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What: Engagement with an increasingly diverse audience is critical for brands.
Why it matters: Winning off or on the field, be it team or brand, comes down to doing the homework. The chemistry, the timing, and the ethos have to align.

Jay Sharman

While there is still a great deal of hand-wringing over the future of media consumption, especially around sports in a younger and more ethnically diverse landscape, the fact remains that effective engagement and correct partnering, no matter what the medium or the device, is still key.

A look back at 2018 shows that the most eyeballs—88 of the top 100 shows—were live and, other than the Academy Awards, were all sporting events in English. In Spanish, the numbers were very much the same. The question now continues to be on the brand side: how, and with whom do you align to get the return on investment that you are looking for? The result remains very fluid.

“I believe the best consumer engagement campaigns are far beyond heart-tugging or inspirational messages on TV and social media,” said Jay Sharman (@_JaySharman), veteran sports media expert. “The gold standard initiatives literally bring together the community where they can heighten their connectivity around a common passion – on site.”

So what are some of those platforms—and also the brands—that have found the niche in the very crowded landscape? Some of the answers might surprise you.

Minor League Baseball

Long thought to be a hyper-local, almost mom-and-pop offering to brands, MILB (@MiLB) has consolidated its offerings into a national effort and has created some very unique branding and engagement platforms that have made the unified property both cost-effective and impactful.

The best example of a new and impressive offering is Copa de la Diversion. In three years, CMO David Wright and his savvy marketing team have created a blueprint for engaging the U.S. Latino population with a season-long Latino-specific tournament, Copa de la Diversion. This year 72 MiLB teams have created Latino alter-ego brands–logos, uniforms, traditions–and are competing for bragging rights for a league-wide sub-brand. The authenticity of this campaign is what sets it apart. It’s a true collaboration with each community to sensibly reflect the Latino passion for baseball and it’s transforming MiLB’s business.

When driver Carl Edwards took home a NASCAR race in the spring at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the brand used a fertilizer on the hood of his car. When they got to September, the brand message had switched to a winterizer.

Atlanta United

Many thought that Major League Soccer’s (@MLS) startup successes in the Pacific Northwest with the Seattle Sounders (@SoundersFC) and Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) could not be topped, but Arthur Blank’s Atlanta United (@ATLUTD) re-created the startup launch and have been a massive win not just for the thousands of fans who support the club, but for brands who have gotten in on the engagement side.

“Atlanta United’s creativity connecting authentically with the community has been a series of smart, marketing moves and tactics,” Sharman added. “Pregame traditions like “the Spike” can many times feel contrived, but at almost every step of the way – from naming the team to picking the right partners and then showing them how to seamlessly integrate with the club supporters has been nothing but impressive and successful.”

Whether it was Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance (@amfam) signing on as the club’s kit sponsor, or New York-based luxury men’s wear line Knot Standard (@KnotStandard) coming aboard as the club’s men’s wear partner, companies have gone to Atlanta United with the expectation that a business partnership will resonate well beyond the field, and will match their quality messaging with a quality brand experience.

The Changing Measurement Landscape

Chris Lencheski

“The days of just slapping a logo on a sponsorship and picking up some tickets at the game or the race are long gone,” added Chris Lencheski, a veteran sports marketer who has created some of the most effective brand activation platforms in sports ranging from Formula One (@F1) and NASCAR (@NASCAR) to Major League Baseball (@MLB) and the NHL (@NHL). “Now, you as a brand make your selections after taking analytics and living and breathing the DNA of the property, team or league over time to see how you can marry your objectives with theirs. It has to be both emotional and executional to work.”

Some of those examples of brands that have won on both sides, according to Lencheski (who now also teaches sports marketing at Columbia University), are deals that he has done with brands like Scotts for NASCAR, a partnership which also spread to MLB in recent years. When driver Carl Edwards took home a NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the brand used a fertilizer on the hood of his car. When they got to September, the brand message had switched to a winterizer. “It’s smart,” Lencheski added. “It’s the first day of spring and you’re supposed to fertilize. They ran that car at the first, second and third stages of spring. Then you adapt to make sure it works. That’s what we’re talking about— making sure our market is right. That does not happen if you are not in the room and listening to what makes the most sense for the brand. It is not ‘one size fits all.’”

That changing message also works well for Scotts (@ScottsLawnCare) with its relatively new partnership with MLB. Grass, yes, is a natural fit (no pun intended) for America’s national pastime. But making sure that the products are matched to the season is key in integration and messaging, so that the result of sales and affinity is tied to the right offering at the right time of year. You sell more seed in the spring, so match the message to the season. Timing, something often missed in brand partnerships, is also key to success.

Emotional Equity

While the hard sell timing is very important today, so are emotional ties. The ability for brands to deliver an emotive message tied to sports immediately around a social campaign is also key. A recent case in point, two actually, are Budweiser (@budweiserusa) and Nike (@Nike).

Budweiser made not one but two very emotive statements in recent weeks, one tied to a yearlong campaign around the Centennial of Jackie Robinson’s birth (@JRFoundation) and the other one to the retirement of Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade. The Robinson example is a detailed multimedia campaign with unique consumer packaging, while the Wade tribute was a fairly long but very emotional video with the future Hall of Famer being surprised by several people whom he had impacted in his life well beyond the court. That play was huge on the social connection because of its length and did not have the direct consumer sales impact that a Robinson display in a store would have, but they both pulled at the heartstrings to get fans of varied ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to align with Bud over their other beer of choice.

“We sometimes forget that certain groups, especially millennials, are driven by emotion first in their brand choices,” added Harrie Bakst, the cofounder of WCPG, a firm that partners, athletes, celebrities and brands with philanthropic campaigns. “The emotional connection may not always be a direct call to buy, like we see with Bud and the Jackie Robinson campaign, but its subtle messaging as we see with Dwyane Wade, can have even more of a long tail effect, and that return, if crafted correctly, can be even more valuable as a whisper to the consumer than a direct shout.”

Now the packaging of the message, whether bold or subtle, has to be correct. Even in the Wade campaign, which had zero in terms of people drinking beer, the “Bud” branding was front and center. In the print campaign around Jackie Robinson, you can’t miss the Budweiser logo, so little is left to chance. “The return on those two campaigns really bookend how you can deliver correctly to consumers,” Bakst added. “One is direct and overt, one is a subtle build, but both emote positive feelings and messages which resonate with the consumer for the short and long term.”

