September 3, 2020

Fan Fact
According to Nielsen, 51% of people believe they will be comfortable returning to live events within six months.

Top Story

TNT looks to recoup ad dollars as NBA Playoffs field narrows

Now that the NBA has navigated its latest existential crisis and the conference semifinals are officially underway, the league’s media partners can start earning back a good chunk of the advertising revenue that was lost during the COVID-19 shutdown.

How will the space be used?

According to Standard Media Index data, the second round of playoff action is when the ad dollars really start rolling in, especially for Turner Sports. During last season’s opening round of postseason action, the average unit cost in TNT’s 23 televised NBA games was $102,820 per 30 seconds of airtime. The going rate for a spot in the conference semis jumped 41% to $145,400 a pop, per SMI, a research firm that harvests ad sales data from the invoices of the largest media-buying agencies. To say that the Turner Sports sales team is happy to rake in this summer’s basketball bounty is to traffic in an almost absurd strain of understatement. Perhaps no media conglomerate has been more upended by the coronavirus than the WarnerMedia unit, which earlier this year was rocked by the loss of the NCAA Men’s Div. I Basketball Tournament—before the pandemic struck, TNT sibling TBS was slated to air the Final Four and the national championship game—and then faced postponement of the NBA and MLB seasons.

While the NBA media partners over the course of the playoffs may have to shell out more than a few audience deficiency units, TNT arguably has the best shot at putting together a pre-Finals hot streak. The Turner net is scheduled to carry the entirety of the Western Conference Finals, and if LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard do meet up for an all-LA Western Conference Finals, TNT’s asking price will likely top $300,000 per :30. Should that series go the full seven, the network will have gone a long way toward salvaging an absolutely murderous fiscal year. Per SMI, TNT over the course of its 44 postseason telecasts in 2019 booked $268.8 million in ad sales—this despite being saddled with a less-than-favorable Eastern Conference Finals matchup that featured a team from a market with just 0.8% of all TV homes (Milwaukee) and another franchise that doesn’t even have a domestic footprint (Toronto).

The bottom line:

TNT’s playoff ratings have largely held up during its priciest windows. Per Nielsen, TNT is currently averaging 2.56 million viewers for its games airing in East Coast primetime, down just 11% from the year-ago 2.88 million. And that’s not just geographical bias talking: 48% of all TV homes are in the Eastern time zone (versus 16% out west, 29% in the Central zone and 7% in the rugged Mountain region). East Coast prime is where it’s at.

Read: Sportico


NBA great Michael Jordan tapped as ‘Advisor,’ part owner of sports betting’s DraftKings

NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan has signed on as a “special advisor” to the board of DraftKings, giving him an equity stake, the fantasy sports and sports betting company said Wednesday, boosting the company’s stock in pre-market trading. Effective immediately, Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets who is well known for his fondness for gambling, will provide “ guidance and strategic advice to the board of directors on key business initiatives undertaken by the sports technology and entertainment company” that went public earlier this year, the company said in a statement, which boosted shares by more than 12% premarket Wednesday to $41.40.

“Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur,” Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder and CEO, said in the statement; adding, “the strategic counsel and business acumen Michael brings to our board is invaluable, and I am excited to have him join our team.”

Read: Forbes


Detroit Pistons, Flagstar Bank will let fans earn interest on season ticket packages

The Detroit Pistons are offering a chance to earn money back on season ticket packages. The club is using a promotion called “Pistons IPO: Initial Pistons Offering,” where fans deposit the full amount for season tickets, and the team will transfer the funds to an account offering up to 5% annual percentage yield. The accounts will be held by Michigan-based Flagstar Bank, which also serves as the Pistons’ banking and mortgage partner and has been the team’s jersey patch sponsor since 2017.

