I attended this one-day conference yesterday by SportBusiness Group, an excellent gathering of leaders, thinkers and networkers in the sports marketing world. The following are 10 nuggets I gleaned from the myriad of speakers present at this fascinating day.
1. Suzi Williams, Director, BT Group Marketing & Brand, said that the business is starting to see real returns from its investment in sport and the combined effect of its involvement in London 2012, the WC 2018 bid and launching Sky Sports on the BT Vision service
2. Tom Fox, Chief Commercial Officer, Arsenal FC, acknowledged that the brand awareness for the team outside of the UK was principally due to TV and the penetration of the Premier League and Champions League. In a comment silently applauded by all PRs present, he highlighted the ‘massive ‘ value PR represented internationally and outlined plans to use PR through Chinese students to spread the word about Arsenal
3. Richard Heaselgrave, VP Business Development, NBA, speculated about the future creation of a global event that would be perfect for global sponsors, stretching across a 12-month period, local in all key territories, maximising all new channels (beyond TV), flexilbe and free of rights-holder restrictions.
4. In the same session about Brands and major events, Nick Sykes, Managing Partner and Head of London 2010, McCann London, talked about how mega-events now offer billions of eyeballs with the ability to engage one-to-one. He summarised that he sees a rosy future for the major events and relationships with big brands, particularly mature established brands looking to build profile in emerging markets
5. James Tipple, VP Marketing, Yahoo EMEA, presented a showcase on Yahoo’s campaign for this summer’s world cup, bringing together content, social, experiential and communications in an integrated global competition. The numbers behind the campaign were compelling evidence of Yahoo’s ability to provide a global platform for a truly global penalty shootout competition and exclusive content from the world’s biggest footballing star, David Beckham
6. In ‘Sponsorship’s Digital Future’, Jeff Nathansen, Head of Partner Management for YouTube in Northern Europe, Google, revealed the viewing figures for the IPL which ran on YouTube earlier this year. 50 million views globally across 100+ markets, the biggest inevitably was India and second largest the US (despite the low profile of cricket in this territory)
7. Charlie Dundas, Global Director – Sports & Entertainment sponsorship, Mediacom, highlighted that digital is still considered by clients to be a ‘risky’ option and that it is important to get the test-level of the digital pitch right. He also believes that sport is a great sector for testing digital solutions, offering a chance to be creative and really test the environment for the brand before enlarging the campaign
8. Mark Foster, when talking of the injury that prevented him from competing at the Athens Olympics in 2004, said he dealt with his disappointment by applying an ‘ERO’ principle – Experience, response, outcome – your response to an experience affects the outcome. His response was to write for the Evening Standard and enjoy the success of his friends.
9. The ‘Toxic Talent’ panel observed that the world is a very small place now and the advent of digital communications are “tools of the devil for sportspeople”. Governing bodies and teams have been slow to start educating their young players.
10. Patrick Nally, the godfather of sports sponsorship, who with his company West Nally laid the groundwork for the commercial framework we see around the FIFA World Cup even today, believes there has never been a more exciting time to be in sports marketing. He said ‘conventional advertising is dead and conventional sports sponsorship is dead – the world is digital’. He pointed to this video as a useful eye-opener for anyone not convinced by the power of digital – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8