28 Jan

10 To Watch : 12819

  1. Georgia-based companies are surprisingly absent from Super Bowl marketing. Many of Georgia’s “big corporate citizens helped the city” prepare to host Super Bowl LIII, but they “aren’t the NFL’s Super Bowl sponsors,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Chick-fil-A, UPS, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Holiday Inn parent IHG, and Serta Simmons “won’t be in the Super Bowl,” and Coca-Cola is temporarily on the sideline. PepsiCo, an NFL sponsor since 2002, for the first time will “serve its namesake cola in the stadium where Coke normally holds licensing rights.” Pepsi has “unleashed a blue wave” in Atlanta, and there are “plans to cover logos on Coke’s coolers and fountain machines” at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the game. Pepsi has also placed a “multi-story sign across from the World of Coca-Cola,” and a local ad states, “Pepsi in Atlanta. How refreshing.” The Atlanta Business Journal also noted one of the “more interesting conflicts” is between Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, the “official car sponsor of the NFL.” The game will be held in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but the NFL is “using an image where it’s impossible to see the gigantic Mercedes-Benz logo that adorns several sides” of the venue. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, “is able to leverage its Super Bowl marketing and branding ties" because the NFL doesn’t have an airline sponsor
  2. Vegas Stats & Information Network is predicting that more than $300 million will be wagered within eight states when the Patriots and Rams collide. “The handle, or amount wagered on the Big Game, has grown pretty steadily over the past decade, breaking records in Nevada for each of the past three years,” said VSiN CEO, Brian Musburger. “Between that momentum and the addition of seven new states taking regulated bets, we’re expecting the amount wagered this year to dwarf everything we’ve seen in the past.” However, as noted by Forbes, the $300 million estimate is only a small fraction of the money that will be wagered on Super Bowl LIII worldwide. According to the American Gaming Association, last year 97% of all sports betting in American was done illegally. Approximately $4.7 billion was bet on Super Bowl LII last year – an estimated $4.6 billion of that illegally
  3. Together, the NFL and United Way inspire change, in Atlanta and beyond. The longest-running collaboration between a major sports league and a nonprofit represents a powerful vehicle for change in communities. The Character Playbook, powered by EVERFI, teaches middle school students how to build healthy relationships and make good decisions. And the Hometown Huddle creates more opportunities for young people to get active and healthy, through league-wide Days of Service and special events at the Super Bowl and other NFL showcases. The NFL has also announced the launch of the Inspire Change platform, designed to showcase “the collaborative efforts of players, owners and the league to create positive change in communities across the country,” with a focus on education and economic advancement, police and community relations as well as criminal justice reform. As part of the league’s ongoing commitment to social justice, the joint NFL players-owners working group recently approved two new social justice grants focused on the three priority areas, issued to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Operation HOPE.
  4. To celebrate its first year as the official pizza of the Super Bowl, Pizza Hut is temporarily changing its name. Meet Pizza Hut Hut. The NFL named the chain its official pizza last February, but this is Pizza Hut’s first run as Super Bowl’s signature slice. Pizza Hut’s website already reflects the change, and USA Today reports an Atlanta location will temporarily rebrand itself with a new sign. The company will also debut two new Super Bowl ads featuring its Abraham Lincoln character already seen in commercials for Pizza Hut’s $5 deal menu. Pizza Hut will offer a game day special of $7.99 for a two-topping pie, and Super Bowl viewers in select states can order beer with their pizza from select restaurants. To that end, A-B InBev has “tacked on another 15 seconds to its Super Bowl ad buy, bringing the brewer’s total time to five-minutes, 45 seconds, across eight ads,” according to AdAge. The brewer also “plans to run eight more brand plugs during the game, totaling five seconds each.” A-B InBev has “not approached this level of saturation” since 2010, when “nine ads spanned five minutes, 30 seconds.”
  5. The Super Bowl isn’t ready for medical marijuana. Acreage Holdings, the multi-state cannabis company backed by former Speaker of the House John Boehner, says CBS rejected an ad that calls for the legalization of medical marijuana. While medical pot is now legal in more than 30 states, the federal prohibition on cannabis has restricted research and made it difficult for some potential patients to get their hands on a drug that proponents say helps treat seizures, pain and other ailments. The ad aimed to “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue,” Acreage President George Allen said. Acreage, one of the most valuable U.S. weed companies with a market value of more than $2.4 billion, had hoped to raise its profile and push for increased access to medical marijuana. Acreage created the ad thinking it had a legitimate chance of getting onto the air. The company said it was careful to position the spot as a “call to political action” rather than a pitch for its brand, which now has cannabis operations in roughly 15 states and Canada. The NFL hasn’t accept marijuana, either, but the league is actively studying medical benefits of the drug and may change its stance in the near future.
