Why A Run On Beer In Russia is Good for Budweiser  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      It is never a good thing to run out of beer. To run out of beer during the world’s largest sporting event seems to be a particularly big “problem.” However, that appears to be exactly what is happening in Russia during the 2018 World Cup. As  Reuters  recently reported, “Beer-guzzling fans risk drinking parts of Moscow dry, with some bars and restaurants in the Russian capital saying they are running low and having to wait longer than usual for fresh supplies.”  This increase in beer consumption during the World Cup appears to be a surprise. Beer sales had declined in Russia for the  past decade  and none of the major beer companies expected a significant reversal of this trend.  So why is supply not keeping up with the demand and why is this potentially good news for the World Cup’s official sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev? One answer could come from research from the journal  Marketing  Science that we featured in past blog post about the  effectiveness of Super Bowl  television ads. The authors completed a multi-year study focused on Budweiser (and Pepsi) and found that there was an increase in sales before and during the Super Bowl in part because customers associated consuming the products of these companies with sporting events. It was also critical that Budweiser and Pepsi were the only official partners in their category during the Super Bowl to see those increases in sales.  The same thing seems to be happening in Russia. Potential increases in beer sales means that there is a good possibility that there is disproportionate increase in Budweiser sales during the World Cup because it is the only official  FIFA partner  for beer. While  Anheuser-Busch  “did not immediately respond to requests for comment” about beer sales, Heineken stated, “sales were so far going well and it did not yet see any challenges supplying its beer.”  Another benefit for Budweiser is that these sales increases could continue around sporting events after The World Cup. The  Marketing Science  authors saw spikes in sales for Budweiser (and Pepsi) throughout the year but really only around sporting events that occurred after the Super Bowl. Budweiser may be in a similar position to see these spikes for other sports after the World Cup.  To be clear, the evidence here does not mean that Budweiser will automatically see a positive ROI for its FIFA partnership. However, the early evidence suggests that could be the case even though the World Cup is being played in a country not known for its beer sales and that had actually seen beer sales decline in recent years.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Why A Run On Beer In Russia is Good for Budweiser

It is never a good thing to run out of beer. To run out of beer during the world’s largest sporting event seems to be a particularly big “problem.” However, that appears to be exactly what is happening in Russia during the 2018 World Cup. So why is supply not keeping up with the demand and why is this potentially good news for the World Cup’s official sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev?

       Block Six Analytics’ Media Analysis Platform Outperforms Google and Amazon Computer Vision Products   BY JOSHUA L. HERZBERG AND ALEXANDER CORDOVER  Block Six Analytics’ (B6A) Media Analysis Platform ( MAP ) analyzes sports video broadcasts to compute how long in-stadium signage appears on screen. However, other computer vision products like Amazon’s   Rekognition   and Google’s   Cloud Vision   can also perform this task. Both offer  text localization (finding text in a video frame) and optical character recognition (reading the text)  services akin to what MAP offers. But which product is most accurate?  To evaluate and compare the products, we conducted experiments on one 3.5-hour game video. This amounts to analyzing 50,350 frames We tested each algorithm’s capability to identify how often Delta Airlines and Verizon Communications signage appeared on screen. The images contained static and visual signage for both companies. The Delta signage appeared on screen for 9 minutes 22 seconds while Verizon signage appeared for 14 minutes and 18 seconds.  To evaluate the products’ algorithms, we compare the predicted results to the actual presence of signage in the image.  When an algorithm analyzes a frame from a video, we compare the predicted result to the ground truth result. If the algorithm correctly finds signage, a  True Positive  has occurred. When the algorithm correctly finds no signage, a  True Negative  has occurred. On the other hand, when the algorithm incorrectly finds signage where none exists, a  False Positive  has occurred. When the algorithm incorrectly finds no signage but signage exists, a  False Negative  has occurred.  Each algorithm processed every frame in the 3.5-hour broadcast.      
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     DELTA  
     True Positive Frames: (Percent of Correct Time) 
     False Negatives (Minutes: Seconds) 
     False Positives (Minutes: Seconds) 
     F1 Score 1  
   
   
     B6A MAP 
     1675 (74.5) 
     574 (2:24) 
     0 (:00) 
     .854 
   
   
     Google Cloud Vision 
     951 (42.3) 
     1298 (5:25) 
     9 (:02) 
     .593 
   
   
     Amazon Rekognition 
     597 (26.5) 
     1652 (6:53) 
     7 (:02) 
     .419  
   
      
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     VERIZON  
     True Positive Frames: (Percent of Correct Time) 
     False Negatives (Minutes: Seconds) 
     False Positives (Minutes: Seconds) 
     F1 Score 1  
   
   
     B6A MAP 
     3063 (89.2) 
     370 (1:33) 
     0 (:00) 
     .943 
   
   
     Google Cloud Vision 
     1132 (33.0) 
     2301 (9:36) 
     10 (:03) 
     .495 
   
   
     Amazon Rekognition 
     1798 (52.4) 
     1635 (6:49) 
     0 (:00)  
     .687 
   
       1  F1 Score combines False Positives and False Negatives into a single number.       False Positives and False Negatives are both important to teams, brands, and agencies, but MAP distinguishes itself by minimizing False Negatives. In both tests, MAP misses less than one fourth of the time that Cloud Vision and Rekognition miss. Users of Google’s or Amazon’s tools must manually review each frame of video to adjust for the gap in accuracy. This squanders entirely the efficiency of computational analysis and incurs additional financial costs. For example, to adjust for the gap in Google’s Delta results, a human must watch the entire game to find the missing 6:53 of screen time.  If clients want more accurate analysis, they must choose algorithms with fewer False Negatives. MAP’s neural networks and value calculations were built and trained specifically to analyze sports broadcasts. MAP provides more accurate results than these leading providers, while also avoiding extraneous manual review.

BY JOSHUA L. HERZBERG AND ALEXANDER CORDOVER

Block Six Analytics’ Media Analysis Platform Outperforms Google and Amazon Computer Vision Products

Block Six Analytics’ Media Analysis Platform, MAP analyzes sports video broadcasts to compute how long in-stadium signage appears on screen. However, other computer vision products like Amazon’s Rekognition and Google’s Cloud Vision can also perform this task. Both offer text localization (finding text in a video frame) and optical character recognition (reading the text) services akin to what MAP offers. But which product is most accurate?

