WHY DAVID FALK JOINED B6A  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Learn why David Falk decided to join Block Six Analytics (B6A) as an advisory board member and investor. Falk, the founder of FAME, has long been recognized as one of the sports industry’s leading figures and most talented innovators. During a 40 year career, he has represented the top players in NBA history and has negotiated record-breaking contracts for his clients, both on and off the court. His vision and ability to read the changing landscape helped to shape the evolution of the business of sports over the past 30 years.          </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

WHY DAVID FALK JOINED B6A

Learn why David Falk decided to join Block Six Analytics (B6A) as an advisory board member and investor. Falk, the founder of FAME, has long been recognized as one of the sports industry’s leading figures and most talented innovators. During a 40 year career, he has represented the top players in NBA history and has negotiated record-breaking contracts for his clients, both on and off the court. His vision and ability to read the changing landscape helped to shape the evolution of the business of sports over the past 30 years.

       Abbott Demonstrates The Value of Experiential Marketing At The Chicago Marathon   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Can you keep up with Eliud Kipchoge? That was the question that Abbott Health posed at the recent 2018 Chicago Marathon expo. Attendees of the 2018  Chicago Marathon  expo were asked to try to maintain Kipchoge’s 2:01:39 marathon pace for “only” 200 meters. Some were successful while many others unfortunately achieved “ hilarious results .”  Abbott Health’s goal clearly was not to make attendees, even marathon runners, potentially look foolish by trying to keep up with Kipchoge even for a short time. Instead, the company was likely trying to create an authentic connection with an audience likely to contain its target demographic in a way that would encourage people to engage with the brand.  That is the promise of experiential marketing with sports. More specifically, sports create unique environments where companies can reach their customers in novel ways not available to other rights holders.   Abbott is a good example. Abbott’s primary  mission  is to “[help] the people who use our products achieve better health.” The Chicago Marathon enabled Abbott Health to create a novel activation to reach this audience. Many marathon runners complete races knowing that they are not going to set a world record pace like Kipchoge. They run marathons to achieve better health and look for companies that can help achieve these goals.  It is not just the runners themselves. The marathon is one of the biggest events annually attracting thousands of spectators and hundreds of companies all focused on health. This audience is clearly a good fit for Abbott so it makes sense that the company would want to sponsor this event.  While audience fit is critical, engaging with a company’s target demographic is arguably more important. Most marathon runners and their families understand they will never really have the opportunity to run against a world-record holder. Top runners often  start  earlier than other participants and can be 30 minutes into a race before the average runner even begins.    The Chicago Marathon expo provided Abbott Health with an opportunity to create this experience via the expo. Its customers could not only literally see Abbott’s commitment to better health, but it is also enabled the company to showcase the  Abbott World Marathon Majors  series to an audience that is naturally interested in these events. More specifically, this activation creates an opportunity for Abbott to have a longer impact with this demographic beyond the Chicago Marathon itself.     The challenge with experiential marketing in the past has been quantifying the ROI of this type of sponsorship. More specifically, experiential marketing activations usually only reach a relatively small audience. Around 45,000 runners compete in the Chicago Marathon and have to attend the expo to pick up their raceday information. Even accounting for their families, corporate attendees, and  social  /  earned media  exposure, Abbott’s activation at the marathon reaches a smaller audience as compared with other larger sporting events.    The size of the audience should definitely be a consideration when factoring in the ROI of a sponsorship. However, the quality of the audience to the company and level of engagement is equally, if not more, important. As demonstrated in previous B6A  blog posts , companies are looking for ways to have deeper interactions with audiences that will drive significant business results. Abbott’s activation at the Chicago Marathon expo demonstrates a great way for a company to leverage a rights holder’s assets to achieve this goal.    This type of activation should and likely does deliver a significant ROI to Abbott. Yet, standard impression-based metrics (i.e., CPM) would not account for the full value because the quantity of people at the expo is relatively low. That is one of the core reasons why we built B6A’s  Corporate Asset Valuation  Model (CAV) to focus on both quality and engagement. Looking at fit and level of interaction an audience has with a sponsorship activation are central components to how we calculate value. Abbott’s Chicago Marathon expo activation is a good example of why we took this approach

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Abbott Demonstrates The Value of Experiential Marketing At The Chicago Marathon

Can you keep up with Eliud Kipchoge? That was the question that Abbott Health posed at the recent 2018 Chicago Marathon expo. Attendees of the 2018 Chicago Marathon expo were asked to try to maintain Kipchoge’s 2:01:39 marathon pace for “only” 200 meters. Abbott Health’s goal clearly was not to make attendees, even marathon runners, potentially look foolish by trying to keep up with Kipchoge even for a short time. Instead, the company was likely trying to create an authentic connection with an audience likely to contain its target demographic in a way that would encourage people to engage with the brand.