Pistons executive Mike Zavodsky told CNBC consumers are seeking “additional utility and value” when spending money on entertainment. “That was the driver of this IPO,” said Zavodsky, the Pistons’ chief business officer. “How do we provide additional value for our fans and ticket holders? In this instance, they can earn additional money or accrue additional funds that can be used later.” After fans select their package, which can start as low as $23 per game, Flagstar Bank will contact ticket holders to create a certificate of deposit account. Fans will need to spend more than $500 to be eligible. Funds will accumulate interest through Dec. 31.

Read: CNBC

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La Liga sees 2019/20 audience surge to 2.8 billion global viewers

Spanish soccer’s top-flight La Liga reached close to 2.8 billion viewers over the course of the 2019/20 season, marking an 11.5 per cent increase on the previous campaign. The competition’s bumper viewership was largely owed to marked audience growth overseas, including a 50 per cent viewership spike in international territories when La Liga resumed post-lockdown in June. Audience figures released by Nielsen at the time showed a 48 per cent spike in overseas TV viewership compared to matchdays prior to La Liga’s shutdown in mid-March.

Marking its second season, the soccer body’s international LaLigaSportsTV over-the-top (OTT) service also reached more than one million users during the 2019/20 season. In addition to the league’s viewership surge, La Liga also saw ‘significant growth’ across its sponsorship portfolio during the latest campaign, surpassing €100 million (US$119 million) in revenues for 2019/20. Now counting 42 global brands as partners, La Liga added a raft of new deals for 2019/20. Those include German sportswear giant Puma, US beer brand Budweiser, and India tyre manufacturer Balkrishna Industries (BKT).

Read: SportsPro


Sports social media was changed by the pandemic. The new norms are here to stay

A former college baseball pitcher who played at Pepperdine, Orange Coast College and Oral Roberts, Sean Leary was well-versed with the elusive and exasperating experience of college recruiting. After graduating in 2015, he began working on a product he hoped could re-imagine the process. He founded a social networking platform called Sports Thread, a free online service designed almost like a LinkedIn for the recruiting world. This summer has become an affirmation of that approach. As in-person recruiting came to a halt, Sports Thread saw session engagement rise by 40%. Having attracted more than 300,000 users and 400 college programs, especially among Olympic sport and small-conference teams, it cracked the top 50 on the Apple App Store rankings.

Social media has also changed fan experiences. With race fans largely stuck at home this summer, for example, NASCAR saw the usage of its interactive app spike, with new users gravitating toward immersive features like live in-cam dash cams and radio communication feeds in addition to watching the race on linear TV. “It’s providing fans with the tools that they would expect to see on race day,” said Wyatt Hicks, managing director of NASCAR Digital Media. “It’s based on information fans have given us over time, and we just try to iterate on that as we get new things that we can add in.”

Read: LA Times

What Else Is Trending?
  • RATINGS: Marshawn Lynch signed a content deal with SportsBettingDime, which he'll promote through his video production company.
  • TEAMS: The FA Women's Super League will air 50 games across the NBC family of networks this season.
  • PARTNERSHIPS: Progressive has launched its 2020 NFL-themed campaign featuring Baker Mayfield.
  • MOVIES: In remembrance of Chadwick Boseman, the Jackie Robinson biopic '42' will be re-released in theaters through Labor Day weekend.
  • BETTING: TheScore Bet has officially launched in Colorado, hoping to use its content arm to promote signups.

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Stats Perform Acquires Live Betting Video Rights to Belgian Pro League and Cup

The Details

Stats Perform, the SportsTech leader in data and AI technology, has added the exclusive live betting streaming rights for Belgian football’s Pro League and Cup to its portfolio of premium betting video events. Under the multi-year agreement, Stats Perform will have the exclusive right to distribute live video streams of the competitions to licensed sportsbooks outside Belgium, creating exceptional betting experiences online, on mobile and in retail betting venues. The streams will be accompanied by Stats Perform’s trusted, official data for these competitions. Leagues include all games of the Jupiler Pro League, 1B Pro League and key games of the Croky Cup.


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

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