SPORTS MARKETING BITS: Omnigon Acquired, ESPN OTT or not OTT: That is the Question, Milwaukee Bucks…
A recap of news and trends in the Sports Marketing world as compiled by Portada's Editorial team....
"Hot" Content Distribution and Monetization Play
Switzerland-based marketing firm Infront Sports & Media has acquired 51% in Omnigon, which specializes in developing digital content distribution platforms for teams, leagues and entertainment companies. Infront Sports & Media is owned by Chinese Conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which is investing in companies that are at the intersection of sports and entertainment. Omnigon is a consulting firm that helps sports, media and entertainment providers to develop mobile apps and websites. Omnigon’s client list includes World Rugby, PGA Tour, NASCAR, AS Roma, Fox, Fox Sports, Miami Heat and WWE. The New York-based firm will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity, keeping its brand name.
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ESPN: OTT or no OTT, That is the Question
A survey conducted by the marketing firm Civic Science and highlighted in a note by BTIG notes that more than half of cable subscribers would be happy to drop ESPN to save US $8 a month. Additionally, only 6% of the survey's respondents said they would be willing to pay US $20 a month for a Netflix-like ESPN offering. ESPN currently charges providers more than US $6 a subscriber to carry the network. So if consumers had the choice, usually only given with direct-to-consumer online video options, they would not pay much for an ESPN offering. Reports have indicated ESPN would need to charge $30 for a similar bundle for it to make economic sense. Myles Udland writes in Business Insider that "Disney cannot take ESPN direct-to-consumer and they know it, whether they admit that publicly or not....The math for a direct-to-consumer offering for a basic cable network does not work, especially for channel(s) with very high monthly fees embedded within the current MVPD bundle. Per Disney's, the owner of ESPN, November SEC filing, ESPN lost nearly 7 million subscribers over the last two years as the number of cord cutters continues to increase. At the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, ESPN had a subscriber base of 92 million in comparison to 95 million at the end of the prior-year quarter and regressing to the level it had a decade ago.
Oscar de la Hoya's Channels Now on OTT
Two new boxing channels are coming to streaming TV service FilmOn TV Networks, thanks to a new partnership announced by Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, and FilmOn TV Networks CEO Alki David. Both channels will go live at the end of January and will be free as part of filmon.com’s ad-supported OTT service. 10-time world champion De La Hoya’s classic fights will air on the Golden Boy Channel, while Golden Boy Promotions’ monthly boxing series LA FIGHT CLUB will live stream its bi-weekly fights on The Ring, with the first kicking off at 5:30 PST on January 29th. “Past, present or future, Golden Boy Promotions has, is and always will be about pitting the best against the best,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “This new partnership with FilmOn will only further showcase our mission by offering fans the best fights from today and yesterday.”
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ESPN Extends Australian Open Rights
For those of you watching the Australian Open, know that if you move to the Caribbean or Latin America you will be able to continue watching it through ESPN for the foreseeable future. ESPN International reached a five-year extension of its agreement with Tennis Australia for exclusive distribution rights in Latin America and the Caribbean of the Australian Open, the tennis season’s first Grand Slam event, it was announced by Richard Heaselgrave, commercial director of Tennis Australia and Tim Bunnell, senior vice president of production, programming, marketing and advertising sales for ESPN International. The agreement extends ESPN’s current distribution agreement through 2021. Under terms of the extension, ESPN will continue to have exclusive pay television and digital distribution rights throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, beginning in 2017, ESPN will have the distribution rights to several lead-up events to the Australian Open, including the Hopman Cup, World Tennis Challenge, Brisbane International and Apia International. Also, ESPN will have the rights to select coverage of the Australian Open qualifiers, “Legends,” Juniors and Wheelchair events.
Milwaukee Bucks go Hispanic
The Milwaukee Bucks announced a new initiative to expand the team’s presence in Milwaukee’s Hispanic community, highlighted by Spanish language radio broadcasts of five upcoming Bucks games. This year’s Spanish broadcasts are the cornerstone of a new partnership between the team and Bustos Media, which operates WDDW 104.7 FM “La Gran D” in Milwaukee. “We are very pleased to announce this partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks,” John Bustos, managing partner of WDDW 104.7 FM, said. “As this innovative new ownership group and management team return this proud franchise to prominence, they also are changing the landscape of Greater Milwaukee and will make a huge impact on the community. We look forward to working with them to bring that excitement to the fast-growing Hispanic community that we serve so well.”
Fox Attempts to Make Uefa League More Popular
Fox Sports kicked off its marketing campaign for the return of the Bundesliga, half a year after the network started airing matches from Germany's top soccer league on its networks worldwide. That launch was hyped as groundbreaking, but the results have been mixed. Ratings in the U.S. for Bundesliga matches have been poor, averaging 55,000 per match for the first 17 games Fox aired in the 2015/2016 season, or around a tenth of what NBC draws for its English Premier League matches stateside. Only Leverkusen has averaged over 100,000 viewers per match in the U.S., largely due to Mexican star Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito, who is a big draw for U.S. Hispanic fans. The biggest single draw in the U.S. was for a one-off, tape-delayed airing of the Sept. 13 match between Bayern Munich and Augsburg, which reached 926,000 viewers.