      The Challenge Of Not Measuring Company-Specific Sponsorship ROI  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      When looking at the quality of sponsorship activations, the Block Six Analytics (B6A)  Corporate Asset Valuation  model examines three factors:    Initiatives – What is a company trying to accomplish?    Demographics – Who is a company trying to target?    Channels – What is the best way to reach those demographics?     Using this framework is a good approach to analyzing a recent  CNBC  post with the headline, “Sponsorship spending to hit $66 billion worldwide, but most firms don't know if it really works.” This post focuses on research by agency MKTG and data from the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) which resulted in a central finding that “only 19 percent of sponsorship professionals say they can measure return on investment.”  What is CNBC trying to accomplish with this post? The answer is likely to bring awareness to the idea that companies can spend millions of dollars in sponsorship and not understand if it is driving tangible business results. It is difficult to think of another advertising or marketing channel with this level of spend that to date has not often required a detailed ROI analysis.  Whom is CNBC trying to target? CNBC’s target  demographic  is an “audience of business professionals and affluent investors.” This includes CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, and senior decision makers at companies that are traditionally large sports sponsorship spenders. This audience is used to using detailed quantitative analysis to determine the effectiveness of advertising and marketing spend.   What is the best way to reach these demographics? Business professionals and affluent investors often turn to companies like CNBC, Fox Business Network, and Bloomberg for news. In particular, these professionals and investors are looking for insights that can improve their job performance. Sports business content typically is not something that resonates with the audience as much as content focused on how sponsorship, advertising, and marketing impact a company’s performance.   CNBC could create this type of content because this post reaches its target demographics and contains insights that will attract them to its site. This article would not resonate with all audiences nor is CNBC’s goal to always reach a large audience. In fact, CNBC would have a difficult time competing with other news websites on audience size. CNBC can primarily monetize its website by offering advertisers the ability to reach an attractive target demographic through content.   Understanding a company’s business is not always a key component of sponsorship analysis. MKTG and WARC  found  that “37 percent of people have a standard way to measure the impact of sponsorship, with digital and social media analysis popular methods…[with] 73 percent of those surveyed by MKTG saying ‘brand awareness’ is the main point of sponsorship.”  Brand awareness and digital / social metrics scored so highly because they are relatively easy to track. In particular, standard metrics such as cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per click (CPC), and cost per engagement (CPE) will tell companies if they are reaching a large audience in an effective way. Reaching a large audience is often the most effective away to build brand awareness.  Is reaching a large audience actually important to a company in generating a positive ROI? The answer is not really for many of the companies that are the largest spenders for sports sponsorship. Many companies like  McDonald’s  and  Anheuser-Busch  have near ubiquitous brand awareness with their customers. Increasing that is less likely to drive sales growth or engage with their customer. This is the primary reason that both companies have changed their approach to sponsorship spend recently to be focused on driving revenue.       For some companies, increasing awareness is critical because many members of its target demographic did not previously know who the company is or what products it sells. Our analysis of FirstEnergy’s relationship with the Cleveland Browns in a previous blog post shows when this can be  effective .     However, it is not effective for everyone. Senior business leaders are asking how a sponsorship is going to maximize a company’s ability to directly generate revenue growth and better engage with their target customers. Only nineteen percent of sponsorship professionals having an answer to this question is a fundamental issue for the $66 billion sponsorship industry.     B6A tools do directly address this issue. Our  Partnership Scoreboard  examines how specific companies generate ROI from specific activations with specific properties. It enables both buyers and sellers of sports sponsorship to see how ROI is generated in near real-time using our technology and analytics. Our approach enables sponsorship industry professionals to communicate directly with business leaders in ways that will clearly answer the ROI question.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

The Challenge Of Not Measuring Company-Specific Sponsorship ROI

Senior business leaders are asking how a sponsorship is going to maximize a company’s ability to directly generate revenue growth and better engage with their target customers. Only nineteen percent of sponsorship professionals having an answer to this question is a fundamental issue for the $66 billion sponsorship industry.