       Branded Content Pays Off For The Players’ Tribune   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      AdAge recently  featured  The Players’ Tribune because “its success is due in large part to a forward-thinking business model focused on high-quality branded content.” In the same post, however, AdAge appears to contradict its own narrative. As the post states, “According to ComScore, The Players' Tribune site gets 3.4 million unique views a month, a respectable number but nowhere near the clicks of an entrenched institution like ESPN, which recently attracted 75 million visitors in that same amount of time.”  How could The Players’ Tribune be achieving “success” when its competitors are generating significantly higher levels of traffic? Quantity is definitely an important metric when looking at how content resonates with an audience, however, it should not be considered the only metric. As we have documented in several  previous posts , Block Six Analytics (B6A) looks at  quantity, quality, and engagement  when it comes to determining content’s value.  The Players’ Tribune  is  “a website devoted to allowing athletes to tell their own stories on whatever topics they wanted”. It currently focuses on branded content as its primary revenue source. According to Ad Age,  Branded content  is “an advertising platform… [involving] companies underwriting stories as a means of marketing. [It] has been around since the 1940s, back when businesses like Texaco and Lucky Strike cigarettes sponsored TV and radio programs.”   The primary goal of branded content is that advertisements seamlessly integrate with the media platform to increase audience engagement. Branded content on The Players’ Tribune has incorporated companies including P&G and Samsung in athletes’ stories that are the core feature of the site.  Saying that branded content increases engagement is one thing. Using a tangible metric to define increased engagement is another. The Players’ Tribune states that its pieces  receive  average engagement time of seven minutes and 45 seconds. As a point of comparison, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram  counted  watching a video for three seconds as a video view in 2017. This is a clear demonstration of the degree of engagement that The Players’ Tribune is delivering to advertisers with its branded content.  Companies have taken notice of this type of success with branded content. Organizations ranging from Bleacher Report to The New York Times have already successfully utilized branded content as a way to deliver value to their advertising partners. The reason is that branded content consistently delivers higher levels of performance on metrics important to companies. As senior VP with sports consulting business GMR Marketing Todd Fischer  states , "It's quality over quantity, and I think that's appealing to brands.”  The Players’ Tribune has also achieved success for another important reason – it features athletes. B6A has consistently seen that athletes have the highest levels of sentiment, engagement, and value in their social media posts by using our  Social Sentiment Analysis Platform . Leveraging athletes for branded content campaigns maximizes the probability that The Players’ Tribune can provide engaging content for its advertisers.  Content rights holders should take notice of branded content’s impact and how both companies and agencies are viewing its success. Branded content is certainly not the only way to deliver higher levels of engagement. However, quality and engagement is an increasingly important factor when buyers are making purchasing decisions about advertising and sponsorship. 

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Branded Content Pays Off For The Players’ Tribune

Content rights holders should take notice of branded content’s impact and how both companies and agencies are viewing its success. Branded content is certainly not the only way to deliver higher levels of engagement. However, quality and engagement is an increasingly important factor when buyers are making purchasing decisions about advertising and sponsorship. 

       Visit Rwanda Via Arsenal   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      One of the more surprising sponsorship agreements to come to fruition recently is a  deal  that will feature “Visit Rwanda” on the sleeve of Arsenal’s jersey while also making “Visit Rwanda” the official tourism partner of this English Premier League team. Why would the Rwanda Development Board want to be the sponsor of a team hundreds of miles away from the country?  This is an example of where jersey sleeve sponsorships can really add significant ROI for a partner. Rwanda has a considerable brand perception and awareness issue given the devastating recent history of civil war and ethnic cleansing that occurred in the 1990s. For many people, this is really the only thing they know about the country.  Yet, Rwanda is one of the best examples of the economic development that is happening throughout the African continent. As Rwanda Development Board Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi,  said , “Visit Rwanda and discover why we are the second fastest growing economy in Africa.  Investors [should]…prepare to enjoy the opportunities accrued from the free trade agreements that we’ve signed with over 50 countries.”  Activating with Arsenal helps put “Visit Rwanda” in a position to achieve its goal of changing people’s narrative about the country by targeting a high number of the right people in a positive environment. According to Arsenal Chief Commercial Officer, Vinai Venkatesham, the team’s jersey  is seen  “35 million times a day globally and we are one of the most viewed teams around the world.”  Not only is reaching a large audience on a daily basis important, but also “Visit Rwanda” is targeting reaching a global audience as well. In addition, “Visit Rwanda” realizes that Arsenal should have a better perception to its target demographic than the country itself does right now. Associating the “Visit Rwanda” brand in an environment its audiences typically enjoy (i.e. an Arsenal game) increases the probability of seeing a perception lift.  That is exactly what “Visit Rwanda” needs to do bring foreign tourism and businesses to the country. More specifically, global tourists and companies need to know that “Visit Rwanda” is an option for them. The country also needs to change the perception of these people and organizations to encourage and promote foreign investment. A deal with Arsenal is a good start and should provide a tangible ROI for the country.  Arsenal is also being rewarded for the concept of doing well by doing good. The team is generating revenue while helping a country continue to recover from a terrible national trauma. However, this is not just a “charitable” relationship for Arsenal. The team is helping “Visit Rwanda” achieve a tangible economic goal critical to its continued development as a nation.  Both “Visit Rwanda” and Arsenal benefit from this relationship. Sports teams and partners that consider a global company / organization base can find relationships that provide tangible benefits to both buyers and sellers of sports sponsorship.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Visit Rwanda Via Arsenal

One of the more surprising sponsorship agreements to come to fruition recently is a deal that will feature “Visit Rwanda” on the sleeve of Arsenal’s jersey while also making “Visit Rwanda” the official tourism partner of this English Premier League team. Why would the Rwanda Development Board want to be the sponsor of a team hundreds of miles away from the country?

       Betting on New Revenue   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      The U.S. Supreme Court decision that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is unconstitutional will have a dramatic impact on the sports industry. The ruling enables each state to enact its own sports gambling regulations unless (or until) Congress decides to make its own nationwide laws (which is the  preference  of most sports leagues).  The most direct way that sports organizations seemingly would benefit from gambling is through what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver proposes as an “ integrity fee .” Sports leagues would essentially receive a 1% fee on  each bet to  “monitor games and ensure they are contested honestly.” Sports leagues also want to make sure that bettors use the same statistics for evaluating games as well. The NBA’s agreement with  Sportradar  was completed in part to address this issue.  It is estimated that legalized gambling will be a  $300 billion per year  business so sports leagues could earn $3 billion per year in new revenue just from the fee. It is unclear if sports leagues will be able to charge this high of an integrity fee when casinos typically only make a profit of  3.5%-5% per sports bet . However, sports leagues will still likely see a very substantial windfall as legalized sports gambling becomes more prevalent.  The new revenue is not just from taking fees on the bets themselves. In fact, some of the big winners of the PAPSA decision are sponsorship rights holders. Even before the PAPSA decision, gambling was a large driver of interest in sports teams, leagues, events, and athletes. With more people now having the ability to have “skin in the game,” sports organizations should see even more people attending, watching, listening to, and reading about sports. of  Bettors are also a desirable demographic for many corporate partners. According to the  Fantasy Trade Sports Association , the average age of this demographic is 32 years-old while the average income is over $75 thousand per year. Having a larger, more engaged audience of desirable demographics consume sports content is exactly the opportunity that many companies are looking for from partnerships. More specifically, it maximizes the probability of success for companies to use sponsorship to achieve their revenue and brand goals. Therefore, repealing PAPSA should help both buyers and sellers of sports sponsorships generate more money.  In addition, gambling companies themselves have traditionally been large sponsors of sports teams. In the United Kingdom (UK) alone there is an estimated  $100+ million dollars  spent by gambling companies on sponsorship. In the United States, daily fantasy companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel already spend millions of dollars on sports sponsorship.  The reason that gambling companies want partnerships with sports organizations is fit. We can use in-game betting as an example. In Europe, fans can currently bet on almost anything that happens during a game such as how many goals will be scored in the second half of a soccer match. Having a brand’s logo or call-to-action in front of a customer right as he / she is making a purchasing decision is exactly the type of opportunity that maximizes the ROI of a partnership investment.  There is a significant difference, however, in the current dynamic between the US and European markets. Because legalized gambling will be starting in several states in a very short amount of time, many customers in the U.S. do not have as much familiarity with gambling companies as Europeans fans already have. Therefore, increasing brand awareness and enhancing brand perception is critical. More specifically, sports fans want to know where they can gamble and how they can gamble safely.  Sports organizations have a long history with helping companies achieve their brand awareness and brand perception goals. Using in-venue signage, traditional media, social media, and mobile channels in particular will ensure that the gambling companies’ customers receive the right message at the right time in ways that facilitate having the best experience. This combination can maximize the probability of success for gambling companies in attracting new customers.  The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PAPSA should greatly benefit the sports industry. However, it is not solely because sports organizations can take a percentage of bets. Buyers and sellers of corporate partnerships should also benefit greatly by having a large, engaged audience consuming sports content in ways that help companies achieve their revenue and brand goals.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Betting on New Revenue

The U.S. Supreme Court decision that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is unconstitutional will have a dramatic impact on the sports industry. The new revenue is not just from taking fees on the bets themselves. In fact, some of the big winners of the PAPSA decision are sponsorship rights holders.