  6. Colleges for the first time “will be allowed to use a U.S. Olympic team logo to promote their Olympic sports under a groundbreaking deal” between the NCAA and the USOC. Historically, according to SportsBusiness Journal, the USOC has “resisted sharing its marks with colleges and universities without being paid, because selling the rings is the committee’s primary source of funding along with media rights.” The marketing arrangement is the “first major result of the USOC and NCAA’s attempts to work together.” The USOC "now sees the persistent cuts in low-revenue-generating Olympic sports programs on college campuses as a significant strategic concern.” Interested schools “will be able to opt into a free agreement that would allow use of a template with the USOC’s ‘flag and rings’ logo on the right and the school’s mark on the left, with the words ‘Olympians Made Here’ in the middle.” The USOC “will offer the rights to any school that has ever had a current student or alumnus make the U.S. Olympic or Paralympic teams.” No schools have officially committed, but Duke is said to be interested
  7. Chattanooga FC offering supporters chance to buy equity stake in club. Chattanooga Football Club has announced a limited offering of 8,000 shares, close to a $2.95 million valuation, that gives supporters of the local soccer team the opportunity to own a piece of the club. According to JohnWallStreet, the capital raised will fund the organization’s transition from amateur to professional players and to turn Chattanooga FC into to a year-round operation in preparation of fully joining the NPSL for the 2020 season. The club becomes the first American pro sports team to take advantage of reformed securities laws that now permit non-accredited investors to invest in corporations via online crowdfunding platforms. Most of America, on both the investor and the corporate side, had been frozen out of having access to that sort of capital”, which explains why the American sports landscape has been dominated by such a small group of wealthy owners. While crowdfunding gives average fans the chance to invest in pro sports, don’t expect your favorite NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL franchise to raise money in that manner. The cheapest franchise of the Big Four is the NHL Phoenix Coyotes, currently valued at $290 million.
  8. The Pats are headed to the Super Bowl and accompanying them is a charity raffle for two tickets. The New England Patriots Foundation opened an online charity raffle for a deluxe trip to sold-out Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on February 3. In addition to two tickets to the big game, the raffle winner and their guest will receive two passes to a pre-game tailgate party and entrance to a private after party attended by Patriots players and members of the Kraft family. According to The Boston Herald, this is the third consecutive year that the charity has held the contest. Last year, the Patriots Foundation raised more than $300,000 through a series of playoff ticket raffles. The team’s nonprofit used that money to build two playgrounds in Fall River and Central Rhode Island. This year’s winner will be announced on January 30 and while offering a once in a lifetime Super Bowl experience, the Patriots have found a way to give back to youth in the greater New England community.
  9. Verizon will air a Super Bowl advertisement with a first responder theme. According to Fortune, the ad features 11 NFL players and one coach whose lives were saved by first responders. The announcement comes after Verizon received criticism for slowing mobile data connections and limiting service of Santa Clara County firefighters while they battled California’s Mendocino Complex wildfire in August. After apologizing, Verizon said it would no longer impose data caps on first responders and will contribute up to $1.5 million to First Responders Outreach, a nonprofit that provides grants for emergency relief, training, and equipment to the industry. The way that the donation will be delivered is in $1 increments every time a person posts to Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #AllOurThanks January 18-February 3, echoing a similar tactic to provide hurricane relief as part of T-Mobile’s #HR4HR campaign during the past MLB postseason. This ad hopefully will help clear Verizon’s name while providing others in future disasters with help.
  10. The Souper Bowl of Caring feeds hundreds of thousands during the week around the big game. According to superbowl.org, young people with the non-profit have been leading the charge and inspiring others to collect money and food in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl since 1990. By teaming up with local partners, these groups give 100% of donations to local charities and make the largest weekend of football into a weekend of philanthropy. As of January 24, the organization had 542 groups participating with over $3 million in cash and food items donated to date for the year. Since its inception, all participating groups have raised more than $143 million in cash and food donations. In 2008 alone, more than 14,000 groups collected over $10 million to tackle hunger and homelessness. The Souper Bowl of Giving has secured partnerships with nine different NFL teams and is always looking for more young volunteers to help give back to their communities.

