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What: The Brooklyn Nets will try a crossover promotion with Juventus FC to tap into fans of the Serie A club on December 7.
Why it matters: Though soccer and basketball are the two most popular global sports, clubs rarely interact. If successful, the Nets-Juventus trial can be a model for U.S. and Latin American franchises.

Credit: Sven Mandel

There is no doubt that soccer (football) and hoops go one and two in terms of global popularity. From the professional level to the grassroots, from India and China to South America and the U.S., it is hard to not have a conversation about massive engagement in sport without touching on the ball you use your hands for, and the one that you don’t.

That being said, the uniting of the brands that dominate the sport on a global level, doesn’t happen much. The two sports, even with the select massive clubs of Europe having both soccer and basketball in their model, don’t do a great deal of crossover promoting. You even have ownership groups, like Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, that own NBA (Sixers @sixers), NHL (Devils @NJDevils) and Premier League (Crystal Palace @CPFC) clubs, but it is rare to see CP pop up in the narrative of NBA and NHL or vice versa. Occasionally, maybe, but not that often. Maybe with organizations like Fenway Sports Group (@fenwaysports), marrying the massive brands of the Red Sox (@RedSoxand Liverpool (@LFCthere will be some synergy from time to time, but the businesses and the brands, are a bit siloed.

…[T]he cross-pollination where it makes sense between basketball and soccer seems like a simple and effective next step.

Now that doesn’t mean that some clubs haven’t tried to sports crossover promotion to some degree of success. The best example may be the Bundesliga’s FC Schalke 04 (@s04 ), who have done a great cross promotion job in markets like St. Louis and Pittsburgh to tie their brand not just with soccer clubs in the market, but with hockey, baseball, and even NFL teams.

So why not more crossover co-promotions with NBA and elite soccer clubs? One is in the offing apparently, as on December 7 the Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNetswill go all Juventus (@juventusfcenin Barclays Center for their game with the Toronto Raptors.

Join us at PORTADA LOS ANGELES on March 15, 2019 at the Loews Beach Hotel Santa Monica, where we will dive deep into sports and soccer marketing’s preeminent topics. Felix Palau, VP Marketing, Heineken will discuss “How to measure ROI and transfer best practices between sports marketing platforms”. Other speaking engagements include Tiago Pinto, Global Marketing Director, Gatorade who will provide answers to the question: “Will Corporate America jump on the soccer opportunity?”Attendees will also be able to benefit from Portada’s meet-up service of three-eight-minute meetings with top brand executives!

Flamengo Basketball (FIBA)

Before the game begins, a watch party will be held for Juventus’ match against rivals Inter Milan (@Inter), with the match shown on all the screens. It also will tie nicely as the two teams share colors, or lack of color, with black and white, giving Brooklyn a chance to co-promote without straying too far from their accustomed arena motif. Juventus will have ambassador and former France international soccer star David Trezeguet will be in attendance, as will the club’s mascot, Jay.

Throw in the fact that Juventus has a large and loyal following in Brooklyn, a hotbed of Italian soccer interest overall, and it becomes a smart crossover opportunity that can probably extend the window for arena business, get some international buzz, and show a simple but effective way a Serie A (@SerieAleader can continue to evolve its brand in the States.

With a growing number of elite clubs putting down stakes in the U. S., – Bayern, AS Roma, City Football Club, Barcelona, Club America, PSG, Ajax, not to mention clubs with American owners (Liverpool, Fullham, etc.) and leagues like La Liga, Liga MX and the Bundesliga, growing their interests, the cross-pollination where it makes sense between basketball and soccer seems like a simple and effective next step, with some probable exposure of the NBA clubs (where allowed) abroad as well.

Also, let’s not forget brand synergy as well. If you are brand that has invested in global sport, finding ways to engage with consumers with clubs that have your common toe also makes great sense. Are there always going to be some issues with disconnection, maybe where core fans of one club have no interest in the other? Maybe. But the Nets’ Juventus one is a cost-effective way to marry clubs, garner attention and keep global sport moving along. Score points for both.

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What: Allegations against Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo have made some of his partners take a pause until his legal issues are settled.
Why it matters: How those partners react should the allegations against the world’s highest paid athlete prove true will have a great effect on how brands view off-field transgressions moving forward.