      Rating NBC’s New TV Measurement Valuation Approach  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      NBCUniversal recently announced it was making a fundamental change to how it is measuring the success of its television programming with its advertising partners. According to   The Wall Street Journal  , “In an effort to convince advertisers that TV can demonstrate the same kind of return-on-investment (ROI) as digital media, the company is working…to show brands business outcomes that result from their ads.”  NBCUniversal should be applauded for shifting its focus from looking solely at the quantity of impressions to now also factoring in the quality of impressions. The most common way to judge the success of television advertising has been by the number of people that watch a program or network. From an advertising perspective, the larger the audience the more exposure a brand would receive.  While reaching a large audience can be important, it should not be the only success metric used to judge advertising effectiveness. For example, CDW is a company that focuses on selling technology products and solutions to enterprise clients. Therefore, its focus is on reaching a relatively small number of people whose job is to make large technology purchasing decisions. Its advertising is usually more valuable when it is focused on reaching a narrow target demographic rather than reaching the largest possible audience.  Another reason that television ratings have been used is that they represent an easily defined success metric. A typical arrangement between television networks and advertisers is to determine a guaranteed number of people that will see an advertisement during a program. If that program fails to deliver that number of viewers then the network will provide a “make good” by providing advertising time on another program.  Shifting to measuring “business outcomes” changes the nature of this conversation. How do television networks and advertisers define what business outcomes should be? In addition, different companies have different business models so it would appear that creating success metrics would be difficult. As  The Wall Street Journal Article   states  ,  “Tying TV viewing to business outcomes provides advertisers with greater validation that their ads worked, but the measurement process is complicated.”   The Block Six Analytics (B6A)  Corporate Asset Valuation (CAV) Model  makes a complicated process simpler by creating clear definitions of what constitutes a quality impression. We define success based on how a company makes money and on its brand goals. We measure these goals by looking at three considerations:   What is a company trying to accomplish?  Whom is a company trying to target?  What is the most effective way to reach the target demographics?   This approach standardizes how value is defined while also creating specific models for specific opportunities for specific companies. It also enables television networks to look at both monetary and non-monetary goals. More specifically, revenue and brand goals are not always in complete alignment. For example, automobile companies often partner with sports organization to reach 18-34 year-old demographics, yet, the average age of a  new car buyer  is 51.7 years old. If car companies’ goals are to maximize immediate annual revenue then targeting younger demographics would not drive a high ROI (pun not intended).  However, car companies are focused on building brand awareness and enhancing brand perception for younger demographics now because it is believed that doing so will influence purchasing decisions in the future. B6A’s CAV model takes these types of considerations into account when determining the overall value that is being delivered in multiple different advertising channels, including television.  NBCUniversal is another example of how content providers are changing their approach to advertising valuation. By understanding its customers’ businesses and developing success metrics based on achieving companies’ brand and revenue goals, NBC is putting itself in a better position to communicate value and generate incremental revenue growth.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Rating NBC’s New TV Measurement Valuation Approach

NBCUniversal is a good example of how content providers are changing their approach to advertising valuation. By understanding its customers’ businesses and developing success metrics based on achieving companies’ brand and revenue goals, NBC is putting itself in a better position to communicate value and generate incremental revenue growth.

      Fanatics Finds A Successful New Relationship With Aston Villa  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Aston Villa recently announced that it signed “ a kit manufacturing deal ” with Fanatics. What seems like a standard merchandise / apparel deal on the surface, however, “ may be at the forefront of a revolution ” in sponsorship and licensing in sports. This is not just because the Fanatics logo will not be on the jersey of the English soccer club team.  To see what this is all about, let’s start with Fanatics’ business model. Unlike many of its competitors, Fanatics is a vertically integrated company that designs, produces, sells, and markets its products. Fanatics’ business model does force the company to incur more of the costs but it also allows the company to keep more of the profits that come from apparel and merchandise deals.  By contrast, Nike and Adidas typically only design and market their soccer kits (uniforms). They rely on outside manufacturers to physically produce the clothes and on retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods to sell their products. In a typical deal, a company such as Nike or Adidas will pay the manufacturer to produce the shirt and then sell that shirt to a retailer such as Dick’s who then sells the product to the customer. Because these companies are reliant on their partners to make and sell their products, Nike and Adidas usually need longer times for their products to come to market.  Nike / Adidas then pays a licensing fee to the team or rights holder based on the amount for which it sells the shirt to a retailer. By definition, it has to sell to a retailer at a lower price than the retailer sells to a customer (or else the retailer cannot make any money). Because their profit margins are typically lower on each unit sold, Nike and Adidas are now more focused on finding apparel sponsorships that allow them to sell in higher volumes. That is one reason why these companies have signed bigger deals with a smaller number of teams  particularly when it comes to soccer .   Fanatics does not have this “problem.” Fanatics can make a higher profit on each unit and therefore can sell a lower number of items. It also can move quickly because it owns the entire supply and value chain including primarily selling directly to its customers through digital or mobile channels. Therefore, it can much more quickly take advantage of periods when Aston Villa performs well and / or if the team gets promoted back into the Premiere League. By mitigating many of the risks that come with apparel / merchandise deals, Fanatics has found a clever way to enter the British market.  In addition,  Fanatics  “has paid for exclusive licensing rights for all Aston Villa merchandise for several years. It will then sell on separate rights deals for different bits of that merchandise: kit, baseball caps, homewares, and so on.” This is also different from standard “kit” deals because it is Fanatics (the licensee) rather than Aston Villa (the licensor) that is now in control of apparel and merchandising deals.  This is also another indication that both the seller (Aston Villa) and buyer (Fanatics) have examined how a partnership enables both parties to maximize revenue generation. Aston Villa can see that companies like Nike and Adidas have relatively low demand for an apparel / merchandise partnership. It needed to help create a compelling argument that would attract a partner given the unit economics of kit deals. Partnership with a company like Fanatics and being open to a larger licensing deal now puts Aston Villa in a better position to maximize value from its kits.  Fanatics realized that it had an opportunity to expand the inventory that was available in a deal while realizing that it had better unit economics than companies like Nike or Adidas for these types of deals. Therefore, Fanatics can now experiment with a new approach to kit deals and determine if this is a viable option to pursue with other teams. The ability for both the seller and buyer to benefit in novel and tangible ways should be the goal of these partnerships.   

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Fanatics Finds A Successful New Relationship With Aston Villa

Aston Villa recently announced that it signed “a kit manufacturing deal” with Fanatics. What seems like a standard merchandise / apparel deal on the surface, however, “may be at the forefront of a revolution” in sponsorship and licensing in sports. This is not just because the Fanatics logo will not be on the jersey of the English soccer club team.