28 Jan

15+5+5 To Watch : 12819

  1. The Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee has announced final details around Super Bowl LIVE presented by Verizon. Musical acts set to play the free concert series include country music star Craig Campbell; Atlanta-borne indie rock and pop group Hero The Band; psychedelic rock band Hearty Har, which consists of John Fogerty’s sons, Tyler and Shane; and more. Atlanta native and world-renowned singer Monica will headline the final night of Super Bowl LIVE. As the presenting sponsor to Super Bowl LIVE, Verizon will engage with fans through multiple activations, including the stage side Verizon Up Members Lounge and the Verizon Experience. iHeartMedia Atlanta will also bring to life the iHeartRadio BoomBox Stage Sponsored by Orangetheory Fitness. And as part of the larger NFL Experience, fans can also check out the Best Buy TechZone, the Bridgestone Experience, and specific activations delivered by Turkish Airlines, the American Cancer Society, Bud Light, Pepsi, Aaron’s, The Legend Group, Hyundai, Frito-Lay, and Ford. Last year in Minneapolis, final tallies for the 10-day Super Bowl LIVE festival exceeded 1,055,000 attendees, and Super Bowl LIII organizers anticipate breaking that number in Atlanta.
  2.  StubHub has pioneered a new experience for Super Bowl ticket buyers to virtually experience their seat row in immersive 3D on their iPhone before buying. The StubHub app allows potential Super Bowl goers to get an up-close look at a 3D model of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to better plan their Super Bowl experience, and purchase tickets directly from the 3D seat view – an industry first. What’s more, fans who buy their tickets through StubHub will enjoy exclusive access to the StubHub ATL Tailgate – an “epic pregame for the year’s biggest game” – featuring Meet and Greets with such NFL legends as Dan Fouts, Ryan Shazier, and Emmanuel Sanders; and pass and catch time with former NFL quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Kordell Stewart. StubHub is also a gateway for fans to find the best of Atlanta all weekend long, including Shaq’s Fun House and the Super Bowl Music Festival. Secondary ticket prices have been trending down since the Super Bowl matchup was set, according to data from SeatGeek. Data from StubHub rival Ticketmaster shows the average price of Super Bowl tickets purchased on the secondary market is $6,477 as of Friday, a $300 decrease since Wednesday morning. The median listing price is down 22%, with the cheapest ticket at $3,200 as of Thursday. 
  3. Georgia-based companies are surprisingly absent from Super Bowl marketing. Many of Georgia’s “big corporate citizens helped the city” prepare to host Super Bowl LIII, but they “aren’t the NFL’s Super Bowl sponsors,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Chick-fil-A, UPS, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Holiday Inn parent IHG, and Serta Simmons “won’t be in the Super Bowl,” and Coca-Cola is temporarily on the sideline. PepsiCo, an NFL sponsor since 2002, for the first time will “serve its namesake cola in the stadium where Coke normally holds licensing rights.” Pepsi has “unleashed a blue wave” in Atlanta, and there are “plans to cover logos on Coke’s coolers and fountain machines” at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the game. Pepsi has also placed a “multi-story sign across from the World of Coca-Cola,” and a local ad states, “Pepsi in Atlanta. How refreshing.” The Atlanta Business Journal also noted one of the “more interesting conflicts” is between Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, the “official car sponsor of the NFL.” The game will be held in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but the NFL is “using an image where it’s impossible to see the gigantic Mercedes-Benz logo that adorns several sides” of the venue. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, “is able to leverage its Super Bowl marketing and branding ties" because the NFL doesn’t have an airline sponsor.
  4. Vegas Stats & Information Network is predicting that more than $300 million will be wagered within eight states when the Patriots and Rams collide. “The handle, or amount wagered on the Big Game, has grown pretty steadily over the past decade, breaking records in Nevada for each of the past three years,” said VSiN CEO, Brian Musburger. “Between that momentum and the addition of seven new states taking regulated bets, we’re expecting the amount wagered this year to dwarf everything we’ve seen in the past.” However, as noted by Forbes, the $300 million estimate is only a small fraction of the money that will be wagered on Super Bowl LIII worldwide. According to the American Gaming Association, last year 97% of all sports betting in American was done illegally. Approximately $4.7 billion was bet on Super Bowl LII last year – an estimated $4.6 billion of that illegally.
  5. The Atlanta Falcons reiterate that food prices will remain low for Super Bowl. Some numbers you don’t have to bet on at Super Bowl LIII – low prices for Mercedes-Benz Stadium concessions. According to ESPN, the Falcons have reiterated that Mercedes-Benz Stadium will “have its ‘Fan First Menu Pricing’“ in place at Super Bowl LIII. Compared to concession prices for last year’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, a "hot dog is $4 less expensive,” while "beer is $1.10 less per 20 ounces.” Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay said that “increasing the prices based on the magnitude of the Super Bowl was never an option.” One concession stand that will be closed on February 3: Chick-fil-A. The Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich will honor its Christian roots, Super Bowl or no.