Could pending legal trouble for one of the world’s most marketable personalities damage global brands beyond the field?

That question is going to very much be in play in the coming weeks as the alleged rape charges against Cristiano Ronaldo(@Cristiano) play out both in the courts of law and public opinion.

The new star of Juventus (@juventusfc), one of the world’s biggest and most marketable personalities, has already seen companies not just monitor but start to pull back from existing campaigns. The first has been EA Sports (@EASPORTSwhich deleted his image from the cover picture of FIFA 19 on its website, while others, including Nike (@Nike) and DAZN have expressed “concern” over the accusations made by American woman Kathryn Mayorga in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.

The Portada Brands-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.

Where those [deals] go will be a big issue not just for athlete marketing, but could have implications on the fast-rising Serie A valuations…

Some brands, such as his CR7 underwear line with the Italian fashion brand Yamamay (@Yamamayhave continued business as usual, with a full page ad in La Gazzetta dello Sport last Saturday. The team itself has been careful to point to “presumption of innocence” and monitors the goings on while the Serie A season continues along. However, the BBC reported that Juventus’ shares “dropped sharply on Friday” after criticism of the club’s handling of the allegations, after hitting record highs after his July signing.

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How devastating could the charges be should they play out? “Brands really are taking as hard a look now as ever on the issues of off-field behavior, and in an era of ‘Me Too’ any transgressions that involve women are going to be looked at even harder,” said Chris Lencheski, longtime sports marketing expert and professor at Columbia University. “Here we are talking about legal issues against one of the world’s biggest brand ambassadors and all of those involved are going to very carefully weigh risk and reward as this plays out. It’s going to be a very big story to follow, one of the biggest ever in terms of a global personality in the prime of his career in terms of endorsements.”

The 33-year-old was the highest-paid athlete in the world for the second straight year in 2017 pocketing £70m – including £25m in mega licensing deals. Where those go will be a big issue not just for athlete marketing, but could have implications on the fast-rising Serie A valuations, not to mention the global soccer marketing industry.

While no reason to panic yet, there could be some storm clouds on the endorsement horizon as one of the world’s biggest brands ends up in a limelight that neither he nor his partners have chosen.

cover image: credit Ruben Ortega

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • LaLigaLa Liga has extended its partnership with Microsoft. The deal will see La Liga’s content made available to Microsoft News users and on other products including Windows, Microsoft Edge, Xbox Live and Bing. This is the first global alliance signed by Microsoft with a major sports league.

 

  • OTT DAZN has purchased the qualifying matches for 2020 Uefa European Championships, as well as the European qualifiers for the 2020 Fifa World Cup broadcast rights in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The deal also includes the same rights to the 2018/19 and 2020/21 editions of the new Nations League, which began on Thursday night. However, DAZN won’t provide live coverage of any matches involving Germany, Austria or Switzerland in their respective home markets.

 

  • Major League Soccer locked in its schedule and format for the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs. The 2018 MLS Cup will be broadcast on FOX and UniMas, and across more than 170 countries worldwide via MLS’s network of international broadcasters.

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  • CONMEBOL.comMediapro has signed a four-year deal with the South American Football Federation (Conmebol) as a production hub. The Spanish agency will provide the international signal for the region’s three major club competition’s internationally and will take care of producing and distributing the Copa Libertadores.

 

  • David Beckham’s new MLS expansion team in Miami has unveiled its name, crest, and colors. The club will be called Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, as a statement to the Latin American roots of Miami. The Spanish name is expected to be informally shortened to Inter Miami.

 

  • Juventus has extended and expanded its licensing deal with international agency IMG to include the US and Canada. As part of the new multi-year deal, the IMG will develop the Serie A club’s licensing business through its network of Asian, American and Canadian offices, coordinated by its team in Milan.

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  • French soccer team Paris Saint-German announced Socios.com as their official branded cryptocurrency partner. The multi-year deal will see the company work with the team to develop their blockchain strategy to enhance and evolve their fan engagement.

 

  • GoogleSpanish La Liga has partnered with Google in an effort to protect the league’s media rights portfolio from illegal streaming websites. The league is working with Google to block search results that include pirate services.

 

  • The German Football Association (DFB has extended its longstanding partnership with Adidas for another four years. The deal will see the German sportswear giant continue to supply kits to the country’s national soccer teams until 2026.

