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The NFL’s Digital Gameplan

The NFL’s Digital Gameplan | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
Football is America's most popular sport, and the NFL is becoming a powerful digital publisher in its own right.

 

The National Football League is many things. It is the most popular sport in America. It is a $9.5 billion business annually. And it is modern media business in its own right, boasting a strong and growing digital presence.

 

There’s all sorts of NFL-related content — news, stats, analysis, videos — that sit on the site. The site gets about 18 million uniques per month on average during the season, and video is the NFL’s biggest driver of growth. During last season, the site averaged 6.3 million unique viewers per month who watched 77.4 million videos per month, with about 30.8 million video ads viewed per month on average, according to ComScore. During its peak month, in October, the NFL served more video ads than ABC.

 

“I liken us to a startup: the spirit and culture like the Valley,” said Tom Brady, director of programming and production for NFL Digital Media, not the New England Patriots quarterback. “The difference being rather than being worried about VC funding or the doors being locked, we have 32 very rich uncles.”

 

That can be a blessing and a curse. Big initiatives can bog down. When it wants to build something — say, for example its Game Rewind product, which provides game replays after they’ve aired on broadcast TV — the digital media group needs to go through the CEO of the NFL Network and then work its way up to the commissioner of the league. For large initiatives, it needs to go through the owners.

 

There’s also the issue that, in the context of the NFL’s $9.5 billion business, digital is still a quite small part of it. The main driver of the action is still the league’s broadcast TV deals — and its big sponsorship programs on the NFL Network.

 

“The issue they’ll always have, if you’re not a main NFL sponsor — a big package sponsor with them — how do they keep the dot-com property, how to entice advertisers who might be out-shouted with a bigger presence throughout the NFL,” said Mike Racic, evp and managing partner at Universal McCann. “Do I want to see smaller advertisers doing something under the radar on NFL.com that competes against me?”

 

That means the digital cart can’t come before the broadcast horse. It’s a reality that Josh Cella, director of digital media sales for NFL Media, readily admits.

 

“We are a media operation, so we’re talking to all advertisers, but we want to hold our corporate sponsors on a pedestal,” Cella said. “They know about our platforms before they hit the marketplace, and we try to do the best job possible for all our advertisers.”

 

The NFL was a late bloomer in digital. It stuck with basic banner buys for many years until it embraced digital fully — and online video in particular — over the three years.

 

“The last couple of years, they made more of a conscious effort to have bigger programs, to work with advertisers to attach what you’re doing with them from an offline perspective, with multiple touch-points, to something that’s digitally focused,” Racic said.

 

The company has 12 salespeople, eight dedicated to digital. Cella says the group sells out its video consistently, although anyone visiting NFL.com will see many house ads. Cella said the team aims for big-ticket CPMs that are normally reserved for the likes of Hulu and ESPN. It also crafts custom sponsorships, such as working KFC branding throughout its breaking-news section.

 

“Since we’re only under a decade old, versus other media conglomerates, we have the ability to be more nimble and resourceful in the way we monetize our product and drive traffic and ratings and engagement of our product,” Brady said. “The result is hopefully the fans are happy and don’t feel like they’re getting sold a lie. The north star we always try to remember is, what sets us apart is the authenticity we are as a league.”

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How Nike uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

How Nike uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
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gillkelley's curator insight, March 29, 2013 4:46 AM

One of my favourite brands!

Alex Meek's curator insight, July 1, 2013 4:00 PM

This article hits on topics covered in my past that I have become more aware about. Advertising is always more successful the more platforms it reaches out to. Nike, being one of the biggest names today, takes advantage of all mediums and social platforms in the media. Social networks alone are taking over the journalism world and we need to be familiar with them. Advertising is one of the many things that can be done though the media and these platforms. 