Then there is Nike. The apparel brand has had its peaks and valleys in recent years, and as the landscape continues to be more and more competitive, the swoosh keeps adjusting. Case in point in recent weeks was the riding of the wave that brought Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) back to the top of the golf world at The Masters. Nike’s response in the social space after Woods’ win at Augusta was emotional, multigenerational, and left nothing to chance, especially as it was delivered on a massive social platform before it ever made it to the traditional platforms of print and broadcast. That sent a message to the athletic world that the brand supports the success of the human condition as seen through the eyes of one of the world’s most legendary athletes.

https://twitter.com/Nike/status/1117497381832933376

“Nike has never been a brand looking at the short term,” Lencheski added. “Their investments, especially in elite athletes, teams, and leagues, go through as deep an evaluation and brand match process as anything in the consumer space. The result is an ethos that works for all, and that message, and to return, has a huge payoff when something like Tiger Woods’ comeback reaches the point it did a few weeks ago.”

Finding the White Space

Anna Gasser (Mirja Geh/Red Bull Content Pool)

The other careful match that brands have to take into consideration is that window of opportunity that others are not realizing. For companies big on disruption and ones that can move quickly, the “lightning in a bottle,” or the speaking to a niche audience, can have a pretty unique return. Case in point is Red Bull (@redbull), and its plays away from the mainstream into the worlds of extreme sports.

“Red Bull has found that the white space of entertainment aligns with their brand, and they create content and experiences that connect their community in unique and memorable ways,” Sharman said. “By treating themselves like a sponsor that supports this approach they’ve built tremendous brand equity in themselves.”

While mass consumer sales is the goal, the unconventional approach, being short form video, event activation and athlete supported as the first step, not the traditional second, has given Red Bull a leg up in the competitive beverage category that few saw coming years ago, and has made it the brand to measure against and challenge among that thrill seeking demo.

Winning With Latinos

As 2019 unfolds, this brand activation space in sports continues to be one of the more elusive ones. We have written on the brand success stories seen by companies that have gone all in on consumer ROI targeted to the demo, from Tecate (@tecate) to Wells Fargo (@WellsFargo). However the overall engagement in “Latino” or “Hispanic” is still evolving.

“Whether you are the NBA or MLB, the brand identification in this space still means many things to many people; a product that plays well with Liga MX and a Mexican fan base may not work with the Brooklyn Nets who are trying to tie in with a Dominican supporter and so on,” Elisa Padilla, the senior VP of marketing & community relations for the Miami Marlins (@Marlins) told us last fall. “We see it here in Miami as well. You really have to know the segments of your fan base and understand what they are asking and what you can deliver for them. It is certainly not a one size fits all opportunity, especially in terms of expectations or return. It is a challenge, but an interesting one that is a great opportunity for those who can manage and figure out the mix.”

In the end the marrying of brands to the sports space is still a slippery slope for some, especially given the fluidity of budgets, and frankly, the various and sundry ways that content, live or packaged, can be delivered today to audiences big or small.

“You have to have a clear understanding of the market segment you want to reach, and be well versed in all forms of message delivery, today more than ever,” Lencheski added. “The message for a brand needs to be sincere and compelling, and those brands also have to understand that the famous John Wannamaker line: ‘I know half my advertising works, trouble is I never know what half’ may be adapted but can still be true today. Your social strategy has to align with broadcast and if you have a cause that too has to speak to the audience correctly, otherwise you lose the message effectiveness. Picking the right team, league or personality is a challenge, but it all comes down to homework. Just like in school, if you put in the work, you get the grades.”

Winning off or on the field, be it team or brand, comes down to doing the homework. The chemistry, the timing, and the ethos have to align. Without putting the work in, the results may be costly.

Cover Image: Carl Edwards (credit: Maverick Helicopters, Tom Donoghue)

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

  • #PFLmmaESPN and ESPN+ inked a multi-year deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), to become the home of the PFL in the US. All ten PFL events will air live across ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+, with up to three hours of exclusive action live on ESPN+ and up to two exclusive hours live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Three PFL Playoff events will take place in October.

 

  • Major League Baseball will be back in Japan for its first games of the 2019 regular season. The league, in partnership with the MLB Players Association, will see MGM Resorts serve as the title sponsor for the 2019 MGM MLB Opening Series, with games played in the Tokyo Dome over the course of five days in March pitting the A’s/Mariners.

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.

  • The Minor League Baseball locked a membership in the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing (AIMM). MiLB is the first sports property to join 75 member companies currently participating in the multicultural marketing initiative.

 

  • Disney will sell its Fox Sports channels in Brazil and Mexico to move closer to completing its US$71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, according to Bloomberg.

Subscribe to Portada weekly Sports Marketing Updates!

  • Combate AmericasCombate Americas reached 610,000 viewers on Univision and UDN during its first live televised Mixed Martial Arts event of 2019 – ‘Mexico vs. USA,’ despite its midnight start time on Feb. 22.

 

  • The NBA is celebrating its 13th annual Latin nights program, Noches Éne•Bé•A, to commemorate fans and players across Latin American and US Hispanic communities throughout the month of March. The program includes celebratory warmup shirts and merchandise as well as 15 games with in-arena festivities.

What: Global engagement is more critical than ever for teams, brands, and leagues.
Why it matters: Here are eight ways for entities to cultivate a wider, more diverse audience.

Sports business has never been more global, and fans and brands more engaged, than they are today. Whether it is Liga MX (@LIGABancomerMXexpanding its footprint more into the United States, MLB (@MLBto Japan or the NBA (@NBAto India, the largest properties in the world are spreading their reach and touching fans in ways like never before. Fandom is still celebrated locally, but the reach and level of fandom are beyond borders.

With that reach can there can be some slippery slopes. A misplayed National Anthem here, a misunderstood custom there, and clubs looking to cultivate a wider audience, especially in their home venues, can easily undo the goodwill, and the brand activations, that they were trying to grow.

With that eye to global engagement, we looked at eight ways to best engage, be it team, brand or league.

Elisa Padilla

Be Authentic. It is becoming more and more cliché, but an authentic engagement into a multicultural space is key. There were times years ago when the NBA would slap “Los” on a jersey and play mariachi music and call it Latino night. Check the box and move on. Those days are gone. “Social media today has given fans the ability to respond pretty quickly to what we are doing, and if something seems contrived, we hear it right away,” said Elisa Padilla, SVP of Marketing and Community Relations for the Miami Marlins (@Marlins) in a conversation last year.  “Everything we do, especially when trying to engage a multicultural Latino audience that may be Cuban, Venezuelan and Puerto Rican, each with their own nuances, has to be sincere. If it’s not the brand can lose great credibility and it is hard to get it back.”

