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).