13 Feb

Monumental Keeps Spanning The Globe For Business Wins…

by Tanner Simkins

One of the goals Ted Leonsis has with Monumental Sports and Entertainment is to make sure that all of the properties that make up the company…from the Wizards, Mystics and Go -Go to esports and their OTT network, reflects an audience and a city that is truly global in nature both on field and off.

And while the business team can’t really control the ethnic makeup of their teams, they can look around the world for new business partners that can help broaden the scope of the audience while also introduce new organizations to the North American Sports landscape. While this has been a bit challenging in past years, it became a little easier when the NBA opened up the global marketplace for teams for sponsorship sales last year, and Monumental has been a disruptive first adopter in scoring partnerships.

This past week two such deals; one with the UAE Embassy surrounding their expansive gaming portfolio (which includes the first moving Caps Gaming business and the first puck in the coming NBA2K Draft with Wizards District Gaming), the other was their first ever deal with an Indian Company, Mahindra, he world’s number one selling tractor brand based on volume and maker of cars and trucks since 1945

For those with business ties scoring at home, that gives Monumental partnerships with companies now based in China (Alibaba and ORG) the Middle East ( Etihad Airways and the UAE Embassy)  Japan (NEC) and India, a multimillion dollar portfolio that complements the traditional regional and national deals that such elite properties demand.  

The partnership with Mahindra, which has had roots in and around Detroit for close to 30 years but is still an India focused business, is even a little more unique as it ties directly to MSE’s work in the community with the Capitals’ Military Appreciation Night, a key demo that Mahindra looks to engage with. “Like the Wizards and Capitals, Mahindra shares a strong commitment to serving the community, including honoring those who serve in the military and as first responders, through a variety of impactful programs,”  Jim Van Stone, MSE’s President of Business Operations and Chief Commercial Officer said in a statement.

It is no secret that teams need to find new revenue streams to not just offset costs and keep prices for consumers affordable, but to grow business. There is the growing specter of sports gambling (which Monumental is also at the forefront of) as well as new categories in health and wellness (like CBD) coming into focus, but the global market remains the most ripe for organizations that are set up geographically to best take advantage of opportunities. While we have seen some teams do one off deals…sometimes tied to popular players (Yao Ming in Houston, Ichiro in places like Seattle), the best deals will be set up well beyond the viability window of one player. Sure, teams need to strike fast when opportunities arise, but playing a little longer game and developing smart strategic offerings for a myriad of brands who want in on the North American sports business landscape is a greater play, and when you can offer programs that touch in almost every sector…NBA, NHL, WNBA, gaming and the arena business…you are set to win and keep growing.

Are there learning curves and differences in culture and ROI that need to be understood? Sure. But the benefits seem to keep growing and outweigh the risk for new business, and Monumental seems to be not just leading the charge, but scoring the wins.

In a growing global sports environment, you want to be both disruptive and progressive in addition to being creative, and by spanning the globe that’s what Monumental Sports and Entertainment is doing. All you gave to do is check out the roster, and you will see the results (on the business side).

11 Feb

As MLS at 25 Starts, Signs That Soccer’s Coolness Is Becoming Hotter By: Tanner Simkins From…

As MLS at 25 Starts, Signs That Soccer’s Coolness Is Becoming Hotter

By: Tanner Simkins

From the highest levels to the grassroots, it is shaping up to be an interesting year for soccer in North America.

We have MLS expansion, and the addition of new business partners as the league hits 25 years old, the NWSL continues its resurgence fueled by investment of brands like Anheuser Busch, US Soccer continues to push its revamped lineup amidst calls for change, and you have any wide number of global soccer clubs, as many as 30, who now have put down roots in the North American marketplace looking to mine the fertile fields of interest in both corporate and consumer businesses as spring starts to set in.

Then you also have the grassroots, which still sees numbers rising in play for both boys and girls, as well as deeper investment in other soccer related businesses, one of which is Philadelphia Union co-owner Richie Graham’s $50 million startup “For Soccer Ventures,” which made its own noise this week in an area ripe for growth, soccer as a lifestyle platform.

The company announced its first three purchases: FootyCon, a soon to launch consumer facing convention series celebrating soccer and culture for the American soccer community, The Association the first and only soccer league in the United States driven by taste-making brands, creative individuals, and social media influencers with companies like SpaceX, Beats by Dre, Red Bull, Guess?, Complex, and others involved, and Kicks to the Pitch one of the premiere online and social sources pushing the conversation of the connection of soccer with sneakers, art, music and fashion.

What all three are NOT; is the traditional soccer business. What they are, are a signal that “soccer as cool” is ready to ride a wave of change where culture expands beyond the game like you see in the rest of the world.

“These acquisitions represent For Soccer Venture’s ambition to prop up the best-in-class operators that are advancing the sport of soccer in America,” Graham said in a release Tuesday. “As part of The Soccer Collective platform, these properties will serve to connect brands to the American soccer community through sneaker culture, music, fashion, and more. We are committed to not only investing in the American soccer community, but also growing it. For Soccer Ventures believes that these businesses uniquely celebrate soccer fandom in the U.S., and are positioned to draw new fans and brands alike to the sport.”

Now where this goes is still open for speculation. MLS has grown beyond just viability into a vital piece of the sports business fabric in the United States; it is no longer an afterthought in the minds of marketers, and the grassroots of soccer has long been coveted as the area where clubs from around the world can build fans for life. Graham’s venture is seeking to straddle all those areas and become the clearing house for hip and cool and the beautiful game. What they have; dollars tied to good ideas that connects casual fans is really the sweet spot. Now they need to turn those sweet opts into businesses, and that will be the challenge.

Hip and cool they have, let’s see where the next step goes.