       Fortnite Helps Demonstrate The Value Of Potential Esports Partnerships   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Earlier this week, Ashland University announced it would be  providing scholarships  to Fortnite players as a way to attract new talent to its esports team. Some questions that many people in the sports industry may have include:   What is Fortnite?  Why would Ashland University offer scholarships for people to play Fortnite?    The Guardian’s Keith Stuart  described Epic Games’ Fortnite as:   In short, it’s a mass online brawl where 100 players leap out of a plane on to a small island and then fight each other until only one is left. Hidden around the island are weapons and items, including crossbows, rifles and grenade launchers, and players must arm themselves while exploring the landscape and buildings. It’s also possible to collect resources that allow you to build structures where you can hide or defend yourself. As the match progresses, the playable area of land is continually reduced, so participants are forced closer and closer together. The last survivor is the winner.   Why would a university offer a scholarship based on this description of the game? We can actually use the Block Six Analytics (B6A)  Corporate Asset Valuation Model  to answer this question. When applying B6A’s analytics to valuing sponsorship, we define success based on two main criteria:   Return on investment – how does a company make money from a partnership  Return on objectives – how are a company’s brand and marketing goals addressed from a partnership   Evaluating the impact of an esports team on revenue should not begin or end with direct revenue. As we have discussed in our post on UMBC’s success in the  Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament , colleges primarily make money through tuition. From a purely economic perspective, schools either want to have a higher number of students attend or charge a higher price for annual tuition. The more students that apply to the program, the more likely that the school will have both a higher number of students attend and the ability to charge higher tuition given the greater demand.  Ashland University faces strategic challenges in this context. In Ohio alone (where Ashland is located), the school competes with several public and private colleges and universities including The Ohio State University, The University of Cincinnati, Dayton University, and Xavier University. That does not even factor in the out-of-state options for students. How does Ashland put itself in the competitive set for students applying to colleges in this context?  Increasing brand awareness with the target demographic is the key strategic goal of having an esports team. More specifically, students have to know that Ashland could be a compelling option for their college education. That is where offering Fortnite as a scholarship comes into play. The earned media from the announcement alone from publishers including TechCrunch, Business Insider, Forbes, and Variety provides increases in brand awareness that Ashland would be unlikely to achieve otherwise.  Ashland’s Fortnite scholarship is not just increasing brand awareness in a vacuum. Ashland is specifically able to reach its target high school demographic of students that are considering applying to college. Relatively few people will actually make the schools esports team, but as esports head coach Josh Buchanan  said , “Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience.”  The core and casual gaming audience has significant overlap with Ashland’s target demographic. The key here is Ashland using Fortnite to show why it is different from other universities and that it will have innovative activities that specifically appeal to its target demographic. Now many students have a compelling reason to apply and chose Ashland over some of its competitors.     Ashland’s Fortnite scholarship also demonstrates an approach to solving one of the biggest strategic challenges with esports. In particular, esports leagues, teams, and athletes (i.e. rights holders) want to attract non-endemic sponsors as corporate partners. Yet, companies not familiar with or who do not see a clear connection to esports have a difficult time making the investment.  Esports rights holders can use Ashland as an example of why companies should become partners. In particular, rights holders can show non-endemic sponsors how partnering with a team or league helps these companies generate more revenue or more effectively reach their brand objectives in novel ways that create competitive differentiation.   Each company generates revenue in different ways and has different brand goals. Understanding what those are and placing a potential partnership in this context provides esports rights holders with the best path to secure new sponsors.       
BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Fortnite Helps Demonstrate The Value Of Potential Esports Partnerships

Esports rights holders can use Ashland University as an example of why companies should become esports partners. In particular, rights holders can show non-endemic sponsors how partnering with a team or league helps these companies generate more revenue or more effectively reach their brand objectives in novel ways that create competitive differentiation. 

       PGA Takes Approach That Is Not Par For The Course   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Earlier this week, the PGA Tour announced that it was changing its slogan from “These Guys Are Good” to “Live Under Par.” Changing one of the most prominent features of the PGA Tour brand after 20 years would be news on its own. What is potentially more interesting, however, is the thought process behind the change. According to  AdWeek ’s Robert Klara:   The most noticeable feature of the new campaign, developed with a creative assist from L.A.-based branding and marketing shop Troika, will be to augment the usual content that focuses solely on the technical aspects of play with content that includes softer and more personal elements such as the experiences of the fans who attend tournaments and the lives of the golfers when they’re not playing golf.   The “These Guys Are Good” slogan solely focuses on the players’ abilities and the PGA Tour had focused much of its brand strategy around this concept. The PGA Tour’s new insight is that winning, on-course performance, and “technical” skill is not the sole, or for a larger portion of fans, the primary driver in people’s interest in golfers. In fact, the data showed that the fans were identifying with the players as stars in addition to being successful athletes. As Klara  states , a “demographic the PGA Tour dubs ‘Sports Socialites’—and make up nearly a  quarter of golf’s viewers —are looking for far more social and interactive content (emphasis added).”  This is not the first time this year that the PGA Tour recognized that it needs to not be focused solely on athlete’s performance. Many have noted that ratings have increased  significantly  since Tiger Woods’ most recent return to playing in PGA Tour events. The PGA Tour recognized that it needed Woods to compete in order for the organization to maximize audience size and the revenue generated from media rights agreements.  In   The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry  , my co-authors and I highlighted a strategy that the PGA Tour put in place specifically to address this issue. In 2011, the PGA Tour was able to secure a 33% increase in its media rights deal even though Woods was at the time in what my co-authors and I described as at his “competitive nadir,” having not consistently performed well since the 2009 season. How did the PGA Tour accomplish this? From  The Sports Strategist:    The PGA Tour’s critical insight was to ensure that its broadcast partners could sell their advertising inventory regardless of ratings fluctuations. The PGA Tour proactively gained commitments from sponsors to buy approximately 75% of the advertisements during tournament broadcasts. As, the chairman of CBS Sports, said about a new agreement, “It’s a close to a guarantee as you’re going to see in big-time sports  today .”    The PGA Tour’s new slogan, “Living Under Par,” is consistent with this type of strategic thinking. On course performance will always be a component of a player’s star power. The slogan’s “under par” component is a direct reference to the fact that golfers’ want to score as far under par as possible.  Changing the slogan shows the PGA Tour’s understanding that it needs to the look at the holistic value that players create. For example, golfers such as Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Bubba Watson are top-ranked players but are also top athletes in trying to interact with fans particularly through social media. However, golfers such as Grayson Murray and Max Homa have struggled on the course but have succeeded by showcasing their personalities in  social media channels.  The PGA Tour recognized that it has an opportunity to take advantage of their golfers’ strengths off the course.  B6A’s products also take this holistic approach to asset valuation with our  Revenue Above Replacement (RAR)  model being a good example. To determine an athlete’s value to a team, league, or organization, we examine a player’s on-field, off-field, and personal performance. While on-field is an important component, it is not the only component of a player’s value. As the PGA Tour demonstrates, fans, media, and sponsors want to engage with athletes both on and off the course. This a consistent feature of virtually all athletes in all sports.  The PGA Tour has created an economic model where it can be successful even when its star golfers are not performing on the course while also taking advantage of these golfers' successes when they do happen. Its new slogan now more accurately reflects this strategic approach and enables the organization to better position its brand and monetize its success both on and off the course.   
BY ADAM GROSSMAN

PGA Takes Approach That Is Not Par For The Course

Earlier this week, the PGA Tour announced that it was changing its slogan from “These Guys Are Good” to “Live Under Par.” Changing one of the most prominent features of the PGA Tour brand after 20 years would be news on its own. What is potentially more interesting, however, is the thought process behind the change.