  6. Together, the NFL and United Way inspire change, in Atlanta and beyond. The longest-running collaboration between a major sports league and a nonprofit represents a powerful vehicle for change in communities. The Character Playbook, powered by EVERFI, teaches middle school students how to build healthy relationships and make good decisions. And the Hometown Huddle creates more opportunities for young people to get active and healthy, through league-wide Days of Service and special events at the Super Bowl and other NFL showcases. The NFL has also announced the launch of the Inspire Change platform, designed to showcase “the collaborative efforts of players, owners and the league to create positive change in communities across the country,” with a focus on education and economic advancement, police and community relations as well as criminal justice reform. As part of the league’s ongoing commitment to social justice, the joint NFL players-owners working group recently approved two new social justice grants focused on the three priority areas, issued to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Operation HOPE.
  7. To celebrate its first year as the official pizza of the Super Bowl, Pizza Hut is temporarily changing its name. Meet Pizza Hut Hut. The NFL named the chain its official pizza last February, but this is Pizza Hut’s first run as Super Bowl’s signature slice. Pizza Hut’s website already reflects the change, and USA Today reports an Atlanta location will temporarily rebrand itself with a new sign. The company will also debut two new Super Bowl ads featuring its Abraham Lincoln character already seen in commercials for Pizza Hut’s $5 deal menu. Pizza Hut will offer a game day special of $7.99 for a two-topping pie, and Super Bowl viewers in select states can order beer with their pizza from select restaurants. To that end, A-B InBev has “tacked on another 15 seconds to its Super Bowl ad buy, bringing the brewer’s total time to five-minutes, 45 seconds, across eight ads,” according to AdAge. The brewer also “plans to run eight more brand plugs during the game, totaling five seconds each.” A-B InBev has “not approached this level of saturation” since 2010, when “nine ads spanned five minutes, 30 seconds." 
  8. Ads for Mister and Missus. Variety reported Planters will place Mr. Peanut in a 30-second "ad slated to appear in the second quarter” of Super Bowl LIII, the first time the character has made it to a Super Bowl ad in a decade. Viewers will see Mr. Peanut “riding a ‘nut mobile’ and play up the benefits of eating nuts.“ On the Missus side, P&G’s Olay brand will also "make a surprise appearance in the Super Bowl – a relatively rare entry from a women’s beauty brand – with a 30-second spot” from Saatchi & Saatchi, London, in the first quarter of the game. The spot is a “first for Olay, and the first beauty brand in the game since the small ‘It’s a 10’ salon haircare brand aired an ad” in 2017. The last women’s beauty brand to “air an ad in the Super Bowl before that was Unilever’s Dove” in 2006. With the Olay spot, Sarah Jessica Parker appearing in a Stella Artois ad, and Kristin Chenoweth starring in an Avocados From Mexico spot, Madison Avenue is taking a page from the Hollywood playbook and featuring more female talent in the #MeToo era.
  9. The Super Bowl isn’t ready for medical marijuana. Acreage Holdings, the multi-state cannabis company backed by former Speaker of the House John Boehner, says CBS rejected an ad that calls for the legalization of medical marijuana. While medical pot is now legal in more than 30 states, the federal prohibition on cannabis has restricted research and made it difficult for some potential patients to get their hands on a drug that proponents say helps treat seizures, pain and other ailments. The ad aimed to “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue,” Acreage President George Allen said. Acreage, one of the most valuable U.S. weed companies with a market value of more than $2.4 billion, had hoped to raise its profile and push for increased access to medical marijuana. Acreage created the ad thinking it had a legitimate chance of getting onto the air. The company said it was careful to position the spot as a “call to political action” rather than a pitch for its brand, which now has cannabis operations in roughly 15 states and Canada. The NFL hasn’t accept marijuana, either, but the league is actively studying medical benefits of the drug and may change its stance in the near future.
  10. Saks Fifth Avenue has “one of its most successful men’s stores” in Atlanta, and in the lead-up to Super Bowl LIII it is “hoping to capitalize on the buzz by teaming with 26 brands to create more than 70 exclusive items for the game,” according to Women’s Wear Daily. Participating brands “include Off-White, Versace, Valentino, Dior, Balmain, Fear of God, Hugo Boss, Palm Angels, Kappa Isaia, Canada Goose and others.” The products “range from ready-to-wear and sneakers to accessories and were designed to celebrate the game.” For the two weeks leading up to the game, the Atlanta store is dedicating its windows to the Super Bowl. One will “display the inside of a locker room and the other will display a replica of a football field; both will feature the exclusive men’s items.” The high-end marketing certainly makes sense. Saks could make a killing off the hundreds of fashion-minded active and former NFL players in town for the game, let alone sartorially-savvy fans.
