Is baseball a boring, dying game? Major League Baseball (MLB) has taken social media to a new level to make the game more enjoyable for the fans. Social media is about two things; engagement, and increasing brand awareness. MLB leads professional sports when it comes to reaching fans in new and innovative ways. MLB is using Twitter for fans to “tweet the vote” for your All-Star favorites. Twitter allows sports teams to reach a wider audience while catering to our society’s well-known attention span issues. Teams like the Cleveland Indians have a social media suite for fans. While teams like the San Francisco Giants have free Wi-Fi for the whole stadium. The Giants are the most talked about team on Twitter. An interesting statistic is that 63% of sports fans will browse a sports social media site while they’re at the actual game. Another statistic is that 83% of sports fans will check sports social media sites while watching the game on TV (USA TODAY). Baseball has more down time during the game than any other sport making it the ideal sport for social media. Fans are able to stay engaged during the down time with the help of social media. Social media is changing sports, and MLB baseball teams have adapted to this new change. Social media is making baseball a more exciting and lively game. Baseball is not a dying game because social media is giving it a well-needed hand.
Large dollar figures are thrown about when discussing the collegiate bowl games, and with $17mil going to each of the participants in the BCS National Championship Game it is hard not to. But for many universities participating in a bowl game it is not the financial windfall that it is perceived.
Going to a bowl game is expensive, very expensive. Everyone today is aware of the high expense of travel but can many imagine how to plan travel, hotel lodging and meals for an entire college football team, cheerleading squads, bands and the full ensemble of support staff? During the holiday season no less?
Several years ago the rules changed for how bowl revenue was allocated. In most cases money a school receives from participating in a bowl game is shared amongst its fellow conference institutions. For example, 10 SEC programs qualified to participate in bowl games this bowl season –the total bowl purse will be combined and split across all 12 SEC members. This change in revenue sharing was done primarily to drive parity for the betterment of conferences and college football as a whole.
What many don’t know about bowl game participation and the financial agreement between school and bowl are the ticket allotments each school is responsible for. A significant portion of a schools bowl revenue is derived from its ability to sell the tickets allocated; should a university not sell its entire allotment they must assume that cost which diminishes the money generated from bowl participation.
With allocations that can hover around 10,000 tickets and up with price tags of $40 per ticket those numbers can add up – and those are numbers are for lower tier bowls. The Cotton Bowl in the new Cowboys Stadium has minimum ticket prices at $150 a piece, an expensive proposition for Oklahoma State and Ole Miss should they be left holding the tab for unsold tickets.
Fortunately the NCAA and the bowl committees have acknowledged the rising cost for schools to participate in bowl games and have taken measures to help ensure that bowl experiences are financially beneficial to participating schools. Several steps taken have been to lower the ticket allocations, deferring cost through sponsor involvement and trying to take geography into account when selecting bowl participants.
Outside of the actions mentioned above taken by the bowl committees and the NCAA; participating schools have taken steps, some quite creative, to ensure its bowl experience is beneficial. After all, schools participate by choice and know the responsibilities in doing so.
Southern Methodist University (SMU) is participating in its first bowl game in 25 years – its first bowl game since the NCAA instituted the ‘Death Penalty’ on the football program in the mid ‘80’s. Though spirits are riding high in Dallas over this long awaited bowl game, the likelihood of many being able to make the trip to Honolulu for the Christmas Eve contest is rough at best. Knowing this the SMU ticket office has employed a novel concept to try and sell tickets while providing a kind holiday gesture to those who deserve it most.
SMU knows that its audience wants to buy tickets to the game, but many just can’t make the travel commitment especially that close to Christmas. What they are doing is offering their fan base the opportunity to purchase a $40 ticket to the game that SMU will then donate to U.S. military stationed in Hawaii. A true win-win and a win for those serving our country during the holidays.
Behind the financial reward directly received from bowl game participation is the indirect – and intangible – benefit that playing in a bowl game provides. Playing a bowl provides prestige, notoriety and a national platform for a school to display its athletic program and the educational offerings of each university. Bowl games provide positive impressions that resonate throughout the alumni, fan clubs, student base and local communities that directly affect donations, enrollment and perception of the school holistically.
The hidden value of bowl game participation is in simply being a participant – being an eligible program selected to join the bowl game party and not at home watching on television.
Sponsoring the arts seems like a bit of a contradiction in terms. Not unlike NASCAR or other more traditional entities that have heavy sponsor involvement – many sectors of what would be considered art requires sponsor investment to maintain itself. These sponsors literally keep the lights on.
Sponsoring the arts is a fairly American activity that took root during the 1960’s; it’s not common for corporations in Europe to support the arts similarly to what we see here. Thanks to this activity arts in North America will continue to flourish.