Know The Audience. Also along those lines, knowing who is following, who is engaging and what they are responding to and asking about is also critical to success. Creating promotions and marketing to a community that is not as engaged in your team or your sport, or doesn’t fit culturally, can lead to issues. “The beauty of data collection today is that we know more and more not just who is buying a ticket, but who is coming into the building every night,” said veteran sports marketer Chris Lencheski, currently a professor at Columbia University. “That data now gives us great insight not just into the buying habits but into the physical makeup of who is at an event, and that can help us create programs for audiences that we may not have known a lot about. It also gives us the opportunity to survey that audience and ask them what they would like.” Those types of fan engagement platforms have led to landmark changes in areas like concessions, where teams are now selling more and more ethnic and local foods, or in how a game is presented in terms of language for public address. Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls), for example, make all announcements in both English and Spanish, something which does not happen regularly at an NFL or NBA game. Understanding who is in the seats, by asking and collecting data, gives you a great chance to serve the audience enjoying the event.

Kristaps Porzingis (Wikimedia Commons/Ed)

Build Over Time. Often times teams, or even leagues, will see a trend and rush to adapt and capture a moment, which in the end may come across as both unauthentic and contrived. Recently the New York Knicks (@nyknickscreated “Latvian Heritage Night” to try and make their young star Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) more at home. When Porzingis was traded, Latvian Heritage Night was canceled. While the effort to try and tie to the culture of a rising star is understandable, the ability to build and connect with an audience and culture who may be the first time in an arena is now lost. Instead of finding ways to expand a relationship, the effort seemed more contrived and some brand damage is done. Also, especially with Latino marketing in sports, trying small programs that identify with select groups: Cubans in Miami, Puerto Ricans in New York, Mexicans in Houston, and then expanding out from there, and building on success, sometimes works better than just branding “Latinos” and trying to pull from a mass that may be disconnected. “As a Latina with a Puerto Rican background, I may be able to identify with a Venezuelan or even a Dominican cultural event, but it’s doubtful I will be able to connect to more nuanced happenings from say Panama or Brazil,” added Karin Buchholz, former head of community relations for the New York Knicks. “I have Latina pride and loved seeing that pride played out in sports, but if it seemed rushed or contrived just to check the box, it didn’t work. Better to be sure and steady than to rush and try to be everything to everyone.”

Taking the time to listen to the players and the coaches and then building programs around their interests makes the connection so much stronger.

Take It To The Community. In the past, many efforts in multicultural marketing were just tied to an event. Find a sponsor, do a giveaway, check the box and cash the check. These days, initiatives have to transcend the arena or stadium to be effective. ‘We only have a certain amount of people coming into a building, and multicultural marketing needs to be very experiential, especially since many of the people we want to reach may only be able to come to a game once or twice a year,” Padilla added. “Programs need to have arms and legs and go into the market, not just take place at a game. We need to show that we are supporting community initiatives and delivering value in the neighborhood as well. That’s the best way to build trust and affinity.” In addition to food and clothing drives and school initiatives, one of those efforts is an annual program run by DC United (@dcunited) of MLS. Partido de las Estrellas is an all-star match involving old and current Hispanic players as well as local celebrities. The venue is located in Columbia Heights, a part of the city with a notably large Hispanic and Latino population, and aside from the match itself, there’s music, food and other forms of entertainment celebrating the community’s value to the city. It takes the experience beyond a pitch and delivers it in the backyard of the fan.

Get buy-in from those on the field. Sometimes the best programs are those where coaches and players, not just marketers, have input. Listening to the stories of the players; their traditions, the places they spend their time, is also essential. “Often times we would look at a team makeup and ask if they looked like us, like those in the community,” added Buchholz. “Especially in leagues like MLB, MLS and the NBA, the players are coming from such diverse cultural backgrounds that their stories can relate to an audience we may not have thought of. Taking the time to listen to the players and the coaches and then building programs around their interests makes the connection so much stronger, and that becomes an even great win than just trying to randomly force an initiative.”

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. Attendees will also be able to benefit from Portada’s meet-up service of three-eight-minute meetings with top brand executives!

Goya/NYCFC

Identify New Partners: The unending quest to find new revenue sometimes can lead teams back to the same safe places again; categories are limited, and especially at the five elite leagues in North America, the prices paid for exclusivity in a category can be exorbitant. However multicultural marketing gives the chance for teams to bring in custom brand categories for programs and events, sometimes at a lower price point, than could be done in a general marketing environment. “We see it more and more, an entrepreneurial salesperson sees an opportunity around a player or a cultural event, and goes and finds brands willing to come in and activate around it that may not have been able to find their way in any other way,” Lencheski added. Case in point was the Philadelphia 76ers and their rising star, Australian Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25). The Sixers created a niche with the Australian Company, Four and Twenty Meat Pies, an Australian favorite, to give them the ability to come in and sample and do an “Australian Heritage Night.” In a traditional environment, Four and Twenty (@FourntwentyUSAmight have been blocked from being in the building by larger vendors and sponsors in a food category. However by creating an Australian flavor (no pun intended), a carve-out for exposure was created, buzz generated, and exposure grew. In many other markets, ethnic brands like Goya Foods (@GoyaFoodshave found Latino or Hispanic culture nights as their way into an arena or venue to start a conversation about partnership and story tell, and often times those brands help take that experience back out to the market in a consumer promotion. By looking deeper, and being smarter, teams and leagues can re-slice and dice a category that was once whole, and everyone involved can win.

Speak the Language: Another sometimes overlooked nuance is being able to not just act in a multicultural environment but to also deliver materials and programs in the language that is not English. The Oakland Raiders in recent years have worked closely with Native American groups who are loyal to the team, and out of that came the ability to broadcast games in Navajo. The Detroit Tigers do all outreach in both English and Spanish, as do a growing number of MLB teams, and built their annual “Fiesta Tigres” event as a way to celebrate Spanish language first fans. “It is essential that we have programs that don’t just address culture, especially Latino culture, but take that culture and deliver every element in Spanish,” Detroit Tigers (@tigersVP of Communications Ron Colangelo said. “We need to make the transition to fandom easy, and sometimes the easiest way to do that is to take the language of sport, be it radio, TV or in print, and literally deliver it to the fan base in a way that they can easily understand. It builds great trust and shows no matter how subtly, that no matter what your language is, we are here for you as a team and as a brand.”

If It Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Do It: We kind of end where we started; with authenticity. In a copycat business world, the rush to do something for the sake of doing it, or because the concept can be sold, is not always the best. There are many teams, despite pressure from a league, do not do all forms of multicultural marketing because at this point, their audience, and their community, is not as diverse as others, or doesn’t have a large makeup as certain other cities. The Houston Rockets (@HoustonRocketsfor example, have a vast program marketing to the Chinese community; it worked very well and has a natural fit in the culture of Houston. A team like the Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewersmay market heavily to a German or Polish fan base because of the traditions in that city. It does not mean that you are culturally closed off; what it means is that you need to take the time to do programs right, keep them authentic and deliver to the community which you are in. trying to do too much every time is tough, and often leads to failure. Listening and being engaged in the community means you have the ability to see, hear and feel trends, especially with emerging ethnic groups. Taking the time to know when to engage, how to engage, and where to engage is not just good business, it’s good human nature.

