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Interview with Retired NFL Player Levar Fisher on Business and Family

Levar Fisher is a retired NFL player for the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints. He now travels the country as a motivational speaker for youth, business, churches, and sports venues. While working with Levar and his wife Jacinta as their copywriter, I have observed how beautifully supportive they are of each other and how…

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Three Keys to Increasing Sponsorship ROI

(This is a guest post by Rana Akkaya) Sports sponsorship and event hospitality is a great platform to build business-impacting relationships through shared out-of-office experiences. Companies need to be confident that the dollars invested in sponsorships are being spent effectively and that every asset received is being maximized. As a result, Sponsorship ROI (Return of…

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Top 5 ‘Back to Business’ Basics

Remember the Rocky III movie in 1982 when Rocky goes back to Apollo Creed’s “old” gym to train for the big fight with Clubber Lang? Of course you do. Apollo takes Rocky back to basics to polish his fighting style and prepare him for the “big” match in which he knocks Clubber out in the third round.

The same thing happens in the NFL. The hours of mindless, but necessary, stretching, drills, and weight training. The team meetings pouring over playbooks. Sports massages and physical therapy. These are the basics that teams and their players positively need to do regularly to prepare for the “big” game. It’s in the crucible of basics that we poise ourselves for victory.

If the fictitious Rocky Balboa, and the NFL, benefit from the basics, then as business owners and entrepreneurs, we absolutely need to do the same.

Here are my top 5 ‘Back to Business’ tips that will take you back to basics and will set the tone for future success:

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Run Your Business Using Referee Signals

They are referred to as zebras but their ‘real’ title is official or referee. They stand right in the middle of the chaos and decide when someone breaks the rules, goes out of bounds, or catches the ball.

Referees all follow the same basic signals which tell us what went wrong or right. As entrepreneurs, we can learn how referee’s signals can help us in our businesses. The various signals let us know when something has gone wrong, when we’re making progress, and when we’ve made a touchdown.

Crowd Noise Signal

Are you spending too much time on non-business related conversations or out on errands when you should be working? Do you spend half your day opening, reading, and responding to emails? Excessive crowd noise in a game creates a virtually impossible situation for the visiting offense to communicate. It may be time to hush the crowd noise in your home office by focusing on tasks at hand first. This same signal can also mean dead ball. When you foolishly waste your most productive time doing non-productive tasks, it can mean a dead ball as far as your time. Quiet crowd noise and focus on your priority list.

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Utilize Social Media to Grow Your Fan Base

When we talk about social media in sports the majority of case studies and best practices come from high profile and established sports teams and we tend to focus on how these teams engage with their fan base through social media. But what if your team doesn’t already have tens of thousands of fans-how can you utilize social media to grow your fan base?

The above question is something I get asked a fair bit and to be honest there’s no set answer – the answer depends upon you, your team and your target fan base.

Whilst I can’t give a set in stone plan that will guarantee your team’s fan base will grow, I can certainly give you some tips that will help.

Starting today, I’ll be publishing a short series of weekly articles about how I feel teams and sports organizations can utilize social media to grow their fan bases.

Know your audience

Listening is a key factor in successful use of social media. Before you jump into social media you need to make sure you know your audience – if you don’t you will end up wasting a lot of time.

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The Ultimate Sports Business Resources

At Sports Networker, we pride ourselves on being one of the leading resources for covering the latest cutting edge topics in sports business, sponsorship, PR, and social media.

However, this post is not about us, but rather other resources that we have personally found to be useful and informational, in hopes of creating a great list of the ultimate sports business resources. We’re bound to have missed a few, so please let us know your favourites if they aren’t on the list!

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Relationships Key to Fund Raising

(This is a guest article by Dan Westervelt)

There are many reasons why golf fund raising events fail, but without this one element being present, the chances of survival are almost nil. It is the reason why sponsors decide to support, golfers decide to play and volunteers decide they want to serve your cause. In a word, it is relationships.

The three main components of the human side of a tournament are golfers, sponsors and volunteers. All three are readily available to you if you have a relationship and it is strong enough to justify their participation. Obviously a close friendship is the best but a consistent trade association between a client and vendor are of about the same weight.

As with any relationship, it must be respected, so approach this solicitation as though you were asking permission to do something beneficial for a family member. While you need to be sure to have all the reasons ‘why’ addressed, spend even more time getting ready for the ‘why not’s?’.

Listen carefully to all the objections you hear. These are really just road maps to where you’d like the conversation to end, that is a “yes, I’ll do it”. These are the hesitations, stalls and questions you must address successfully to get them there. In my view, they are the most important part of the sales conversation as they determine both the tone and content of your reply as well as the overall result.

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Sports Business Weekly Buzz

LeBron Can Make More With Heat Than Cavs

* But if you match up what James’ salary would be for the first five years in Cleveland and the five years in Miami, you find that the Cavaliers are only offering him $4 million more.

Tebow Leading League In Jersey Sales

* It has been three months, and Tim Tebow still hasn’t taken a single (real) snap under center for the Denver Broncos, yet he’s leading the league in jersey sales.

Gillette, Not the Best Ads a Man Can Get
* Cynicism runs amok among our hallowed list this week. And the biggest culprit of that kind of audience distrust is none other than Gillette. The razor maker owns the top spot with last week’s debut video, “Perfect Length,” as well as this week’s No. 5 slot, newcomer “Young Guns,” which drew over 3.7 million views combined.

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Make the New Geek on the Web for You

SeatGeek.com launched in September of 2009 and functions a bit like some of the websites developed for the travel industry, but for your favorite sports teams. Out of the frustration of being a Red Sox fan and always having to pay a premium for tickets, Russ & Jack Groetzinger came up with SeatGeek.com to rid them and other fans of that “I’ve been ripped off feeling.”

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Referrals and the Power of Structured Networking Groups

Ask any entrepreneur, sales representative or professional and they will tell you that the best source of business is referrals. These little nuggets of business gold are far more reliable and far less expensive than any other source of business. Ask these same business people and they will also tell you that finding a reliable source of referrals, however, can be one of the biggest obstacles to growing a successful enterprise – probably second only to finding good help. This is not to say that referrals never occur. They do. But they do not always occur with the consistency upon which one can rely. The initial problem for today’s businessperson is that our society tends to be more transient. Our grandparents lived in a world where everyone was intimately tied to the same few city blocks for literally generations. People watched the young child grow, marry, become a parent, and then a grandparent all in the same neighborhood. Today, we can live in a house for years and have neighbors we will never meet.

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Resources for Athletes

Pro athletes always seem to have an abundance of resources at their disposal; whether they need to make a cross country move, assess their personality and skill level, get their financial picture in order, or simply find a post-sports career job or business. A multitude of businesses clamor for the athletes’ attention but which ones can they trust? I found two businesses that really put their heart and soul into helping pro athletes manage their career and life.

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The Off-Season Businesses of Pro Football Players

Just because a pro player has on-field success does not mean he’ll have automatic off-field business success. He often struggles with identity crisis issues when his name and face doesn’t bring immediate recognition. The NFLPA works hard to provide players and retired players with the tools and resources to be successful during post-football life. The…

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