In fairness, the companies aren’t sponsoring these exhibits simply out of kindness of their hearts – there is intrinsic value from these relationships. These sponsorship produce a large number of impressions for the sponsor – and very positive impressions at that!
There is a line in one of this writer’s favorite movies (Almost Famous) – ‘do you think Mick Jagger will still be shaking his thing well into his 60’s?’ Obviously making a joke at the fact that Sir Mick is still doing that very thing. Many often wonder why? Money? Love? Fear maybe?
Regardless of why, many companies are very pleased that entertainers like Elton John and Billy Joel – arguably past their height of popularity – are willing to put themselves back on the road. Reason being, they are still very popular and have a strong following with a loyal segment of the population. This loyalty equates to a great brand positioning opportunity for those looking to turn those fans into customers. It’s just good business!
Ever wanted to be a hero? Who hasn’t at some point wanted to don a cape and utilize super powers to protect the innocent from the forces of evil? You can the St. Jude Heroes program.
It doesn’t require a cape or the ability to fly, but only the desire to assist the Children of St. Jude through participation in 5k’s, marathons or other running activities. Register via the Heroes website (www.stjudeheroes.org) and make any level of financial commitment that will go to St. Jude to assist with finding cures for catastrophic diseases that affect children all over the world.
Millions of people across North America participate in running events each year for the purpose of physical, mental and even spiritual well-being. Take the extra step and assist with the well being of children and their futures.
Much has been written of late about the state of affairs of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and the inability of the franchise to sell enough tickets to avoid TV blackout for the local market.
Some think that it’s a symptom of a mediocre team with no superstar, other say the economy has negatively affected the ability of some to purchase tickets and others think that an expansion franchise in Jacksonville was a mistake from the start. I tend to side with those that fail to see Jacksonville, FL as a market with the ability to support an NFL franchise.
Though Jacksonville is in Florida’s largest city, per the Florida League of Cities, it does not have the business community that Miami and Tampa offer. And when you look at the region of Northern Florida you find a mix of Georgia, Florida State and U of Florida supports. Therefore, despite being the only professional game in town, they have battled a blue collar fan base and had to battle established collegiate entities for share of mind and share of discretionary dollar.
How does it all end? Though it is has turned into one of the worst economy’s in recent memory, the state of California and the city of Los Angeles may come to the rescue. Governor Schwarzenegger ask for and received approval to build a new football stadium in Los Angeles County. www.losangelesfootballstadium.com
Whether there is interest enough from the citizens of Los Angeles may be debated, it cannot be debated that the Los Angeles market has the numbers of citizens and the sizable corporate community that the current home of the Jaguars does not.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, when the Yankees win the world series it is not only good for baseball but also for sponsors and sponsorship marketing. No other franchise in professional sports draws sponsorship involvement from an international community like the pin-stripers.
Hideki Matsui winning the MVP was icing on the Yankees cake when considering the number of Japanese companies that invested sponsorship dollars so their brands would receive visibility in Matsui’s native land. Trust in the fact there aren’t too many in the Five Burroughs that these Japanese companies would see benefit from.
The Yankees are the proverbial case study when it comes to sponsorship, they not only lead the way in sponsorship dollars and sponsorship innovation but they allow the set the bar and the tempo for the sponsorship industry. When the Yankees had to lower their astronomical VIP seat prices in the new stadium this year the shockwaves where felt in properties across the country – large and small. If the Yankees can’t get people to pay their ticket prices, what does that say about us? These conversations happened.
But now with the Yankees back on top and large fees being drawn in from companies and fans across the globe, the sponsorship world turns to the Yankees to drag the industry out of economical slump.
The past year has been a rough road for corporate America – the ‘no kidding’ statement of the month. One item that has drawn a large amount of criticism from media as well as congressional committee’s is the line item of hospitality. Whether it was suites at sporting events, elaborate parties or high end gifts those covering the economy used these activities as evidence of misused corporate dollars. It made for great headlines, but is hospitality nothing more than a boondoggle?
Of course not.
Though there have been many documented cases about the misuse of hospitality elements, the gross majority in the corporate community still use hospitality efficiently. Having an opportunity to spend valuable time with a valuable customer is still an effective tactic for growing business – and this activity does not have to be elaborate and expensive.
The key to good hospitality is perceived value; it is essential that the individual you want to entertain would see the event or activity as something he or she would enjoy and may not be able to do on their own. Whether it be the opportunity to hear a lecture series or experience a pregame walkthrough there are many ways to provide valuable hospitality to a key client without the slightest bit of perceived inappropriate spending.