      Does Pay For Performance Make Sense For Sponsorship?  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
       Yesterday, Anheuser-Busch announced a decision to    utilize    "a new sponsorship model that promises to shake up the industry. It is built on incentives for performance on the field, pitch or court, as well as off of it". In 2012, B6A explored a similar approach The Emirates Group employed with the Arsenal as part of a larger deal including a jersey sponsorship. That blog post is included below.    The Arsenal Football Club and The Emirates Group recently made news when the Dubai based airline  announced  there had incorporated performance-based clauses in its sponsorship agreement with the English Premiere League team. Emirates and Arsenal have a five-year contract that pays Arsenal £30 million ($48.6 million) in annual fees for partnership inventory including a jersey sponsorship. While Arsenal has qualified for the Champions League every season for the past eight years, it has not won a major title during this span (FA Premiere League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League). If the team fails to qualify for the Champions League or does not perform well in the Premiere League then, "There are certain clauses, from 2015, that we pay them a percentage less if they don't perform," Emirates SVP Boutros Boutros  said . "It's fair to us and fair to them."  On the surface, it does seem fair. Sports organizations should absolutely be held accountable for their performance with regards sponsorship agreements. The question is what the definition of performance. More importantly, does competitive performance always translate to a successful sponsorship?  The answer is both yes and no. A team should be evaluated on both the quantity and quality of the impressions it delivers to corporate partners through inventory items like jersey sponsorships.  Quantity of impressions is relatively easy to define. It is generally considered to be the number people who view, consume, or experience an inventory item. For a corporate partnership agreement, a team should estimate the total number of impressions for each inventory during the course of the year. It should be rewarded for exceeding this number and penalized for missing these estimates.  Quality of impressions, however, is more difficult to define. At Block Six Analytics, we define the quality of impressions by a sports organization’s ability to help its partners to increase revenue and meet sponsorship goals.  By increasing revenue, B6A recognizes that different types of impressions can generate differing amount of revenues. For example, arena / stadium signage likely does not have the same impact on new customer acquisition or customer attention as having a partner’s core customers attend a game in a luxury suite. It is not that the stadium / arena signage in not a valuable piece of partnerships inventory. It is that that the luxury suite is more valuable to the partner because it targets specific customers and creates in an environment that is more likely to generate revenue.  Not all partnerships, however, are about generating revenue. Therefore, it is critical to define what the sponsorship goals are for each partner. Enhancing brand perception through sponsoring a community’s professional, collegiate, or high school team has a higher priority for many partners than increasing revenue. Sports organizations can be evaluated for its ability to maximize this type of impressions as well.  The Emirates deal, and the fairness component of this deal, appears to focus more on the quantity of impressions. Most of the Champions League value comes from the media rights deals for tournament games. If Arsenal does not qualify for the Champions League then the team will not be able to broadcast its jersey sponsorship to the hundreds of millions of fans who watch the tournament each year. This will decrease the overall number of impressions. However, it is not clear how much it will decrease quality of impressions. Most of the impressions from a jersey sponsorship go towards increasing brand awareness to viewers watching television broadcasts. While these are valuable, these impressions may not be as valuable those that go directly to increasing customer acquisition and customer retention.  This goes to the heart of return on investment (ROI) calculations when it comes to sponsorship. Winning generally does help increase awareness and interest in a team or individual. This translates into increases in gameday attendance, television ratings, and unique visitors the organization’s websites. While this is good for the sports organization, corporate partners need to ensure that these new impressions actually generate profitable revenue growth or help meet sponsorship goals for their organizations. Simply generating a massive number of impressions can no longer be the standard used to evaluate partnership value. Books like Sasha Issenberg’s  The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns  shows how successful political campaigns use microtargeting to focus on the most valuable voters – people who can be persuaded vote for a specific candidate but only after being contacted by a campaign with a specific message.  This same logic should be applied to corporate partnerships. For example, Arsenal could provide Emirates with introduction to team fans or other sponsors that make enterprise purchasing decisions about corporate travel. This type of introduction could occur whether the team is losing or winning on the field. More importantly, this is the type of microtargeted impression that is much more likely to deliver increases revenue to the Emirates than if the team qualifies for the Champions League.       While usually aligned, winning in competition can mean something entirely different than winning with the corporate partnerships. It is definitely a good idea to hold sports organizations accountable for sponsorship spend. Partners need to ensure that they are holding sports organizations accountable in the right way.    
BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Does Pay For Performance Make Sense For Sponsorship?

Yesterday, Anheuser-Busch announced a decision to utilize "a new sponsorship model that promises to shake up the industry. It is built on incentives for performance on the field, pitch or court, as well as off of it". In 2012, B6A explored a similar approach The Emirates Group employed with the Arsenal as part of a larger deal including a jersey sponsorship. That blog post is included here. 