  11. Lowe’s will sponsor the NFL, filling the league’s Home Improvement category. The NFL has unveiled its newest corporate sponsorship – a multiyear pact with Lowe’s, making it the league’s official home improvement retail sponsor. Plans are for Lowe’s to support NFL marketing platforms year-round, including the NFL Combine, Draft, Kickoff, and Salute to Service. Beginning next season, Lowe’s will be presenting sponsor of the Super Bowl Experience fan fest. Lowe’s will also have some NFL pass-through rights for its suppliers, and the deal should provide a distribution channel for NFL licensees. Lowe’s already sells NFL-logoed coolers, key blanks, and lanyards. The NFL has been pursuing a home improvement sponsor for several years. Home Depot was an NFL corporate sponsor 12 years ago, but is now synonymous with ESPN’s “College Game Day.” Lowe’s launching the sponsorship right before Super Bowl LIII, on Home Depot’s home turf, is definitely a shot across the bow.

Elsewhere in Sports

  1. The NHL wraps another successful All Star break in San Jose. Meanwhile, the league and its players’ association have abandoned plans for the next World Cup of Hockey in September, 2020. The decision came as part of initial labor talks between the NHL and NHLPA, with their current collective bargaining agreement – signed in 2013 – set to expire in 2022. However, both the league and its players’ union have the choice to opt out of that deal this coming September, which would then see the current agreement terminate in September, 2020. Both parties, from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on down, seem eager to avoid a potential work stoppage like those that wiped out the entire 2004-2005 season and lasted more than three months in 2012-2013. While International tournaments like the World Cup of Hockey are generally well-attended by NHL players, last year the NHL did not send players to the Winter Olympics for the first time in two decades. Future Olympic participation is expected to be on the table during the next CBA negotiations, but all was peaceful in San Jose.
  2. The NBA’s annual trip to Europe appears set for 2020 after Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed the league was looking at taking the game to Paris. London’s O2 Arena has hosted at least one regular season game eight times in the last nine years and has been the flagship location for the NBA’s competitive efforts abroad. Now, it looks as if London’s time playing host to the NBA Global Games could be up, with Silver stating his intention to host the 2020 edition in Paris at the AccorHotels Arena. Silver said, “France has historically been a terrific market for the NBA…I know when we’ve played many exhibition games in Paris over the years – I remember being there with Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and the tremendous excitement around that team. It will continue, I think, to be an important market.” While Silver would not completely rule out hosting games in both London and Paris, he said it was unlikely the NBA would take two regular season games to Europe.
  3. Colleges for the first time “will be allowed to use a U.S. Olympic team logo to promote their Olympic sports under a groundbreaking deal” between the NCAA and the USOC. Historically, according to SportsBusiness Journal, the USOC has “resisted sharing its marks with colleges and universities without being paid, because selling the rings is the committee’s primary source of funding along with media rights.” The marketing arrangement is the “first major result of the USOC and NCAA’s attempts to work together.” The USOC "now sees the persistent cuts in low-revenue-generating Olympic sports programs on college campuses as a significant strategic concern.” Interested schools “will be able to opt into a free agreement that would allow use of a template with the USOC’s ‘flag and rings’ logo on the right and the school’s mark on the left, with the words ‘Olympians Made Here’ in the middle.” The USOC “will offer the rights to any school that has ever had a current student or alumnus make the U.S. Olympic or Paralympic teams.” No schools have officially committed, but Duke is said to be interested.
  4.  Chattanooga FC offering supporters chance to buy equity stake in club. Chattanooga Football Club has announced a limited offering of 8,000 shares, close to a $2.95 million valuation, that gives supporters of the local soccer team the opportunity to own a piece of the club. According to JohnWallStreet, the capital raised will fund the organization’s transition from amateur to professional players and to turn Chattanooga FC into to a year-round operation in preparation of fully joining the NPSL for the 2020 season. The club becomes the first American pro sports team to take advantage of reformed securities laws that now permit non-accredited investors to invest in corporations via online crowdfunding platforms. Most of America, on both the investor and the corporate side, had been frozen out of having access to that sort of capital”, which explains why the American sports landscape has been dominated by such a small group of wealthy owners. While crowdfunding gives average fans the chance to invest in pro sports, don’t expect your favorite NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL franchise to raise money in that manner. The cheapest franchise of the Big Four is the NHL Phoenix Coyotes, currently valued at $290 million.