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 (@Allstate) Director of Sports Marketing Daniel Keats and Comcast’s (@comcast) Hispanic Marketing Director Alejandro Solorio offered their thoughts in a great discussion.
Some key takeaways
“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:
“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 (@NYCFC) stills 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.