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The Top News In #Sportsbiz – 09.30.13 – 10.07.13


Top news in the #SportsBiz this week includes SXSW adding a SXsports component to its festival.  Other news includes rising ticket prices in Pittsburgh, multiple brands leveraging digital content in their business strategies, and the NCAA finding itself in a bit of a pinch.  Read on for more!

Sports Media

SXSW Adds SXsports

SXsports by SXSWThe South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) is an event that acts as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers and bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas.  This year, SXSW has added a new component that will appeal to sports fans.

SXsports will put the unique and creative storytelling aspects that make up the world of sports film on display.  The inaugural SXsports will take place Friday afternoon, March 7 through the end of the day on Sunday, March 9. This event will highlight the innovation, creativity, competition and storytelling engrained in sports culture.

The new component will also feature some guest speakers, such as Peter Gruber, Nate Silver and Bill Simmons.  Peter Gruber is currently the Chairman of Mandalay Sports Media, but is also known for his part ownership in the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Nate Silver built the PECOTA statistical system to predict future performance in baseball players, while Bill Simmons is a huge online success because of his sports writing.

Below is some confirmed programming for SXsports, followed by a video you can expect to see at the SXSW Festival.  The deadline for sports films submissions is November 14.

Preliminary Confirmed 2014 SXsports Programming:

You can read more here.

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Sports Ticket Sales

Pittsburgh Rises

PNC ParkThe Pittsburgh Pirates were recently in a 21 year slump.  Of those years, 20 of them were losing seasons.  One other thing that has remained unchanged with the team is their ticket prices, as they remained the same from 2002-2011.

With the Pirates surging into the postseason and ending the 20 year losing drought, season ticket prices will see changes as well.  The average ticket price in an 81-game season ticket package will rise by 6.4 percent, setting the tickets at $18.32.  According to Team Marketing Report, the tickets will still be the fourth lowest in Major League Baseball.

The team has also added a third tier to their pricing model in order to take advantage of the team’s higher-profile home games.  There will be 17 “Gold” games, the highest-priced tier, 12 “Black” games and 52 “White” games.

With the recent upswing of team performance, things are changing in Pittsburgh.  PNC Park even set a record this season with 23 sellouts, surpassing the 19 of the 2001 season.

The Pirates have certainly earned the right to incrementally raise ticket prices.

You can read more here.

Photo credit –

Social Media In Sports

Brands Connecting With Sports Fans Will Likely See Additional Action

IMG CatalystIt’s been known for some time that social media is a great way for brands and sports teams to interact and connect with fans.  Now, a study has come up with some numbers to show that brands engaging with sports fans are more likely to see additional action.

According to the annual Fan Engagement Study conducted by IMG unit Catalyst, about 70 percent of sports fans who “like” or follow brands on social media are willing to take additional action, including purchasing, commenting or sharing brand content.

A lot of this fan traffic is utilizing Facebook to gather sports information, but the study shows that Google+ and YouTube are becoming more popular sources of sports news as well.  The research – gathered by Repucom – found that story-lines or points of view were the strongest draws.  Bret Werner – managing director of Catalyst – explains:

 “Content strategy is a major component for any brand, and this study reinforces that sports fans frequently consume and engage with social content that takes them well beyond the box score.  Avid sports fans are more likely to interact and identify with brands that act like fans.”

The survey consists of 2,100 sports fans and measures the digital media attitudes and usage habits of NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and basketball, and  – for the first time – soccer fans.  In fact, soccer fans were found to be the most engaging on social media.

This study is sure to entice brands to target sports fans on social media, just as long as it’s not during the game.

You can read more here.

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Sports Business

NCAA Continues To Defend Against Athletes

ncaa-football-14-florida-vs-georgiaIn what seems to be a never ending battle, the NCAA is now the sole defendant in a lawsuit with current and former players.  E.A. Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company settled a consolidated suit for $40 million. Current and former players whose likenesses appeared in the video games could potentially get a share – thus a problem remains.

While former and current students insist the NCAA is breaking antitrust law by requiring student-athletes to sign a contract permitting the NCAA to use their images for promotion, the remaining lawsuit parties may be caught in a catch-22.  By signing this contract, collegiate players lose the right to enter into individual licensing agreements.  On the other hand, the NCAA has the ability to profit from the players’ likeness, image, and name.

The problem lies with those players willing to take a cut of the settlement.  If current players were to take a percentage of the payout, the NCAA will be forced to decide whether or not accepting settlement money counts as a violation of amateur status.

If the Association loses the trial, players may also have a right to share the billions of dollars generated annually by the NCAA, including those coming from broadcast.  At the same time, the NCAA claims that payment from outside companies or colleges would ruin the amateur sports model.

The lawsuit appears to be a never ending catch-22.  Sooner or later though, something will have to give and it may change the entire facade of the college sports industry.

You can read more here.

Photo credit – venturebeatm

Sports Sponsorship

Digital Content A Selling Point for NBA Sponsorships

ZTE Partners with Houston RocketsA new trend in the sports marketing world is starting to take shape.  Brands, such as the NBA, are more often leveraging digital content as a selling point in sponsorships.

It’s becoming a common practice for the NBA to utilize social media accounts, including those of players, as part of their practice of selling brand sponsorships.  These deals are using social media platforms to then push product promotion.

The deal between the Houston Rockets and ZTE – a China-based telecom equipment brand – is a prime example of the practice.  The sponsorship encompasses the idea that the ZTE brand would rather focus on the consumer than the competition.  Social media is the ideal way to go about that.  N. Andrew Elliott, a ZTE marketing exec, included:

“This is the company’s first major direct-to-consumer push in the U.S.”

The deal includes the ZTE brand being promoted via the Rockets’ digital ads, social media, email, TV, in-game activations and out-of-home billboards.

ZTE announced the US availability for the Grand S and nubia 5 smartphones last week.  With the Houston area already being a large market for the company, the Rockets deal seemed like a natural fit.

Chandler Parsons, one of Houston’s young stars, will also be part of the promotion.  Parsons will make product posts via his social media pages, thus pushing the brand even further.

Perhaps the NBA is onto something.  You can read more here.

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