Subscribe to Portada’s weekly Sports Marketing Updates!

Cover image: Partido de las Estrellas/DC United

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

  • WWEMinute Maid Park in Houston will host the WWE Royal Rumble on Jan. 26, 2020. This will be WWE’s debut at Minute Maid Park and the second time the Royal Rumble is held at a baseball stadium. “We are thrilled to bring one of WWE’s biggest events of 2020 to Minute Maid Park,” said Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority. “We look forward to WWE fans from around the world descending on Houston for the Royal Rumble.”

 

  • The NBA is supporting The Basketball Africa League (BAL), a new professional basketball league in Africa, born of a collaboration between the NBA and the sport’s global governing body Fiba. The 12-team league will begin play in January 2020. This will be the first time the NBA has been involved with the operation of a league outside of North America. “As we’ve been talking about this concept over the last several months, there’s been a tremendous reception from several of our NBA team owners,” Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, said. “Several of our partners have also expressed an interest to work with us in Africa.”

Subscribe to Portada’s weekly Sports Marketing Updates!

  • https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/3273122922/47aaf806b4241d81282383c75bc44f19_400x400.jpegBoxeo Telemundo is celebrating 30 years on the air, serving as the longest-running sports program in Spanish-language television. “We are proud of the successful run Boxeo Telemundo has had over the last 30 years bringing boxing fans the best of up-and-coming Hispanic contenders vying for championship titles,” said Ray Warren, President of Telemundo Deportes. “We look forward to continue serving our fans with the best boxing as part of our efforts to continue positioning Telemundo Deportes as the leading Spanish-language destination for the Biggest, Best, Global sports events.”

 

  • Indonesia submitted a bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games. The IOC is scheduled to announce the 2032 host by 2025.

We are looking at Nielsen’s social content ratings of the week of January 14-20 in order to get a good sense of which social platforms are the best tool for viewers to engage with their favorite programming.

 

This week, Nielsen’s Social Ratings show that Instagram was the clear winner of TV-programming-related social media with 24.1 million (61%) interactions, while Twitter received 13.4 million and Facebook was last with 1.9 million. Here we extract a few insights from Nielsen’s data in order to get a good sense of which broadcasters and programs generate more engagement, and will try to find out whether there is a relationship between topics and social media.

 

WEEKLY TOP TEN SERIES AND SPECIALS

January 14-20, 2019

[Source: Nielsen]

Key Insights

  • Out of the total of interactions on the top ten spots, 24% (9.5 million posts) were related to a TV episode or special.
  • Facebook had 429,000 interactions, way behind Twitter, which received 1.9 million.
  • However, none of those two could match Instagram, which got 7.2 million posts, or 75% of the posts.
  • The top two spots were taken over by USA Network and WWE. Combined, both events generated almost half (43%) of the interactions.
  • Instagram won by a landslide on almost all the events, except for The Bachelor, which got more interactions on Twitter.

 

WEEKLY TOP TEN SPORTS EVENTS

January 14-20, 2019

[Source: Nielsen]

Key Insights

  • Over 30 million interactions, or 76% of the total of the three top ten rankings provided by Nielsen related to TV episodes or special events, were about sports.
  • From these, 1.5 million interactions were posted on Facebook (only 5%).
  • Twitter received 11.5 million related to sports events, or (38%).
  • About 56% (16.9 million) posts were made on Instagram, making it the unanimous winning platform in the sports category.
  • NFL events took the first two spots (57% of sports interactions), with the Patriots vs Chiefs match generating a third of all the interactions with sports events of the week.
  • The remaining 43% of posts were related to basketball events; spots 3 to 9 were NBA matches, and spot 10 was a College Basketball match.
  • Instagram was the top platform for NBA fans, but Twitter is still the winner for NFL followers.

 

WEEKLY TOP TEN TV TALENT

January 14-20, 2019

[Source: Nielsen]

Key Insights

  • According to Nielsen’s data, 2.1 million viewers engaged with the top ten posts sent directly from social media accounts owned or affiliated with TV programming.
  • For the top 10 spots, Facebook received 16,000 engagements, Twitter got 431,000, and Instagram came out on top with 1.6 million.
  • The relationship between top series and top TV talents is rather close, especially in the case of America’s Got Talent’s Terry Crews. Even though Ellen’s Game of Games is on the 10th spot of the former list, she was the second most popular TV talent of the week.

 

Cover photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

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

  • Los Angeles LakersLos Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will star in this year’s NBA edition of its China Games. The two teams will play in a pre-season double-header on 10th October in Shanghai and 12th October in Shenzhen. To leverage the games, the NBA will run a variety of fan activities, as well as a series of community outreach activities in the two cities hosting the games. This year will mark the 13th edition of the NBA’s China Games.

 

  • According to a new study led by Opendorse, the NBA leads North America’s social media with over 721 million followers. NBA players comfortably lead all leagues in total athlete audience size. NFL players come in second place, ahead of the up-and-coming MLS. While the NHL comes fourth, its fans are passionate, and present the highest collective engagement rate at just over 10 percent.

Subscribe to Portada daily Sports Marketing Updates!

  • Riot Games locked in a deal with Kia Motors to serve as the LEC’s automotive sponsor for the 2019 season, as the European League of Legends organization preps for its new season. Through this deal, Kia will become the presenting sponsor of the ‘Player of the Game’ segment. Kia will also be making appearances at LEC “roadshows and offline events.”

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.

  • https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/800840075311333376/515GX-Cc_400x400.jpgOracle has signed a deal with the MLB to rename the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park. Worth more than US$200 million for the naming rights, the ballpark will become the Oracle Park once officially announced, according to a Bloomberg report. The Oracle partnership brings to an end a 23-year association with US telco AT&T and its prior associated businesses.

 

  • Rakuten has signed Stephen Curry as a brand ambassador in a multi-year agreement. The Golden State Warriors player will become the face of the Japanese company’s marketing strategy in the US, while making Rakuten the title sponsor of his new basketball camps. Rakuten is an official partner of the NBA and is also the Golden State Warriors’ official jersey-badge sponsor.

What: The NBA’s Mexico series last weekend is another step forward in the league’s strong presence south of the border.
Why it matters: Priming the pump for Mexican growth is not just smart for fan engagement, it could open a whole new geographic region for NBA action.

