September 1, 2020

Fan Fact
According to a study by NBCUniversal, 69% of consumers want to see brands referencing current events -- including COVID-19 and other important issues.

Top Story

Amidst uncertainty, CBS's Super Bowl ad plan Is reassuringly familiar

As much as it’s not difficult to understand why Adland types get so worked up about Super Bowl units, chatter about CBS’s Big Game sales is more than a little premature. With 160 days to go before America’s great secular holiday kicks off, sweating the Super Bowl ad market is like picking out baby names while idly swiping through Tinder.

How is CBS approaching things?

While the network has established a $5.5 million target for each 30-second in-game ad unit, a rate that lines up with Fox’s year-ago ask, CBS isn’t in a hurry to line up buyers for Super Bowl LV, which is scheduled to take place in Tampa on Feb. 7. When it’s CBS’s turn in the Super Bowl rotation, little if any inventory gets sold during the spring/summer upfront marketplace. While the sales team will reserve space for marketers who say they’re interested in buying time in the year’s most-watched broadcast, the network prefers to wait for the NFL season to get underway before locking in deals.

That CBS prefers to negotiate in the fall was particularly felicitous this time around, given the state of the upfront bazaar. Not only did the coronavirus pandemic effectively scuttle the annual sales calendar (for the first time in nearly 60 years, the networks did not present their primetime schedules to buyers and advertisers), but actual negotiations were stalled as marketers began trying to make sense of a world largely devoid of movie theaters, airports and restaurants.

The bottom line:

Though CBS and its advertisers won’t reach for the Champagne until the confetti angels start forming on the Tampa turf, the bullishness with which the NFL is approaching the coming season is contagious. Regular-season ads are now nearly sold out across the four networks, and if CMOs aren’t exactly breaking out their checkbooks to secure Super Bowl units, CBS is happy to play things down to the wire.

Read: Sportico


NBA brings flash to esports, but can it hold onto its viewers?

Since its introduction two years ago, the National Basketball Association’s esports arm has struggled to draw viewers. Then, with Americans forced to shelter in place in early March, the NBA had a captive audience. Within days, players for the NBA affiliate, known as the NBA 2K League, were livestreaming games. The league leaned on its counterparts on the courts, setting up online tournaments with WNBA players. NBA stars even staged their own tournament, which was broadcast on ESPN and drew as many as 387,000 viewers. Sportsbooks took bets on the action. This season, the audience for games on the Amazon-owned Twitch service increased 76 percent over the year before, to an average of 416,865 unique viewers per game, a spokeswoman for the league said. During the championship game on Friday, about 1.1 million unique viewers watched on Twitch, the league reported.

The NBA kept building its e-sports program, saying it generates sponsorship revenue and provides valuable data on viewing habits of cord-cutters. Now, 22 N.B.A. franchises own an e-sports team, with an additional team in Shanghai. Brendan Donohue, the NBA 2K League’s managing director, said he viewed his league as a way to create NBA content. “On the business side, you’re able to leverage digital content or sponsorship departments to help drive the league,” he said. “It’s speaking to an audience that is becoming harder and harder to reach.”

Read: The New York Times


Borussia Dortmund woos Chinese fans with virtual summer tour

After its planned summer tour of Asia was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, German Bundesliga football club Borussia Dortmund crafted a digital alternative. A fan-inspired idea was embraced, developed and eventually became the BVB Virtual Asia Tour. With other planned destinations of Singapore and Tokyo restricting get-togethers due to their respective anti-virus measures, China became the focus of a tour that sought to blend digital and offline experiences. The tour consisted of a series of online sessions between players and fans, and live streams from training sessions and friendly games, complemented by offline events, and allowed fans in China to follow the club’s pre-season preparations in real time.

As a result of rolling out the Virtual Tour, Dortmund has acquired a raft of knowledge and found some new formats to engage with their Chinese fans, including a new podcast and a virtual stadium tour. True to the club’s live experience philosophy, offline events were blended into the tour. “We rebranded a red double-decker Shanghai tour bus in black and yellow, and we got our bumblebee mascot to shoot some content with our partners. And then we had some fan activities – for example, we picked up a fan using the bus and brought him to the BVB office [in the city],” Benjamin Wahl, head of China at Borussia Dortmund, said. Kit sponsor Puma dedicated its flagship store in Shanghai to the club for a day. The German Embassy was also involved, taking part in an event in a Shanghai underground station to launch an official BVB Shanghai transportation card.

Read: SportBusiness

Hashtag Sports Live

Last chance to download discounted Hashtag Sports LIVE sessions!

In June, we brought together the most influential names, brightest minds, and next generation of talent in traditional & digital sports media at Hashtag Sports LIVE for creative exchange, inspiring talks, and actionable insights.