      UMBC Positioned to Take Advantage of March Madness Success  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      The biggest star of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament so far is Zach Seidel. The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) director of multimedia communications for the athletic department is the man behind the Twitter account that has done everything from trolling CBS /  The Athletic reporter Seth Davis  and ESPN to espousing the virtues of UMBC to people who had not heard of the university prior to the school becoming the first 16 seed to upset a 1 seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Seidel’s ability to create a unique voice through real-time comedic Tweets generated interview requests from national media outlets – including The Athletic and ESPN.  Seidel, however, is “only” a star on the UMBC team. UMBC as an institution is the biggest winner of the NCAA Tournament so far, even more for what it has done off the court than on the court. More specifically, UMBC had positioned itself to take advantage of success if / when an upset in the NCAA Tournament happened.  The first step in understanding why this is so is understanding the full potential value of college athletics. For many schools, college athletics is a marketing asset that functions like a brand influencer. In particular, the reason that Seidel became a star is that conversations around varsity athletics can generate significant attention for schools in ways that professors, academic programs, or new research does not. That is why so many analyses of the value of UMBC’s upset are focused on the “ media value ” the school generated for the win.   Media value, however, is not likely UMBC’s ultimate goal. The school is attempting to use athletics in similar ways that corporate partners should be using sponsorship assets – to achieve discrete business goals. UMBC’s “business” is focused on recruiting as many bright students as possible to apply to the school for admission. For virtually every college or university, tuition is by far the biggest revenue driver for the school. Investments in athletics should have an impact in both the number of applicants that apply and the annual tuition a school can charge because it is more attractive.  Making investments in basketball, as UMBC has done, or in football can have a tangible impact on a school’s admissions. In particular, a school that has an upset does see a significant increase in admissions. According to a recent analysis of Department of Education Data from  Bloomberg :  Schools that beat performance expectations during March Madness receive a bump not only in public awareness, but also in the number of applications they receive. For example, as Bloomberg points out, after then-15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast’s wild run through Georgetown and San Diego State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2013 tournament, applications to the Fort Myers, Florida, campus spiked 27.5 percent. A similar trend was observed at Lehigh University after it bounced perennial tournament contender and then-second-seeded Duke from the first round of the 2012 tournament. And it’s not just one shocking upset that results in more applications: If a team makes it further into March than expected—such as Wichita State’s surprising Final Four berth in 2013—it can also experience increased interest. Wichita State, for its part, received almost 30 percent more applications following its success on the court in 2013, Bloomberg reports.  This is not just the case in basketball. In his study of the “Flutie Effect”, Harvard Business School professor  Doug J. Chung  found  that :   When a school goes from being mediocre to being great on the football field, applications increase by 18.7%.  To attain similar effects, a school has to either decrease its tuition by 3.8% or increase the quality of its education by recruiting higher-quality faculty who are paid 5% more in the academic labor market.  Schools become more selective with athletic success. For a mid-level school, in terms of average SAT scores, the admissions rate improves by 5.1% with high-level athletic success.  Surprisingly, students with high SAT scores are also significantly affected by athletic success.   UMBC appears to have applied these types of lessons to its commitments to athletics. As Seidel humorously stated in a  Tweet , ” BTW guys, we have a brand new $85 million Event Center we opened up last month that still doesn't have a corporate sponsor name.... (sic) .”  UMBC is in a better position now to obtain a sponsor after its historic upset. However, the decision to make this type of investment into an Event Center shows the importance the school placed on sports and events long before its upset occurred. It also positions the school for longer-term success in admissions by making this type of investment in athletics.  UMBC should also take this point-of-view when looking for corporate partners for its new venue. Rather than just examining the media value of its basketball team, the school should look at the core business of potential corporate partners. For example, Seidel’s efforts increased the school’s Twitter followers from 5,500 to 109,000 followers over the course of the Retrievers run through the NCAA Tournament. The University of Maryland has 149,000 followers. If partners are only looking at audience size then the Terps are still a significantly better spend than the Retrievers.  UMBC should focus on why the quality of its audience can help potential corporate partners achieve their revenue and marketing goals. For example, UMBC can now make a compelling argument to Adidas about why the apparel brand should be the naming rights partner for the Event Center. Seidel’s social media activity has helped to define a UMBC brand in-line with  Adidas ’ “three clear strategic choices that we want to focus on: Speed, Cities and Open Source.” In addition, Under Armour (one of Adidas’ biggest competitors) has made significant investments in the University of Maryland’s athletic department. Adidas’ sponsorship of the UMBC Event Center would enable the company to directly compete with Under Armour in the county and state where Under Armour is headquartered.  Schools do not need to make $85 million investments to achieve success. In   The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry  , my co-authors and I highlight the University of Chicago. The Maroons was an original member of the Big Ten athletic conference and home of the first Heisman Trophy winner. However, the school decided to end college athletics in 1939 so that it could make sure its students and the institution could focus on academics.  The decision contributed significantly to the school earning the reputation of the  place  “where fun goes to die.” While the school re-instituted its  college football program  in 1969, it only more recently made the team a priority to show that the college experience was more than solely the academic experience. The school saw a rise in applications after making a more public face of the out-of-class offerings Chicago provides its students.  UMBC was the winner of the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. However, the school’s investments in athletics should pay long-term dividends in helping the school take advantage of this success.   
BY ADAM GROSSMAN

UMBC Positioned to Take Advantage of March Madness Success

The biggest star of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament so far is Zach Seidel. Seidel, however, is not the “only” a star on the UMBC team. UMBC as an institution is the biggest winner of the NCAA Tournament so far, even more for what it has done off the court than on the court.

       B6A Announces The Creation Of Its NBA Jersey Patch Index   BY ADAM GROSSMAN AND BEN SCIAMBI     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Block Six Analytics (B6A) is pleased to announce the creation of the NBA Jersey Patch Index (JPI). The JPI uses B6A’s Media Analysis Platform (MAP) image valuation capabilities within its Social Sentiment Analysis Platform (SAP) to analyze the earned value of posts that feature a team’s jersey patch in pictures or videos for the 2017-18 season on Instagram for the following accounts:   ESPN  Bleacher Report  House of Highlights  NBA   SportsCenter      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              A sample of B6A's Jersey Patch Index (JPI).  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     This includes complete image analysis of every post in these accounts. Image analysis includes the following metrics:   Impressions - The number of people that have seen the jersey patch.  Centricity - How close the jersey patch is to the four points at the center of the screen where the eye is most likely to see an image when it is visible to viewers.  Prevalence - The percentage of the screen containing the jersey patch when it is visible to viewers.  Time - The length of time that the jersey patch is visible to viewers. This applies to video posts only.  Scale Factor – How good of a fit the jersey patch partnership is for a company based on its specific revenue and marketing goals.      The B6A JPI top five earned value performers year-to-date in the NBA are:   Cleveland Cavaliers - $3.76 million  Golden State Warriors - $2.02 million  Boston Celtics - $1.73 million  Los Angeles Lakers - $1.30 million  Philadelphia 76ers – $1.21 million   The primary insight to be gained is the overall value and the number of impressions that many teams are generating on social media through jersey patch posts when taking a holistic view of social media conversation. More specifically, it is necessary to move beyond team and partner owned accounts to understand the total value generated from a partnership. In addition, the values attributable to social media exposure often significantly exceed the value generated by linear television live broadcasts.  One example was the 11/3 Cavaliers vs. Wizards game which had 1,757,000 million viewers on ESPN. For the 5 accounts we tracked, highlights of the game with the jersey patch exposure exceeded 20 million total video views, and averaged 1,576,000 views per video. Three separate videos from the 5 accounts we tracked had viewership higher than the actual telecast on ESPN. The Goodyear logo was on screen for 162 seconds and generated over $367 thousand for Goodyear during this game alone.  “The JPI shows the importance of image analysis in social media,” B6A CEO Adam Grossman said. “Teams and their partners also need to examine the larger social media universe to determine the full value generated by these relationships.”  A good example of the value that has been created via jersey patch sponsorship is seen through the Milwaukee Bucks partnership with Harley Davidson during the 2017-18 season. The NBA’s Instagram account (rather than the Bucks’ Instagram account), generated nearly half of the total value and ranked 4th in the NBA. In addition, Giannis Antetokounmpo has provided $660 thousand (out of a total of $960 thousand) in value making him the 5th highest for players in the NBA. He has also been featured in 125 out of 167 posts about the Bucks/Harley-Davidson (3rd most posts in the NBA).  Antetokounmpo shows the value of star power in generating jersey patch value for teams and partners. Former teammates Lebron James and Kyrie Irving lead the way as the most valuable players for jersey patch partners generating $2.73 million and $1.18 million in value for Goodyear and GE, respectively.  Narratives also can play an important role in generating value for partners. Since his return to Miami on Feb. 9th, Dwayne Wade is 2nd only to James in value across the entire NBA. Miami ranks 4th in total value from since Wade’s return.  Winning is also not a requirement for jersey patch success. The Lakers and Wish rank 4th in overall value, with posts featuring the patch averaging the 2nd highest engagement rate (ratio of engagements to followers). Lonzo Ball ranks 7th across the NBA in patch value, being featured in 81 posts and generating over $638 thousand in value for Wish.  These insights demonstrate the importance of looking at the larger social media conversation and comprehensive image analysis when evaluating jersey patch values. Even when limiting analysis to targeted Instagram accounts, teams are generating significant dollars for their partners. B6A’s SAP can complete valuations in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well as analyze text and image posts in these channels. The value will only continue to grow throughout the season and when more social media accounts are factored into the analysis.  Contact  B6A  for access to the JPI or for B6A to complete a full, cross-channel analysis for your brand or team.   About Block Six Analytics   B6A's analytics-fueled technology enables companies to maximize ROI on their corporate partnership and player investments across all on-field and off-field channels. Sports properties, agencies and brands are using B6A's platform to create a truly interactive experience focused on delivering sponsorship value. Our machine learning technology helps our clients generate incremental revenue growth and reduce reporting costs. We use our technology and analytics to determine the value of television viewable billboards, signage, and calls-to-action, and social media conversations. By having a fully transparent valuation model that is built for specific companies for specific partnership opportunities, B6A ensures that buyers and sellers of sports sponsorship have the information they need to make the best data-driven decisions for their organizations.
BY ADAM GROSSMAN AND BEN SCIAMBI

