The sixth annual Sports Marketing 360 took place September 19th, 2013 at the BT Centre in London was a success. Organized by Sport Business and sponsored by BT, this event covers everything and anything to do with sports marketing and sponsorship, bringing in the brightest minds in the space to present and interact with delegates.
Notable speakers from today’s lineup included Clare Balding OBE, BT Sports Presenter, Journalist, retired amateur jockey and about a million other things, Nathan Stephens, Paralympian and BT Ambassador, Esteve Calzada, former FC Barcelona Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Mark Lev, Managing Director of Fenway Sports Management and dozens more.
The crowd was two hundred deep throughout the day, with so many in attendance at the start that it was standing room only in the presentation room. Delegates ranged from Sponsorship Managers to Brand and Commercial Managers to media, athletes and more.
Clare Balding’s session was clearly the highlight of the day, with her expertise, grace, humor and warmth radiating from stage as her panel discussed harnessing the power of women’s sport. Balding made the point that “the key to women’s sport is information” – at the moment, the information on women’s sport is not out there and if it is, its all over the internet and not easy to find. People need to know who the star athletes are, where they are from, what makes them tick…if the information is there, all of a sudden women’s curling can become exciting, she joked.
Balding also pointed out that at present, there is a good value in sponsoring women’s sport as the rights have not yet “gone through the roof” and because the female star athletes are much more accessible to the media than the male ones. She added that a number of products are trying to sell to women (except for bookmakers, sad to us) so it can be a good value for these products to get involved with sponsoring women’s sports.
The possibility of running a women and men’s event on the same day such as the Tour de France is something that we could see in the future, with joint sponsorship opportunities or possibly separate, we’ll just have to see what happens as women’s sport becomes more mainstream in the media.
A theme that kept popping up throughout the day was the influence that social media has had on how people are digesting content and getting involved with what they are seeing on TV and in the stadium. Its clear that people’s relationship to television has changed over the years, TV used to have their full attention and now viewers are using other devices during commercial breaks and to share special moments.
“Maximizing the Second Screen Opportunity” Panelist Ellen Marzell of Nokia mentioned how humans enjoy sharing happy moments in sports via social media, using Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbeldon as an example of this happy sharing.
Fellow panelist Carlo De Marchis of Deltatatre pointed out that this paradigm shift in how people are engaging with content have brought about second screen, as opposed to second screen bringing out this behavior. He also added that second screen brings on more advertising opportunities and all panelists agreed that mobile phone and betting companies are the best candidates as advertisers for this new medium.
The final panel, “Think Global Sell Local” addressed the idea of regional sponsorship and how it provides more opportunity for the sports teams and more targeted exposure for advertisers. Panelist Mark Lev of Fenway Sports Management mentioned territorial deals in China, for example Dunkin’ Donuts is an American brand but they will sponsor NBA star LeBron James in China to build their brand out there.
Another good point that Lev made was the importance of “seeding” the marketplace you want to hit for sponsorship, communicating with fans and building a fanbase. Panelist Laura Oaks, UK Sponsorship Director of the Jacksonville Jaguars is doing just that by engaging young people in the UK with the NFL. She said, “If you can get a child at primary school age to support your team, you’ve got them for life”.