Now for the first time ever, we are offering you the option to relive some of our favorite talks, presentations, and interviews from leading industry experts across the sports, media & entertainment landscape.

With over 11 hours of video recordings featuring exclusive speaker insights heard nowhere else, the Hashtag Sports LIVE VOD series provides you with unlimited access to replay 20+ panels and interviews through Vimeo On-Demand.

The VOD series is available at a discounted, one-time fee of $49 and can be streamed on any browser, as well as iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast devices.


How selling used gear became the latest form of player empowerment

Team-issued sports gear has a kind of lusted-after value; the market for game-used equipment is pretty robust. And all the stuff players get issued sits in the back of a closet once they’re moved on from school. What if those would-be Clemson players could use their sweat-stained practice shorts to close the gap between what they’re worth and what they’re given? Enter The Players’ Trunk, an apparel and equipment consignment company founded by former Michigan and Kentucky basketball player Charles Matthews, former Michigan player Zavier Simpson, and three other young men—Jason Lansing, brothers Austin and Hunter Pomerantz—who have worked in the equipment rooms at Michigan and Syracuse.

With the equipment managers in the fold, they came up with an idea for a marketplace where athletes—all of whom have used up their college eligibility, and can sell their stuff without violating NCAA restrictions on amateurism—could consign items they didn’t plan on keeping. (They also have a Cameo-esque video service). Best of all, if the Players Trunk sourced gear directly from players, there’d be no question about authenticity. “Not everybody is about to be LeBron James,” Matthews says. “Not everybody is about to sell something for hundreds of thousands of dollars. So being able to help these players regardless of color, regardless of race, regardless of gender is huge in my eyes.”

Read: GQ


Intel Sports’ James Carwana: Technology Is a Bridge to the Future

James Carwana became general manager of the Intel Sports Group when it was created in Oct. 2016, a few months after the company acquired Replay Technologies for $170 million. Replay’s freeD technology created immersive, 360-degree video replays. Intel has since rebranded the tech as True View, where it has become a staple of sports broadcasts in the NFL, the NBA and European soccer as partners of both Spain’s La Liga and several English Premier League clubs, including recent champion Liverpool FC.

"Technology is a bridge. By itself, it's meaningless. So technology for technology's sake—and, frankly, a lot of companies get created because somebody has a cool technology, and it is cool, but if it doesn't actually solve a problem or do something, then you're building a bridge to nowhere. If we are on the same page that technology by itself is meaningless, but technology as a bridge can be groundbreaking, then technology is simply a way to allow for the state of today to reach the state of tomorrow," Carwana said. "In our case, when we're talking about an evolution of fans, when we're talking about fan desires that are greatly shifting, you’ve got a demand that's shifting. That means that the supply of our products of the sports industry product also has to shift to align to where those fans are shifting."

Read: SportTechie

What Else Is Trending?
  • PEOPLE: Long coveted by media companies once his career would end, recently-retired Vince Carter will join ESPN as an NBA analyst.
  • PARTNERSHIPS: Nike and Neymar have parted ways, and the polarizing Brazilian star is reportedly in talks with Puma.
  • ADVERTISING: The TV advertising market is expected to be down about 10% in both Q3 and Q4, according to new research.
  • MEDIA: After spending time working with TNT's NBA restart coverage, Draymond Green has become a CNN contributer as the news outlet continues to add athlete voices to its commentary.
  • BROADCASTS: MLB Network debuted its "Speed Cam", a gyroscopic-stabilized camera that runs on top of the first base dugout at the speed of a baserunner.

RAd Ad


Golf Digest, Discovery And Tiger Woods Unveil Season 2 Of The Exclusive Series "MY GAME: TIGER WOODS"

The Details

Golf Digest and Discovery Golf today announced the release of the second season of the exclusive masterclass series "MY GAME: TIGER WOODS." The 10-part season launched globally on August 20 and sees the greatest player of the modern era take viewers through his Shotmaking Secrets for the first time. Season 2 sees the 15-time major champion dive deep into the technique behind his incredible shotmaking skills and sharing the secrets to what has made him one of the best players of all time. Presented in clear and memorable terms, viewers will learn invaluable lessons that they can apply to their own game.


Growth Strategy Specialist, Sports 
TikTok - Los Angeles, CA

Global Fan Marketing Specialist
NBA - New York, NY

Marketing Operations Analyst
PointsBet - Denver, CO

Director, Global Community
NBA 2K – Novato, CA

Marketing Research & Analytics
Learfield IMG College – Plano, TX

Marketing Coordinator
LFC Foundation – Liverpool, UK

Spread the Word

Share today's edition with a friend who is down for a college basketball bubble.