Video refereeing might be implemented for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

The historic vote on whether Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be added to the event is scheduled to take place on January 22 in Zürich amongst officials from the International FA Board (Ifab).

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However, VAR’s have already been used in Italian and German football leagues, and according to former referee and Ifab’s technical director David Elleray, it has yielded mostly positive results so far.

Generally I think it has gone much better than people have anticipated and almost every week we get an inquiry from another league about using VARs.

The technology has drawn some skepticism though, most vehemently from Italian Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who thinks that VAR’s ruin the entertainment value of soccer.

“It takes too long. I didn’t celebrate when we were awarded a penalty because six minutes had passed,” Buffon said after a game that Juventus has won over Genoa this past August. He added, “They told us that VAR would be used in clear-cut incidents where there were mistakes, but now you are even checking the replays for a trodden toe or a finger in an ear.”

The frustration that Buffon experienced has already been felt by athletes and fans alike throughout the four major sports in America — Basketball, Football, Baseball and Hockey. Variations of video replay, and the merger of technology and sports has spawned fan and player unrest about compromising their respective sport. And soccer won’t be immune to such a debate.

That is the something that Ifab officials will have to mull over in a couple of weeks when they vote. Yet, while it seems imminent that VAR’s will play a starring role in this year’s World Cup and beyond, there’s really only one question that officials must ask themselves before making this impactful decision.

At what cost is it worth it to get the call right?

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What: With the tender for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights to go out this month, Netflix was thought to be amongst one of the challengers to traditional broadcasters. Instead it has opted out the bidding.
Why it matters: Not only is this one less challenger for traditional broadcasters to worry about, but it is also one less challenger for Amazon and Facebook to worry about.

A New Frontier?

This season of the National Football League has not only seen Thursday night football games broadcast on the NFL Network, but also on Amazon. The games, available to Prime membership customers, offer a glimpse into the next steps major streaming companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook, are attempting to take as they look to expand their empires. Now they are looking to make a move on English football. Several months ago it was reported that among others, the aforementioned three would be in the bidding process for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights when they came out. However, with the rights set to be released sometime this month, Netflix has decided not to pursue the chance to broadcast English’s topflight football. Why? Simply put: it’s not Netflix’s style.

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If Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Netflix, one the most notable streaming services, has decided to stick to what it does best and this does not include live sports. It will instead focus its sports operation on original programming rather then live events. Early this past October, the streaming giant secured a deal with Serie A giants and reigning champions Juventus to produce a documentary on the club. The collaboration between Netflix and Juventus will provide viewers around the world with a behind the scenes look of the club during training sessions, preseasons, games and personal stories of the players. Commenting on the partnership with Juventus Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix, stated: “Netflix is the home of passionate storytelling, and there are no more passionate fans than those of the Bianconeri.”

“We are excited to have unique, exclusive access to one of the most important squads in the world”

A Sure Thing

Netflix’s deal with Juventus and subsequent withdrawal from the Premier League bidding rights shouldn’t be looked as weakness on Netflix part. Rather, Netflix could be praised for taking on an old directive and shedding new light upon it. Sport documentaries like the one Juventus will have with Netlifx are wildly popular as evidenced by the NFL’s successful look into life in the NFL with Hard Knocks. Additionally, Fox Sports produced a similar documentary mini-series back in 2012 with English football club, Liverpool FC. The series title ‘Being: Liverpool’ was generally received well by fans and critics alike. Netflix is looking to recreate that same exposure with Juventus using the same directives that has grown its business in the first place: storytelling. Netflix is the number one streaming service because of its original programming and adding live sports broadcasting, it feels, seems unnecessary and a deviation to its style of television.

“We want to provide the best video storytelling across all genres, but it won’t encompass live sports broadcasting”

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What: We talked to Emanuela Zaccone, Digital Entrepreneur, Co-founder and Marketing Manager of TOK.tv, about how the platform is changing the way fans consume live soccer games. TOK.tv recently launched  in China, releasing the official Real Madrid app for Chinese fans.
Why it matters: The platform can be integrated into any existing app, turning it immediately into a social network. It puts teams back in control of their relationship with the fans, which currently is mostly mediated by social networks.

http://emanuelazaccone.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/zaccone.png
(Photo: emanuelazaccone.com)

Portada: How was Tok TV created?
E.Z.: “We wanted to give sports fans back the emotion of watching TV together, even when they are far away. Sure, users can post on Facebook or tweet, but text cuts off the emotional side of the game: that’s why we created a platform putting voice at the center of the fan experience, letting users create virtual living rooms and call up to three friends, send stadium and arena cheers and take videos and social selfies together. Today we are integrated into major football teams official apps – such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Italian Serie A TIM and Lega B and GuoAn Beijing among others.”