The idea of “honoring Latino culture” in professional sports has come a long way from slapping Los on a jersey and bringing in a Mariachi band. While many teams still struggle to figure out exactly how to engage and bring in brands, or as one executive said, identify what exactly “Hispanic” or “Latino” means and how is that audience, the continued value-add in engagement grows exponentially with each passing year. As that fast-growing demo becomes more engaged, more affluent, and more on the radar of professional sports, the opportunity to capture and cultivate a fan base rises on the priority list.

Case in point is the NBA (@NBAand Mexico, which again entered the conversation with this past week’s regular season games in Mexico City. While China, India, and even Europe remain a big priority for brand engagement and fan development, is Mexico the real next stop for expansion?

This weekend again showed the value, and the passion, that the Mexican market can bring.

Now, of course, the NBA isn’t the only league now looking more steadily to the neighbors to the south. The NFL (@NFL), even with its recent field issues in Mexico, has targeted the country (@nflmxas a growth opportunity. Major League Baseball (@MLBhas the most natural connection through the culture of sport and the Latino community, and soccer, especially with the business relationship that exists with the Mexican National Team and Soccer United Marketing and the growing relationship with MLS (@MLSand Liga MX (@LIGABancomerMXstill the most viewed professional soccer matches in all of the Americas on a weekly basis) are all making inroads into the casual, and affluent fan base of Mexico. Heck even hockey, as pointed out in our recent piece on the L.A. Kings grassroots efforts to the south, is trying to find a niche. But will the NBA, always seeming to be a public step ahead of the others in business development, make the biggest and most successful next step?

There are certainly a lot of reasons to see if that’s where the race will lead. The first steps according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver in the growth of professional basketball not just in Mexico but in the rest of Latin America, are coming. Step one could be as early as next winter, when the NBA will put a G League team in Mexico City. Another step would be the building and fitting of more NBA quality facilities for both in cities throughout the rest of Mexico and Latin America. That obviously will take time.

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!

“I believe we can be the No. 1 sport in the world,” Silver said recently. “When I look at the trajectory of growth, the fact that young people, boys and girls, continue to love this sport, are playing this sport, are engaged in the sport of basketball on social media or with online games, I don’t know what the limit is.”

One seemingly limitless next step is the continued push by teams to market to a growing fan base. This weekend again showed the value, and the passion, that the Mexican market can bring, and none of that was lost on the clubs like the Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagicwho participated this weekend. The other team that continues to grow in popularity in the country? The Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls).

A study commissioned by the NBA in July found that the Bulls were the favorite team of 18 percent of fans in Mexico, behind only the Los Angeles Lakers (20 percent) and well ahead of the defending champion Golden State Warriors (@warriors) (10 percent). The Bulls were also a top-three favorite of 42 percent of fans polled, second again to the Lakers (@Lakers) (45 percent).

“To have a team so well-followed and loved like the Bulls in the country, it’s a very important step for us,” added Raul Zarraga, managing director of NBA Mexico in a conversation with AP last week.

Since the league’s formal return to Mexico in 2014 as part of the NBA’s Global Games initiative, six regular-season games have been played in the country, including a record four in 2017.

With expansion not that close, but certainly starting to be rumored in cities like Seattle for some time in the next decade, 2025 or so, and with the Olympics coming back to North America in 2026, priming the pump for Mexican growth is not just smart for fan engagement, it could open a whole new geographic region for NBA action, an area which may make more sense than the once fertile vision of franchise growth abroad.

Whether Mexico becomes a home for the NBA is anyone’s guess. One is more of a sure thing is that the powers that be see the opportunity, both with existing franchises trying to capitalize on engagement with Latino fans, and for the league as a whole looking to identify and grow in new markets with both brands and fans from the grassroots up.

The times of yelling “Olé” and checking the Latino marketing box around basketball are long gone; business expansion has really arrived.

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National Basketball Association Chief Marketing Officer Pam El will retire at the end of the year, ending a four-year tenure. The NBA will conduct a search for her replacement, according to a league spokesperson. El will continue to consult with the league on marketing and branding matters.

 

 

 

 

 

Applift has announced the appointment of Maor Sadra to Chief Executive Officer. Maor has been with Applift since 2014, as Vice President Strategic Development, rising to the role Managing Director & Chief Revenue Officer in 2015. Applift’s Co-Founder, Tim Koschella, hands the reins of CEO to Sadra soon after its recent rebranding.

 

 

 

 

Lagrant Communications has announced that Keisha N. Brown (KB) has been appointed to the position of president, a role held by the founder since its inception in 1990.  Lagrant Communications (LC) specializes in Hispanic, African American, and LGBTQ consumer markets. In her new role, Keisha will focus on client services and new business development. She will continue as the chair of the Health and Wellness Practice. Mr. Kim L. Hunter, former president and CEO, will remain the Chairman & CEO of the agency.

 

 

 

The Economist Chief Executive Officer, Chris Stibbs, is leaving the role after half a decade in charge. Stibbs will remain in his role until the title can pick out his successor, it estimated that the process may take up to a year.

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa A. Lentz has been named to the newly created position of Chief Executive Officer of the MAGNET Global Network. As CEO, Lentz will drive strategy, promote the network, aid in worldwide agency recruitment, and advance educational programming. She’ll report to MAGNET’s Chairman, Scott Morgan, president of Brunner, Pittsburgh, Pa.

 

 

 

Albert Technologies has announced that Mark Kirschner is its new Chief Marketing Officer. Kirschner joins Albert after serving as CMO of eBay Enterprise and The Trade Desk, and Vice CMO of Global Marketing at Rakuten. As CMO, Kirschner will focus on building and refining Albert’s global marketing infrastructure, driving adoption across global consumer brands and expanding the company’s growing partnership program.

 

 

 

 

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

  • NikeNike is ready to sign a new esports deal with the Chinese League of Legends Pro League (LPL). According to Lanxiong Sports, we are looking at a possible five-year partnership worth up to the equivalent of US$144 million. If the partnership happens, Nike would provide clothing, accessories, and shoes for all LPL team players and representatives.

 

  • The UFC has confirmed its plans to open the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) training facility in Shanghai, in China. The facility is planned to open its doors in 2019 and will have a sport-specific training system to develop and support MMA athletes from across mainland China and the greater Asia-Pacific region. The building will also be designated the UFC’s headquarters in Asia.

 

  • Nascar is planning on launching its own OTT streaming service. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the service could arrive as soon as 2020. Meanwhile, Fox Sports and NBC Sports are set to air three of Nascar’s national series for an extended six years, through 2024.

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!

  • Manny PacquiaoManny Pacquiao announced being ready to end his two-year absence from boxing to return to Las Vegas to defend his World Boxing Association welterweight world title against former four-division world champion Adrien Broner. The encounter will take place on Jan. 19 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV.

 

  • T-Mobile has locked the naming rights to the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field. According to Forbes, some sources reported the deal to be worth up to US$3 million annually. Still, the deal hasn’t been officially announced.