B6A Announces The Creation Of Its NBA Jersey Patch Index

Block Six Analytics (B6A) is pleased to announce the creation of the NBA Jersey Patch Index (JPI). The JPI uses B6A’s Media Analysis Platform (MAP) image valuation capabilities within its Social Sentiment Analysis Platform (SAP) to analyze the earned value of posts that feature a team’s jersey patch in pictures or videos for the 2017-18 season

       Tokyo 2020 Already Secures Record Olympic Sponsorship Revenue In 2018   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Olympic records are being set, but not just in Pyeongchang. It may be difficult to think about the 2020 Summer Olympics while the 2018 Winter Olympics are still happening, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC)  stated  that 2020 host city Tokyo has already secured almost $3 billion in sponsorship deals.   To put these record revenues in context, both London and Rio de Janeiro generated approximately $1.1 billion in sponsorship revenue for the Olympics in their cities. This also comes shortly after companies such as McDonald’s, AT&T, and Citigroup recently ended high profile agreements with the IOC  because of  “rising Olympics sponsorship costs and declining TV ratings.”  How could Tokyo be generating record revenues when trends at both the host city level and the international level seem to be against this outcome? We can start by looking at the host city analysis.  According to John Coates , the head of the IOC’s Tokyo Games Coordination Commission, “Forty-three domestic sponsorship deals signed by Tokyo organizers so far had exceeded expectations” in 2017. That number has now increased to  47 partnerships in 2018 .  What is behind Tokyo’s success? Japan is the home to many multi-national companies that are Worldwide Olympic Partners including Toyota and Panasonic. However, Tokyo also appears to be working with companies to maximize their fit with an Olympic partnership. In particular, the Olympics are typically an extremely strong platform for companies to increase brand awareness to an international audience for new product offerings.  That is what Tokyo appears to be stressing in its deals. For example,  Nippon Oil & Energy  Corporation will “provide oil, gas and electricity supply services for the Tokyo 2020 Games.” However, the company is also focused on using the Olympics as a platform to showcase a new product.  More specifically , “Through the supply of  hydrogen energy, for which demand is expected to increase for the Tokyo 2020 Games , we are contributing to the expanded use of new types of energy (emphasis added).” Nippon, through its ENEOS products, is using the Olympics as a platform to showcase the value of its new product to a global audience.  Mizuho Financial Group is an example of a Gold Partner that can use the Olympics to generate global brand awareness for its company. Mizuho is a company headquartered in Japan but has a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Mizuho is using the Olympics  in part to  “[stimulate] the Japanese economy to enable it to meet the demands of people from around the world who will be gathering in Tokyo and Japan for the Games.” Mizuho is using a local mission to create a worldwide platform to engage with a worldwide customer base important for its future growth as a company.    Mizuho’s partnership also demonstrates another interesting element of Tokyo’s approach. One of Mizuho’s competitors, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., has also signed on to be an Olympic partner. Tokyo is one of the first Olympics (with the IOC’s support).  to allow multiple companies to become in the same category.  Having the ability to maximize partnership revenue through non-exclusivity is important to the Japanese organizing committee. Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister and president of the committee,  stated  “We’re making an effort to reduce the burden on the city of Tokyo as much as possible.” The country had a clear goal to limit cost overruns and make the Olympics as fiscally sound as possible. Taking part in the  opportunity to  “build the world’s most efficient financial infrastructure” is a good fit for Mizuho’s brand goals and makes lack of exclusivity less important to the company.  It is not just Tokyo, however, that has seen a boost in sponsorship deals. For companies like McDonald’s with near-global ubiquity for many of its core products, renewing an Olympic sponsorship does not make as much sense.  Intel, however, is using the 2018 Olympics to  feature its Virtual Reality  (VR) product offerings in its “biggest production experience that we have delivered to date”. This includes distributing 30 events in 360-degree videos to 10 broadcast partners around the world. Virtual Reality is a new product offering for which the Olympics provides a great platform to showcase new capabilities. The ability to broadcast and consume games in VR in 2018 and 2020 (and beyond) makes the Olympics a good sponsorship fit for Intel and shows the importance of fit in increasing sponsorship revenue.
BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Tokyo 2020 Already Secures Record Olympic Sponsorship Revenue In 2018

Olympic records are being set, but not just in Pyeongchang. It may be difficult to think about the 2020 Summer Olympics while the 2018 Winter Olympics are still happening, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that 2020 host city Tokyo has already secured almost $3 billion in sponsorship deals. 

