#PortadaNY Soccer Marketing Key Takeaways from Allstate, Comcast, NYCFC and Scouts Sports and Entertainment

What: Portada New York included two sports marketing panels, featuring Portada Sports Marketing Board member and Allstate Director Consumer Marketing-Sponsorships, Daniel Keats, Comcast’s Hispanic Marketing Director Alejandro Solorio, Michael Neuman, EVP, Managing Partner, Scout Sports and Entertainment and Jon Patricof, president of the New York City Football Club.
Why it matters: Even though soccer is yet growing in the United States, marketers need to take advantage of the sports business potential of the event; the #PortadaNY panels offered interesting insights on the opportunities to look out for.

Tuesday may have been a dark and rainy day in New York, but it was filled with several bright moments around the business of soccer and engagement, especially with the Latino community.
Portada New York included a morning session centered on this past summer’s World Cup and the various ways brands, whether they were official partners or not, found ways to both engage and grow their soccer involvement. Portada Sports Marketing board member and Allstate (@AllstateDirector of Sports Marketing Daniel Keats and Comcast’s (@comcastHispanic Marketing Director Alejandro Solorio offered their thoughts in a great discussion.

Some key takeaways

Mexico fans at World Cup 2018 Credit: Soccer.ru

"The passion of soccer in the U,S, is still evolving; you didn’t have to be a World Cup brand to realize the sports business potential of the event. We were not, yet we were able to find ways through our work with the Mexican National Team to take advantage of their success and expand our reach. We believe our programs are going to yield great benefits over time as we build the fan and consumer for life." - Daniel Keats, Director Consumer Marketing-Sponsorships, Allstate Insurance

"Our investment in soccer is for the long-term, starting at the grassroots with programs like LIGA MX and Alianza de futbol, which creates professional and college opportunities for young Latino players. We think this is the right way to engage the Latino consumer, especially the family, over an extended period and will see our return over time." – Daniel Keats, Director Consumer Marketing-Sponsorships, Allstate Insurance

All in all the message was clear for the morning: brands and media companies have found a path that works for them...

Solorio talked at length about Comcast’s technical innovations using video and data in the mobile space during the World Cup to provide custom viewing experiences for fans, but more importantly he was adamant that investing in the sport means establishing touch points not just around one massive event, but throughout the year.

The Portada Brand-Sports Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offers to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

"Soccer needs to be seen as a strategy not a tactic, you have to be immersed in the sport if you want to be seen as authentic, whether you are speaking to an Anglo or Latino consumer." - Alejandro Solorio, Hispanic Marketing Director, Comcast Corporation

All in all the message was clear for the morning: brands and media companies have found a path that works for them, and it takes them right to the heart of the fastest growing demo in the U.S., the increasingly affluent and always engaged Latino consumer.

NYCFC grows its brand proactively

In a discussion between NYCFC President Jon Patricof and Michael Neuman, EVP, Managing Partner at Scout Sports and Entertainment, a division of Horizon Media (and Portada Sports Marketing Board member), the growth of NYCFC as a property in the crowded marketplace was quite evident. Not only is the club growing as it again heads towards the MLS Playoffs, but it is being a proactive leader in soccer in North America.

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Some key thoughts from Patricof:

Michael Neuman and Jon Patricof

"The idea of relegation is somewhat overblown. If you look at the success of teams in the USL,  the teams that do well are getting the chance to move up to MLS which is the most important thing if you are a brand that is looking for growth."

"We know that there are four million soccer fans in the New York area. Of the four million, only 280,000 we have identified as fans of NYCFC. Our job is to help convert the rest of that audience to engage with our team and brand. Once we have them at our matches at Yankee Stadium, we can convert them, but that takes time.”

"Soccer is at a very dynamic moment in time with regard to access. What the NFL, the NBA and other leagues have done is give the media and fans access to learn about the personalities of their Teams. That has not traditionally been done with our sport. As part of City Football, we are changing that. We create great content and events that tell the stories of our players and we give access to fans. It’s the best way to convert savvy soccer fans to join us, and we know that once they get that access they will stay for life.”

Are there still challenges ahead for all those who spoke on Tuesday? For sure, The uncertainty of where US Soccer is going, even with a World Cup coming to North America in 2026, as well as the continued fluidity of MLS (@MLS) (especially as NYCFC (@NYCFCstills searches  for a permanent home), as well as the increased presence of elite European clubs om the business environment in the US present some dark clouds for all, but for the most part, soccer remains a growth property in the U.S., and the ways brands, teams, media companies and even leagues will find ways to engage is still on the upswing. And provided some great learning experiences for all in attendance at Portada New York.

 


Joe Favorito @joefav

Joe Favorito has over 32 years of strategic communications/marketing, business development and public relations expertise in sports, entertainment, brand building, media training, television, athletic administration and business. The Brooklyn, New York native has managed the day-to- day activities in strategic communications for: Two of the world’s hallmark sports and entertainment brands (the New York Knickerbockers and Philadelphia 76ers), the world’s largest professional sport for women (the WTA Tour), the world’s largest sports National Governing Body (the United States Tennis Association) and the world’s largest annual sporting event (the US Open). He also oversaw the strategic planning, investor relations, communications and digital business development of the International Fight League during its two year run as a Mixed Martial Arts venture and a publicly traded company. Favorito serves on the boards of the Weinstein Carnegie Group, New York Sports Venture Capital, the National Sports Marketing Network, the Drexel University Sports Business program, and Columbia University’s Sports Management program (where he is an instructor in Strategic Communications and Director of Industry Relations). Joe also maintains a well trafficked blog on the sports marketing and publicity field, “Sports Marketing and PR Roundup,” on the website joefavorito.com, as well authoring the first- ever text on the sports publicity industry (“Sports Publicity” published in August 2007 by Reed Elsevier and updated in 2012 by Taylor Publishing with a third printing coming in 2018), which is used in over 60 sports management programs in the U.S. He has been a guest speaker on sports marketing, social media and communications at a host of institutions, including Princeton University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, the University of Florida Law School, New York University, the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and many others. He is also a frequent spokesperson on the industry for publications ranging from Ad Age and The New York Times to NPR and CBS News. A graduate of Fordham University, Joe, his wife and two children reside in River Vale, New Jersey.

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