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  • Estadio AztecaThe NFL and Mexico’s President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed that 2019 will see Mexico’s Estadio Azteca hosting the third game of the existing agreement signed in 2016. The announcement comes after this year’s game was moved back to the US due to bad field conditions. The details of next year’s game will be established next spring.

 

  • Mitel has become the title partner of the first two Major League Baseball London Series. The pair of two-game slated to be played at London Stadium will become the first games ever played in Europe. The Boston Red Sox will face the New York Yankees on June 29-30 between. Mitel will act as the league’s Official Business Technology & Communications Partner into all activation, branding, and marketing surrounding the games played in the UK.

 

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

  • Doosan Equipment EUDoosan will be the presenting sponsor of the 2018 National League Division Series (NLDS). This is the brand’s second year MLB Postseason involvement, after sponsoring the American League Division Series (ALDS) last year. The brand will receive significant exposure across national broadcast and MLB-owned channels along with in-stadium brand integration throughout the series. “We are honored to be an official partner of MLB. Our partnership is nearly a year old, and we’ve seen those efforts help to build additional brand awareness and business opportunities for Doosan in the U.S.,” said Edward Song, Head of Doosan Infracore North America.

 

  • The NFL might be canceling its Sunday Ticket deal with AT&T-owned DirecTV. According to Pro Football Talk, the league is willing to cancel the US$1.5 billion extension deal it signed with the out-of-market broadcast provider back in 2014 to take the contract through 2022. The league has the power to cancel the arrangement as early as the conclusion of the 2019 regular season. NFL viewership among Hispanics has increased by 28% in the past five years alone, according to a 2016 Nielsen report.

 

  • The Phoenix Suns signed a jersey patch deal with PayPal. With this agreement, PayPal becomes the official payment partner of the Suns, the WNBA Phoenix Mercury and Real Club Deportivo Mallorca, a second-division Spanish soccer team controlled by Suns Owner Robert Sarver. In addition, the Suns will make PayPal Credit available for season-ticket purchases. 31% of MLB players are Latino, according to ESPN.

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  • San Francisco 49ersTechnology company Copia is pushing its partnership with the San Francisco 49ers by helping reduce food waste at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, by delivering excess food to non-profit organizations and shelters. The technology company has redistributed over 26,000 pounds worth of quality food to the local community.

 

  • NASCAR presented a new augmented reality experience available via the NASCAR Mobile app, for fans to experience the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Fans will be able to walk through virtual portals to experience the Playoffs’ most memorable moments in 360-degree AR. According to 2011 data, 20% of NASCAR’s followers are multicultural fans, 9% were Hispanic and 8% African-American.

 

  • Mediapro is preparing to launch a Spanish-speaking OTT streaming service dedicated to esports. Similar to Twitch the new platform is expected to go live before the end of this year. The channel will house live competitive gaming events and tournaments, along with a host of exclusive in-house content. According to hispanicgamers.com Hispanics expressed more interest in watching others play video games compared to Non-Hispanics.

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

  • https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/1022907060948627456/FN6y9l8B_400x400.jpgUS Open ladies’ champion Naomi Osaka is set to sign Adidas’ biggest clothing deal with a female athlete. According to The Times, the deal is worth an estimated $8.5 million annually.

 

  • The MLB will continue to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month with a slate of events and efforts designed to spotlight the contributions to baseball by Hispanic and Latino players throughout the month of September. Initiatives include special MLB Network vignettes highlighting Latino stars, social and digital content across MLB’s bilingual platforms, and in-park Club celebrations around the league. MLB also presented new media platforms designed to provide real-time, quality content to the Spanish-speaking Hispanic and Latino audience.

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  • Baloncesto Suprerior NacionalPuerto Rico’s premiere professional basketball league, locked a partnership with WSC Sports, the leader in AI powered sports video content, for automated creation and distribution of video highlights. WSC’s machine learning technology enables BSN to automatically create video highlights and share them across digital and social platforms. This is a small way for WSC to give back to Puerto Rico, following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

 

  • DoritosTwitchCon 2018 will see Doritos in the trenches, with the announcement of the Doritos Bowl on Oct. 27 in San Jose. The event will have top gamers competing in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s new battle royale mode, Blackout, anchored by Ninja, Shroud, CouRage, and DrLupo. On average, Hispanics play video games more often than Non-Hispanics (12 hours per week vs. 9 hours for Non-Hispanics), according to a 2014 Think Now Research study.

 

  • JBL is expanding its presence among NBA players and teams. In addition to welcoming back champion Stephen Curry, NBA All Star Andre Drummond and Kristaps Porzingis, JBL is adding Giannis Antetokounmpo as an ambassador. The brand also announced a partnerships with the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat starting during the 2018-2019 season.

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

  • UFCUFC has reached a company value of up to US$7 billion, after signing a five-year media rights deal with ESPN, according to Dana White, president of the UFC. The deal with ESPN, announced in May, will see the sports broadcasting giant cover a total of 30 events each year, with 15 bouts to air exclusively on the new ESPN+ streaming service. The agreement is said to be worth an eye-popping US$300 million annually over five years, netting the UFC a total US$1.5 billion.

 

  • MLB will open the season earlier than ever before next year, after announced that all 30 teams will start the 2019 season on March 28, the earliest Opening Day in history, without counting international games. The season will tip off with the Mariners and host Athletics at the Tokyo Dome on March 20-21.

 

  • Victor Cruz, former New York Giants wide receiver, is joining ESPN as an NFL analyst. Cruz will contribute to NFL Live, Get Up!, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and other ESPN platforms year-round.

 

  • MMA promotion Combate Americas announced the opening of La Jaula Studios, a new multi-platform content production studio created to serve Hispanic Millennials and Generation Z. La Jaula Studios will produce authentic content in Spanish, English, and Portuguese that complements Combate Americas’ programming with upcoming projects. The new studio will be led by Stan Jakubowicz, who was recently promoted to Chief Content Officer and will be based in New York.

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  • CHEEZ-ITKellogg’s Cheez-It brand was named as the title sponsor of the NFL Cactus Bowl, which will now be known as the Cheez-It Bowl. The multi-year partnership features a match-up between members of the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. The fully-integrated partnership includes digital and social media, content, in-stadium exposure, product sampling and on-site activation at the game and other Fiesta Bowl organization events.

 

  • Frost Bank has become the San Antonio Spurs first-ever jersey partner. The multi-year deal will see Frost’s logo on the jerseys starting Sept. 30. Frost Bank’s branding will also appear more widely at the AT&T Center and on Spurs’ digital platforms.

 

  • The Overwatch League and Twitter locked a new multiyear deal to bring highlights and live stream content to the platform. Twitter will drive Overwatch League’s distribution of near real-time highlight clips from every match of the Overwatch League regular season, playoffs, Grand Finals, and All-Star Weekend.