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Nonprofit or for-profit? Embattled sportsmen's group's tax status murky - #NoPenokeeMine #WisDNR #Ojibwe #TreatyRights

Nonprofit or for-profit? Embattled sportsmen's group's tax status murky - #NoPenokeeMine #WisDNR #Ojibwe #TreatyRights | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
An affiliate of the sportsmen’s group that won then was stripped of a $500,000 state grant has no record of having filed a state tax return, a Journal Sentinel review has found.

Via Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson
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Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson's curator insight, September 10, 2013 1:35 PM

Beautiful photos of our sacred lands, and water of Wisconsin, yet the republicans want to blast a HUGE HOLE into our Mother Earth in the Penokee Hills set to destroy and poison the lands, and water with that said, "...An affiliate of an embattled sportsmen's group that had sought a controversial $500,000 state grant has represented itself as both a nonprofit and a for-profit group, and in spite of its substantial revenue it has no record of having filed a state tax return, a Journal Sentinel review has found...." #NoPenokeeMine #WisDNR #Ojibwe #TreatyRights

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MLB Pushing Social Media with it's 140 Club | The Academy of Sport ...

MLB Pushing Social Media with it's 140 Club | The Academy of Sport ... | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
One of the big 3 sport corporations has finally done something in the social media world worth noticing. And to tell you the truth, I'm happy its MLB! Just this ...

Via Jay Shaw
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Adidas to maximise real-time marketing opportunities

Adidas to maximise real-time marketing opportunities | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

Adidas UK is looking to bring more immediacy to its online conversations with fans after assembling a team of creatives dedicated to responding quickly to news events.

 

The sports brand’s ‘moments of celebration and acknowledgment’ strategy aims to accelerate its shift to real-time marketing by having social media teams in place to react within minutes of key sporting moments.


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Samantha Charette's curator insight, October 15, 2014 12:26 AM

Adidas is looking to take insights form its London 2012 Games sponsorship to react quicker on social media and accelerate its shift to real-time marketing. Adidas wants all decisions to be made in ‘real-time’ during the course of the events with marketers, artists and agency members all working to create tactical campaigns around sports fans’ conversations. I think Adidas is on the right track with pursuing real-time marketing. I think Adidas will be able to see a tremendous growth in their sales from their marketing ads in ‘real-time’.

Mariana Pabon's curator insight, October 15, 2014 1:08 AM

For years its seems that Nike has been the front runner in sports apparel and products. I chose this article because I am really interested in seeing Adidas' strategy to become more popular after a 2 percent drop year to year on first quarter sales. Their new strategy aims to "accelerate its shift to real-time marketing by having social media teams in place to react within minutes of key sporting moments." The strategy is being supported by the UK team’s roster of agencies including Work Club and We Are Social with the majority of creative being and developed and delivered in-house. This is a good strategy because of how prominent social media is in today's society. Everything people do is available at a moments notice because of the internet and social media. Having teams to react within minutes will involve the brand into conversation and put their comments in the mind of consumers. It seems to be an effective strategy and I am interested in seeing how far it takes them.

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Five Sports Mascots That Stir Up Controversy

Five Sports Mascots That Stir Up Controversy | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

In anticipation of the Washington Redskins' return to the NFL gridiron Monday evening to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles, a Native American tribe in upstate New York has launched an ad campaign condemning the team's use of a racial slur as...


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When Did Competitive Sports Take Over American Childhood?

When Did Competitive Sports Take Over American Childhood? | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
It all started in 1852, when Massachusetts became the first state to require kids to go to school.

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16 Critical Mistakes Business Owners Make

16 Critical Mistakes Business Owners Make | Sports Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

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BSN's curator insight, September 21, 2013 4:11 PM

16 Critical Mistakes Business Owners Make

 

#business #smallbusiness #startups

rrenny's curator insight, September 23, 2013 6:56 AM

a good read!

Greg Lustig's curator insight, September 23, 2013 3:02 PM

Making mistakes is an inevitable event that occurs in all businesses and at all levels of an organization.Although one can and should learn from their mistakes,it is impossible to avoid them or to operate in a mistake free business environment. The key to dealing with mistakes is to deal with them head on an effort to minimize their impact.