Portada: How has it changed over the past 5 years?E.Z.: “We started creating our own apps – from early experiments, such as TOK Baseball Land and TOK Football, to official team apps like Juventus Live. Then we wrapped all of our social features into one, which can be integrated into any existing app. Also, the ecosystem on the other side has changed. While second screening is now a regular behavior, first and second screen tend to converge.”

We wrapped all of our social features into one, which can be integrated into any existing app.

Portada: How do you monetize the app?
E.Z.:  “The TOK.tv social platform allows the brand to own the fan experience with custom social selfie backgrounds and sounds, as well as synced advertising. While a game is on we can recognize advertising on TV and send static and video banners to the users when their attention is higher, making TV clickable.We can also sync advertising with the LEDs pitch side. Moreover, the TOK.tv social platform includes advertising BOTs allowing brands to establish a 1-to-1 direct relationship with the fans.”

Portada: How do you connect with brands and advertisers?
E.Z.:  “We have a dedicated team, which works with sponsors and prospects interested in sports. The power of our platform lies in targeting users when their attention is higher while profiling them.”

The power of our platform lies in targeting users when their attention is higher while profiling them.

TOK.tvPortada: How does an app like this change the way fans watch a game?
E.Z.:  “It cuts the distances while bringing the arena and stadium mood to your couch. Nothing is better than living a game with your far away friends as if you were sitting next to each other. Our platform also integrates Tokie, the BOT who knows everything about your favorite teams. Juventus and Real Madrid already use this in their apps. Since January more than 2.3 million messages have been sent.”

Portada: Are the apps changing the audience, or is it the other way around?
E.Z.: “Both. Apps account for 89% of the mobile experience, but the way people use them takes a role in shaping the future of the apps. Audiences are expert users who don’t just accept everything. They expect to have great experiences, to find content on the platforms they use. This changes everything. Could you ever imagine Facebook buying sports right for live streaming?”

Audiences are expert users who don’t just accept everything. They expect to have great experiences, to find content on the platforms they use.

Portada: What are TOK.tv’s expansion plans?
E.Z.:  “Our 21 million users are spread worldwide, with a large portion coming from the US. We are working to expand to American sports and we have recently launched in China, releasing the official Real Madrid app for Chinese fans. That’s a huge market for football fans, and we are already integrated into the GuoAn Beijing app too, planning to expand even further.”

We are working to expand to American sports.

What: FOX Sports will be offering the UEFA Champions League final live in virtual reality through
the broadcaster’s VR app. The match will take place this  Saturday match between Italian soccer club Juventus and Spain’s Real Madrid. FOX holds the English-language rights to the UEFA Champions League until 2018, when the rights will be taken over by Turner.
Why it matters: FOX Sports has been making an effort to stay up-to-date with consumer technology, which is why the channel has broadcast major events in VR, such as Super Bowl LI, the 2017 Big East Men’s Basketball Tournaments, the 2016 MLS Cup, and the 2016 Bundesliga season opener.

FOX Sports announced it will be broadcasting the UEFA Champions League final live in virtual reality, as well as statistics and pre-game VOD features through the Fox Sports VR app. Together with its technology partner, LiveLike, FOX will broadcast the game using three cameras positioned around the pitch, including one wide-frame shot and two behind each goal. This will let the broadcaster

According to Michael Davies, Senior VP, Field & Technical Operations at FOX Sports Media Group, there are still some quality details to be improved. But, he stated this won’t matter because virtual reality is more of a “companion experience”, where fans aren’t actually watching the whole game on their devices.

“We still think that that is really valuable and a really cool way to experience sports on the side,” he said. “That’s why we’re trying to give VR a helping hand through the interactive elements.”

Juventus and Real Madrid will play the Champions’ final next Saturday, June 3.