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

  • NASCARNASCAR presented the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in Las Vegas. To celebrate the start of the sport’s postseason and engage fans, the festivities center around three major events: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Media Day; NASCAR Burnout Blvd Fueled by Sunoco, and a two-day Playoffs Party at Fremont Street Experience. According to 2011 data, 20% of NASCAR’s followers are multicultural fans, 9% were Hispanic and 8% African-American.

 

  • MLB and USA Baseball announced a new high school baseball tournament designed to showcase some of the best rising seniors from Texas and California. “States Play,” co-hosted by the Texas Rangers, will center on a three-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, from Aug. 24-26. Each game will stream LIVE on MLB.com, and access to Globe Life will be free for the public. 31% of MLB players are Latino, according to ESPN.

 

  • Razer inked a strategic partnership to become the official phone and headset provider for Tribe Gaming, a top mobile esports organization in North America. The deal includes an eight-episode docuseries to be released by the end of 2018. According to a 2014 Think Now Research study Hispanic gamers buy and rent video games more often than Non-Hispanics.

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  • Papa John's PizzaOne month after suspending their relation with Papa John’s, after the pizza brand’s founder John Schnatter made some racist comments, the New York Yankees have restored their partnership, and will sell its products again at the Yankee Stadium.

 

  • The NFL team Los Angeles Chargers announced telecommunications company Rokit as their official wireless partner. As part of the multi-year agreement, the firm also becomes the title sponsor of the team’s stadium, Rokit Field at StubHub Center.

 

  • NBA franchises owned by the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves will join its NBA 2K League esports competition in 2019. The four expansion teams will join an existing roster of 17 NBA teams which participated in this year’s inaugural 2k League season, which got underway in May and will conclude with its first ever finals event on 25th August.

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

  • NBA MÉXICOThe NBA Mexico City Games 2018 will feature the Orlando Magic playing regular-season games against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 13, and against the Utah Jazz on Dec. 15 at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City. This will be the third consecutive season the NBA plays two regular-season games in Mexico City, with coverage on ESPN. The NBA Mexico City Games 2018 will be supported by a full roster of marketing partners, including Nike, SAP, Gatorade and Tissot with additional partners to be announced in the coming months.

 

  • United Entertainment Group is launching its first-ever offering in Asia where industry veteran Toru Fumihara has been hired as the Managing Director of UEG’s new office in Tokyo, which will serve as a hub for the Asian marketplace. This marks the third international office the agency has opened in the span of one year, starting with London in 2017 and Hamburg, Germany earlier in 2018.

 

  • As the official beer of the NFL, Bud Light is introducing new designs for cans that feature a team logo, as well as a customized color stripe down the side. In total, each of Bud Light’s 28 team partners will be featured in the new designs, along with an NFL Shield edition to round out the collection. The new cans hit shelves this week.

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  • David Higdon
    David Higdon, head of communications, esports at Riot Games.

    Former NASCAR executive David Higdon has a new lane to oversee, joining Riot Games in the newly created position of global head of communications, esports. Higdon previously served as VP of integrated marketing communications for NASCAR and as CCO for the LPGA.

 

  • DAZN announced the sublicensing deals for its NFL coverage in Canada after experiencing streaming issues last season. Streaming and satellite providers including BCE Inc., Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and SaskTel will distribute NFL Sunday Ticket for the upcoming season.

 

  • The NFL won’t be playing in London’s new Tottenham Hotspur stadium as it was planned. Developers announced delays in opening the venue due to safety concerns so this year’s NFL game that was set for the location will now take place at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 14. The game will feature the Seahawks vs Raiders.

What: The Orlando Magic will play the Chicago Bulls (Dec. 13) and Utah Jazz (Dec. 15) in the third straight iteration of the NBA Mexico City Series.
Why it matters: The NBA continues to be at the front of extending its brand beyond the U.S. and Canada.

When the Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagicbattle the Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) on Thursday, Dec. 13, and Utah Jazz (@utahjazzon Dec. 15 in Mexico City, this will become the third straight year that NBA (@NBAmatchups will be held in the nation’s capital. In partnership with Zignia Live (@Zignia_Live), an entertainment company that produces shows throughout Mexico, the Association will also hold games there for the next few years.

The Association will broadcast the game via ESPN (@espnand NBA League Pass International.

The Arena Ciudad de México is the ideal setting to enjoy the magic of basketball as a family, and we are sure that the games will be an unforgettable and memorable experience for all.

Why the Magic? Their 25-57 record last year might not inspire confidence, but the ties go a bit deeper. Zignia Live is connected to Amway (@AmwayUS), the company owned by the family of Rich DeVos, owner of the Magic. The team’s CEO Alex Martins told the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday, “…[T]he ongoing ties played a role in the Magic’s decision to play in Mexico City. It certainly helps in relation to the promotion of our ownership’s interests in Amway.”

The extension of the NBA brand into international markets has traditionally been much broader than that of other U.S.-based leagues. The NFL had the World League of American Football (later NFL Europe), baseball has held regular-season games in Mexico and Japan and exhibitions in Cuba, and the NHL has the upcoming Global Series in Sweden (Devils vs. Oilers) and Finland (Jets vs. Panthers) as well as previous preseason games in China.

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“Returning to Mexico City for two regular-season games this season reinforces our commitment to growing basketball in Mexico and Latin America,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. “NBA teams have been playing in Mexico for more than 25 years, and the Bulls, Jazz, and Magic organizations are excited to continue the tradition of bringing the live game experience to our passionate Mexican fans.”

Last year, the NBA played four games in Mexico. Per the league’s count, by 2020 there will have been 32 games south of the border since 1992.

“The Arena Ciudad de México is the ideal setting to enjoy the magic of basketball as a family, and we are sure that the games will be an unforgettable and memorable experience for all,” added Zignia Live Director of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships Ignacio Sáenz. “We thank the NBA, the teams and of course, the fans in Mexico for all their support. We continue making history together!”

What does this mean for marketers? The NBA’s partners are all-in, particularly Nike (@Nike), SAP (@SAP), Gatorade (@Gatorade) and Swiss watchmaker Tissot (@TISSOT), who will be involved with the game as well as associated programs like NBA Cares and Jr. NBA.

