring brand’s name on their ticket, above the front doors and on the signage inside. The brands that signed naming rights deals paid for the eyeballs of those fans—fans who are now at home mowing the lawn. Yet, as UBS and Amazon proved in the past few weeks, naming rights deals are far from dead. In fact, an overwhelming majority of sponsors have chosen to keep their chips on the table.

Sports teams have ample motivation to offer makegoods these days. After all, with the venues empty, it’s not just the sponsors that are over the barrel; the teams are, too. “If you’re an owner of a team or part of a league right now, you are extremely grateful for the companies staying with you,” said consultant Joe Favorito, who teaches sports marketing at Columbia University. “Figuring out a way to grow the business in these times? You’ll look for a way to do that.” 

The bottom line:

Covid, Mario Natarelli, managing partner of MBLM said, “is a short-term moment for brands like AT&T [which put its name on Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in 2013]. A brand of that scale isn’t going to suffer from the lack of impressions in one sports arena for a long period of time. This is not going to be a doomsday scenario.”

Read: Adweek


PARTNERSHIPS

Sportradar said to win NHL gambling rights, complete U.S. sports sweep

The National Hockey League will award Sportradar the exclusive rights to distribute its gambling data to sports books in the U.S. and abroad. Sportradar, whose investors include Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, emerged the winner of a competitive auction. While final terms on the ten-year deal are unknown, late-stage bidding was said to have passed $250 million and may include equity for the league.

A deal would give Sportradar domestic gambling data rights in all four major U.S. sports. It is the exclusive provider for the NFL, and one of a few companies that does the same with the NBA and MLB. Sportradar will become the official gatekeeper for all NHL data related to sports betting. That includes basic stats like goals and assists, but also a whole new class of data that the NHL is building. This season the league added chips to the puck and player shoulder pads, tech that produces thousands of data points per second. It’s all part of a league-wide push to give teams, fans and betting houses more information about its games.

Read: Sportico


TEAMS

NFL’s Washington Football Team launch rebrand engagement platform

The National Football League’s (NFL) Washington franchise has launched a new fan engagement platform to provide insight into the team’s rebranding efforts. Now it has launched the ‘Washington Journey’ digital platform, designed to offer a view into that process. The site will offer interviews and exclusive content optimised for sharing on social media. Additionally, the WashingtonJourney.com will feature announcements on the re-branding update, behind-the-scenes insights and interactive features for fans.

The platform was launched amid reports in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that minority partners of the team are pressuring owner Dan Snyder to sell the franchise. According to the WSJ, Snyder has no intention to sell his majority stake but tensions within the ownership group have ‘grown more severe’. Washington also recently named former NFL running back and McKinsey partner Jason Wright its team president.

Read: SportsPro


Ratings

Sports-hungry fans are welcoming live events back to TV

Viewer response to the return of live sports on TV can be summed up in a paraphrase of the famous line from “Field of Dreams” — if you build it, they will come. Golf, NASCAR, Premier League soccer and hockey are pacing well ahead of their viewing levels before all action was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic in March. Major League Baseball, which has been rocked by game cancellations due to players testing positive for COVID-19, has also come back strong, especially among younger viewers. Mike Mulvihill, executive vice president for research and league operations at Fox Sports noted that since action resumed at the end of July, there have been days when sports viewing has been up 100% to 150% over comparable dates last year.

Regional sports networks that carry local teams are seeing triple digit increases in audiences. ESPN’s national MLB telecasts are averaging 1.2 million viewers, up 29% from last year. The Walt Disney Co.-owned network has seen a 64% rise among men 18 to 34 and 83% among women 18 to 34, giving the Burbank entertainment giant a much-needed lift after the coronavirus outbreak in March halted live sporting events and forced the shutdown of its lucrative theme parks.

Read: LA Times


PEOPle

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is everything MLB could want in a superstar

Aaron Judge spent his rookie season in 2017 hitting baseballs in ways no one had done before. The New York Yankees slugger, who would go on to be named American League Rookie of the Year, stood at the top of the game's pantheon of famous faces by wowing fans with his prodigious talent. Judge seemed to have hit his physical prime just as Major League Baseball was in dire need of new stars. His performance went beyond historic numbers and stats to give baseball fans something they didn't know they were missing -- a generational talent with an engaging personality.

Judge embraced his role ahead of this coronavirus-shortened 60-game season with a new sponsorship and marketing deal with beverage behemoth Pepsi, which includes national promos centered around the two-time All-Star reaching out directly to fans. "Those little moments, those little memories you can make, I know fans never forget. But even us as players, that's something I always look forward to and I never forget," Judge told ESPN. "Working with Pepsi, it's global; it's a big opportunity for me. In baseball, a lot of our superstars aren't out there. But I think social media is going to start slowly helping us out. A lot more guys are getting on social media. A lot more are reaching out to fans, interacting.

Read: ESPN


What Else Is Trending?
  • ESPORTS: Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against Apple and Google after their games were delisted from app stores, a battle that could shape the future of the app industry.
  • BRANDS: Fanatics raised $350 million at a valuation of over $6 billion as it prepares for its IPO and continues its growth in the merchandise industry.
  • RATINGS: Facing competition in a crowded sports calendar, the MLS audience dropped 23% from similar points last year during its Orlando tournament.
  • BETTING: Gaming platform Monkey Knife Fight is partnering with the Miami Marlins to become the team's official fantasy sports platform.
  • LEAGUES: Ohio State QB Justin Fields started a petition to reinstate the Big Ten football season that received over 200,000 signatures in 24 hours.

RAD AD


DEAL OF THE DAY

Doordash Announces Partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and Bubba Wallace

The Details

DoorDash, the nation’s leading last-mile logistics platform, announced a major multi-year partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) and its driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. In addition, this partnership makes Wallace DoorDash’s first NASCAR ambassador. DoorDash made its debut at NASCAR’s inaugural weekend on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway Road Course, with Wallace driving the No. 43 DoorDash Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE on Sunday, August 16. It was the first of seven NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) events where DoorDash serves as the team’s primary partner.


Careers

Social Media Senior Coordinator 
NFL - Culver City, CA

Digital Retention Marketing Manager
DraftKings - Boston, MA

Sr Manager, Global Sponsorships
Climate Pledge Arena - Seattle, WA

Associate AD, Athletic Comms
Baylor University – Waco, TX

Digital Marketing Manager
Monterosa – Remote

Marketing Manager
Monster Energy – Warriewood, AU

Spread the Word

Share today's edition with a friend who wouldn't want to be on the highway when Vladimir Guerrero Jr is at the plate.