       Brady, Smith Generate Highest Percentage Of Wins For Their NFL Teams   BY ADAM GROSSMAN & ROSS CHUMSKY     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Update – The trade reported yesterday of Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins is a good example of how to use our new winning metric. As part of this deal, it is likely that the Redskins will not re-sign QB Kirk Cousins, trade cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs, and trade a third round draft pick in the 2018 draft to the Chiefs. The Redskins will receive a 2019 third round compensatory pick when another team signs Cousins. Our analysis of the 2017 season shows that Smith generated a 1.67 wins while Cousins and Fuller combined generated 1.14 wins. This demonstrates that Redskins will receive more wins from these transactions if Alex Smith performs at or near his 2017 performance while Cousins remains at or near his 2017 performance. For the Chiefs, providing the opportunity for Patrick Mahomes to become its starting QB at a lower salary may mean fewer wins in the short-term but at a lower cost than keeping Smith  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  What NFL player has the most impact on his team? It is common question, and unlike baseball and basketball, football does not have a consensus, baseline advanced analytic metric to rate players. More specifically, Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is typically used in baseball and Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is typically used in basketball. The idea behind both metrics is to quantify an individual player’s impact on winning above a minimal level of performance. With WAR, for example, a player’s overall contribution is essentially based on how many runs he created and how many runs he prevented as compared to a Triple-A player in the same position.  The reason that it has been more difficult to create this type of metric for football is that the sport relies on the performance of multiple team members on every play. This complexity makes it difficult to identify an individual player’s contribution. For example, the typical successful passing play requires an offensive line to protect a quarterback from a sack, a quarterback to throw the ball, and a wide receiver to catch the pass. Who deserves the most credit if the play is executed successfully?  In the process of creating the  Revenue Above Replacement (RAR ) for the NFL for this season, our team at Block Six Analytics (B6A) identified the need to create a version of this on-field metric. RAR examines how an individual player generates revenue for a team based on his on field, off field, and personal performance. In the past, we relied on WAR or PER to create our models for the MLB and NBA, respectively.  To solve this problem for football, we used multiple data sets and multi-factor regression analysis. We were able to determine two main attributes that accounted for wins. In essence, these factors are how well (Grade) and how much (Snaps) did a player perform during the 2017 season.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     We found that these two factors identified how many yards over a replacement level player each player contributed to his team (the equivalent of how many runs were created in baseball). We found that summing each individual player’s yards contribution for a team in conjunction with regressing a team’s total wins provided a strong and statistically significant descriptive “winning” statistic.      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      We were also able to attribute yards to every single football player in the NFL this season.  The top-15 players in our analysis are in Table Two. The first area of focus is PlayerWin%. This describes how much that player contributes to a team’s win over a replacement level player (in football think an undrafted free agent) with a 100% meaning the player accounts for all of a team’s wins. Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady leads the NFL in PlayerWin% with the Patriots quarterback accounting for 18.04% of team’s wins. What else is likely not surprising is that quarterbacks makeup all of the top-10 and 11 of the top-15 players in this rating.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     What is likely more surprising is that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had the second highest PlayerWin%. How valuable is he? Let’s examine the fbWAR, ExpectedWin% and WinDelta columns. fbWAR calculates the wins a player adds over a sixteen game schedule (fb stands for football in our metric). ExpectedWin% looks at what percent of a team’s wins a player should contribute on an average team. WinDelta looks as the differences between the PlayerWin% and the ExpectedWin%. A positive number means the player is more valuable to that team than to the average team. A negative value means a player is less valuable to the team than the average team.  Not only did Smith have a Pro Bowl year, he is particularly valuable to the Chiefs because he had the highest WinDelta of any player in the analysis. His PlayerWin% is so high because the Chiefs as a whole have fewer players that contribute wins above a replacement level player. In our model, the Chiefs were expected to win 7 games (as seen in Table One) given the performance of the players on its roster (meaning the team won more game that would be expected given the talent on its roster). As a contrast, Brady has a  negative  WinDelta meaning he would be even  more valuable  on a different team than he was to the Patriots.  The three Panthers players followed the same pattern. These players are more valuable to the Panthers than to other teams because the Panthers had an even lower win contribution from its players than the Chiefs. The Panthers were also expected to win 7 games given the performance of its players (and actually won 11).     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     What if you wanted to see a player’s contribution overall (not measured to a specific team)? Table Three sorts players by fbWar instead of PlayerWin%. Once again, Brady leads the way in this metric meaning he generated the most wins and the highest contribution of his teams win total. However, Smith drops to 9th in this analysis. Two other players of note are Jimmy Garopplo and Alvin Kamara. Garoppolo ranked 13th overall even though he only played in five games. Had he performed in this same way over a 16 game season then he would have surpassed Brady on this list. Kamara also had relatively few plays this year as compared to other skilled position players (running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends) yet still finished as the highest non-QB on this list.  Why have we not called Brady the Most Valuable Player? We mentioned that we originally completed this analysis as part of our RAR model. Our approach looks at players’ contributions on and off field. Our next blog post will have the completed RAR analysis where we can determine the overall value of each player. In terms of wins generated, however, Brady is the highest performing player. 
BY ADAM GROSSMAN & ROSS CHUMSKY

Brady, Smith Generate Highest Percentage Of Wins For Their NFL Teams

In the process of creating the Revenue Above Replacement (RAR) for the NFL for this season, our team at Block Six Analytics (B6A) identified the need to create a version of this on-field metric. RAR examines how an individual player generates revenue for a team based on his on field, off field, and personal performance. In the past, we relied on WAR or PER to create our models for the MLB and NBA, respectively.

To solve this problem for football, we used multiple data sets and multi-factor regression analysis. We were able to determine two main attributes that accounted for wins. In essence, these factors are how well (Grade) and how much (Snaps) did a player perform during the 2017 season.

       How Super Success Occurs In Super Bowl Advertising   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Do Super Bowl television commercials work? It is the five-million dollar question facing companies looking to purchase advertising inventory during America’s most watched television event coming up on Feb. 4th. More specifically, do Super Bowl advertisements lead to incremental revenue growth?   There have been several attempts to analyze the impact of Super Bowl advertising. However, confounding variables have been the primary issues in determining a clear ROI. In particular, it is difficult to isolate the Super Bowl ad itself as the catalyst for new sales when factors such as national advertising, local advertising, new product introductions, and spikes in sales overall could impact revenue.  The authors of the journal article  "Super Bowl Ads"  in  Marketing Science  found a compelling approach to address these issues. These professors from Stanford and Humboldt University found there was significant variance in television ratings in different markets depending on which teams played. In particular, there were increases in viewership based on if local teams to a geography were playing and/or if 3-5+% of Facebook likes came from certain geography. For example, if 3-5% of fans in the Los Angeles DMA like the New England Patriots on Facebook then this becomes a “local” Patriots market. If Super Bowl ads were effective then there should be increases in revenue when there is an increase in viewership.  This enabled the authors to isolate the impact of the television ads while controlling for the cofounding variables that usually impact this type of analysis (for more information click on the “Super Bowl Ads” link at the top of the previous paragraph). They completed a five-year analysis of the impact of television advertising on the increase sales volume and increase in revenues for beer and beverage brands before and after the Super Bowl.  The study focused on the impacts of Budweiser, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola advertising during the Super Bowl, and the findings were:   Budweiser and Pepsi saw a statistically significant increase in sales in the week prior to the Super Bowl occurring where Coke saw a decrease in sales. The authors hypothesize that Pepsi generates the increase because customers identify Pepsi as the official sponsor and therefore associated the company's products with the Super Bowl. Coke is not seen in this light and therefore is not associated with the event in the same way.    Budweiser and Pepsi saw a statistically significant increase in sales in the 8-weeks following the Super Bowl but only when it was the sole or primary advertiser. When both Pepsi & Coke advertise in the Super Bowl in the same year, the impact of advertising on sales disappears.   Budweiser and Pepsi saw a statistically significant increase in sales around the NCAA Tournament but only when it was the sole or primary advertiser during the Super Bowl. When both Pepsi & Coke advertise in the Super Bowl in the same year, the impact of advertising disappears on sales in a similar way as it does post Super Bowl.    The main takeaways, however, are that Budweiser and Pepsi do see a significant return on investment with the Super Bowl and it should do everything possible to "own" the event. The effects seem to resonate many weeks after the Super Bowl but mostly around other sporting events. More specifically, customers seem to associate Pepsi with sports after the Super Bowl occurs with sales increases post Super Bowl around sporting events like the NCAA Tournament.   In fact, the researchers may have underestimated the impact because they did not have access to all purchasing data in all markets including access to sales from Walmart. Even without Walmart data, the authors determined that Budweiser generated $45 million in direct revenue from its Super Bowl advertising with PepsiCo achieving similar results.    The study is definitely not perfect in large part because the analysis was only from 2006-2011. In addition, it also only focused on beverage brands that have a primarily business to consumer / retail strategy. It is unclear that companies in other industries or companies that focus on enterprise or business clients rather than individual customers would see similar results. The authors do identify these as areas for future analysis.      Block Six Analytics (B6A) does conduct this type of analysis when looking at ROI of sponsorship spend. Our  Corporate Asset Valuation Model  examines partnership spend to determine the expected and actual incremental revenue growth. Rather than only looking at television advertising, we look at in-venue, digital, social, IP, event, and hospitality to determine a clear ROI for spend in different channels across different major sporting events.  There is no question that Super Bowl commercials are expensive. However, there is clear evidence that answers the question of whether these commercials can generate significant ROI for companies when used in the right way.   
BY ADAM GROSSMAN

How Super Success Occurs In Super Bowl Advertising

Do Super Bowl television commercials work? It is the five-million dollar question facing companies looking to purchase advertising inventory during America’s most watched television event coming up on Feb. 4th. More specifically, do Super Bowl advertisements lead to incremental revenue growth?