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

  • Minor League BaseballMinor League Baseball (MiLB) extended its official partnership with technology and payment service provider FIS Global, as the preferred payment and loyalty technology provider through 2022.
  • For the third time, Taco Bell’s “Steal a Game, Steal a Taco” promotion is officially back for the NBA Finals. When a road team “steals” a win from the local team during finals, fans can get a free Doritos Locos Taco throughout the country. “The NBA Finals and Taco Bell are the perfect matchups, and we can’t wait to once again raise the stakes of an already fierce competition by putting free Doritos Locos Tacos for America on the line,” said Marisa Thalberg, Global Chief Brand Officer, Taco Bell Corp.
  • UFC confirmed its first fight in Russia, to be held on Sept. 15, at the Olimpiyskiy Arena in Moscow for UFC Fight Night Moscow. “Russia is a key part of UFC’s international expansion strategy,” stated David Shaw, Senior Vice President, UFC International, and Content. “The demand from our fans to bring a live event to Russia has been overwhelming, and with the vast potential this market holds for us, we knew this was the perfect time to bring UFC Fight Night to Moscow.” Andre Gromkovski has been appointed as Vice President, UFC Russia.

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  • MiLB, together with Satisfi Labs, has launched bilingual computer assistant bots, both in Spanish and English. The computer system will run through Facebook Messenger and will answer fans’ questions regarding routine details like ticketing, parking, and stadium amenities, as well as more important facts about the teams themselves. The bot is designed to be fluent in both English and Spanish. Some of the teams that are already using this technology are Hillsboro Hops and the Hillsboro Lúpulos.
  • R Λ Z Ξ RRazer signed an official two-year sponsorship deal with Overwatch League squad Los Angeles Valiant, as part of a wider deal with the Immortals global esports organization. “Team Razer is committed to fostering a roster of passionate and truly ambitious esports players,” stated Min-Liang Tan, Razer Co-Founder, and CEO. On average, Hispanics play video games more often than Non-Hispanics (12 hours per week vs. 9 hours for Non-Hispanics), according to a 2014 Think Now Research study.
  • Sports Illustrated TV and Major League Baseball announced a new licensing and original content agreement. Through the arrangement, SI TV will have access to MLB’s library of games, documentaries, and shows, as well as a co-production deal for two original long-form documentaries. The alliance also includes a co-production deal that will partner MLB and SI TV on two original baseball documentaries. 31% of MLB players are Latino, according to ESPN.

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What: James Borrego has been named head coach of the Charlotte Hornets.
Why it matters: The hiring of Borrego may signal a stronger push towards attracting the Latino fan base, which already has numerous superstars of Hispanic heritage to root for.

Last week, the Charlotte Hornets (@hornetsnamed James Borrego its new head coach— a relatively nondescript hire as far as the NBA is concerned, but a meaningful one for aspiring Latino coaches everywhere.

The 40-year-old Albuquerque native joins a small group of Latinos to ever ascend to the NBA head coaching ranks, including Dick Versace, head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1988 to 1990, and Earl Watson, who coached the Phoenix Suns from 2015 to 2017.

Borrego is different from the other two for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that he came from outside the Hornets organization, a first for a Latino head coach.

Borrego’s impact in the Charlotte community, one with a growing population, can also do wonders for the team as it expands its footprint and joins other franchises in better realizing the brand activation value the Latino can have with the bottom line.

Raised by his mother, Lydia, in a single-parent household in New Mexico, Borrego made the move from playing to coaching shortly after college. He’s spent most of his career with the San Antonio Spurs (@spurs), beginning as an assistant video coordinator in 2003 before making his way up to assistant coach, working alongside future Hall of Famer Gregg Popovich. In between stints in San Antonio, Borrego also worked as an assistant coach in New Orleans and Orlando, assuming interim head coaching duties for the Magic after the firing of then-head coach Jacque Vaughn.

Coaching requires patience, both in the day-to-day sense, as well as in the long run when it comes to career opportunities. Not every assistant gets a shot to become the head coach of one of the league’s 30 teams, and that’s without going into the minimal representation Latino coaches have had over the years. Borrego is already making history by stepping into his new seat; he’ll soon have the chance to add to it.

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At regular season’s end, the Latino influence amongst brands in the NBA is continuing to grow, and the number of countries carrying the NBA Playoffs is biggest than ever. While there are currently 11 players who identify as Latino in the NBA (including the Celtics’ Al Horford, the Rockets’ Trevor Ariza and the Cavs’ Jose Calderon who are still alive with their teams in the NBA Conference Finals), the amount of Latino coaches and front office personnel who are Latino is still low. Borrego’s impact in the Charlotte community, one with a growing population, can also do wonders for the team as it expands its footprint and joins other franchises in better realizing the brand activation value the Latino can have with the bottom line.

Of course, success on the court is tantamount to any coach. However, his successful story is one that should be amplified and watched as The Association heads towards the NBA Finals and the Draft.

Cover image: credit Keith Allison

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

  • Call of Duty esportsThe Call of Duty World League inked a deal with TV brand TCL. Now, TCL will be featured in tournament broadcasts, and have branding in original Call of Duty World League programming, and more. According to a 2014 Think Now Research study, Hispanics expressed more interest in watching others play video games compared to Non-Hispanics.
  • The NBA and Intel Capital announced a new technology innovation collaboration by the name of “NBA + Intel Capital Emerging Technology Initiative.” The multiyear deal will foster the identification, formation, and growth of technology companies that have the potential to impact the future of the NBA, sports, and entertainment. “With this new initiative, the NBA and Intel Capital aim to bring extensive human and technology resources into companies we believe will lead the next wave of transformation in sports and entertainment,” said Wendell Brooks, senior vice president of Intel Corporation and president of Intel Capital.

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  • Emirates AirlineEmirates Airline, F1 Global Partner since 2013, renewed and expanded its partnership with Formula 1 until the end of 2022. Emirates will now have an expanded branding and consumer activation presence at over 15 races on the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar spanning Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America, in addition to Emirates being the Title Sponsor of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and for the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim.
  • The NBA, the International Basketball Federation and the Basketball Federation of India announced that Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia 2018 would be held from May 30 to June 2 at The NBA Academy India in Delhi National Capital Region. BWB Asia 2018 brings together the top male and female players ages 17 and under from throughout the Asia-Pacific region to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends, and coaches and to compete against other young players from the region.
  • UFCUFC made a multi-year media rights agreement with The Walt Disney Company’s new Direct-To-Consumer & International segment, that will see exclusive live UFC content run on ESPN+, as well as across a variety of ESPN’s television, social and digital platforms, in English and Spanish, starting January 2019.
  • Williams Racing has launched an official esports team, which will now run competitions for gamers to earn their place on the Williams eSports roster. There are already three drivers signed to the Williams eSports roster: Javier Perez, Jani Vitsaniemi, and Bernardo Perez. As part of its activity in 2018, the team will contest the second season of the Formula 1 eSports Pro Series. On average, Hispanics play video games more often than Non-Hispanics (12 hours per week vs. 9 hours for Non-Hispanics), according to hispanicgamers.com.

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