      FlyQuest Showcases Partnership Value From Game Broadcasts Using B6A’s Partnership Scoreboard  BY FLYQUEST AND BLOCK SIX ANALYTICS     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Did our partnership assets reach the target audience or demographic? What is the broadcast media value of a jersey sponsorship? What is the impact on customer retention and acquisition?   Those were the questions FlyQuest Sports was thinking about as the team headed into the 2018 North American League Championship Series (LCS) for League of Legends (LOL). FlyQuest was looking to quantify and communicate the value the team delivered for two of its top partners. In particular, FlyQuest was looking to show the value of brand exposure during live game broadcasts for two partners with jersey logo placements.   FlyQuest decided to work with Block Six Analytics (B6A) to answer these questions using B6A’s Partnership Scoreboard. B6A’s Partnership Scoreboard is an analytics platform that delivers accurate, understandable, and verifiable insights that clarify partnership ROI and identify impactful investment opportunities for virtually any sponsorship asset. This includes in venue, corporate hospitality, social media, digital media, traditional media, and intellectual property (IP) activations.  The B6A Media Analysis Platform (MAP) focuses on both quantity and quality. In particular, MAP determines how much value is created from a return on investment (ROI) and return on objectives (ROO) perspective. For ROI, B6A determines the expected revenue generated from the partnership. For ROO, we determine how effective a partner was able to achieve its brand and marketing goals from a partnership. We then layer these ROI and ROO metrics across three categories:     Initiatives (what is a partner trying to accomplish)    Demographics (whom is a partner trying to target)    Channels (where is the best place to reach a partner’s target audience).     “B6A’s Media Analysis Platform enabled us to clearly demonstrate the media value and exposure time that our partners were receiving during game broadcasts,” said Scott Pogrow, Head of Sponsorship Sales. “B6A helped FlyQuest show why integrating our partner’s brands into the team’s identity during live game streams, reaching a key audience, generates significant value for our partners.”  "Our vision at FlyQuest is to innovate and invest in resources that drive the esports industry forward," said Ryan Edens, CEO.  "The ability to showcase value to partners through clear and accurate data is an important step in the right direction, and we want to continue to be at the forefront of this approach."  In addition to utilizing MAP to analyze the events B6A displayed the results in our Partnership Scoreboard. Because the Partnership Scoreboard is a cross-channel valuation and machine learning platform, B6A delivered the results in near real-time enabling FlyQuest to communicate partnership value to partners sooner than ever before.   “FlyQuest is clearly a leader in esports,” said Gabe Ottolini, B6A COO. “Seeing how the team applied our product offerings to significant partnerships demonstrates the importance of clearly communicating how sponsorship value is delivered.”  In addition to FlyQuest, B6A works with NFL, NBA, and MLB teams as well as corporate partners including Pepsi, CDW, and Citi. For more information about B6A’s product offerings, contact us at  info@blocksixanalytics.com .   For FlyQuest partnership opportunities, contact Scott Pogrow at scott.pogrow@flyquest.gg.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

FlyQuest Showcases Partnership Value From Game Broadcasts Using B6A’s Partnership Scoreboard

Did our partnership assets reach the target audience or demographic? What is the broadcast media value of a jersey sponsorship? What is the impact on customer retention and acquisition? Those were the questions FlyQuest Sports was thinking about as the team headed into the 2018 North American League Championship Series (LCS) for League of Legends (LOL).

      Amazon Goes The Distance With IRONMAN  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Amazon recently announced that the company would  become  the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship title sponsor and Official Sports Nutrition Retailer. Amazon has recently been making news in the sports industry for signing streaming rights  deals  including NFL and US Open events and looked to be increasing its investment in this area.  That fact that Amazon did not acquire streaming rights makes the IRONMAN partnership more interesting. Why would Amazon agree to this deal if it did not include streaming rights?  A relationship with IRONMAN enables Amazon to directly monetize its core business of selling consumer products.  More specifically , “The collaboration will provide participants access to a vast selection of nutrition products, including items from IRONMAN official nutrition partners CLIF Bar and Gatorade, available to athletes looking to prove ‘ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE’ on the sports largest stage.” This includes a pop-up IRONMAN  store  on Amazon’s website “stocked with brands from the event’s official nutrition partners, such as CLIF Bar and Gatorade.”  IRONMAN’s ability to drive traffic to Amazon’s website site highlights an important feature we are seeing in more and more partnerships. In particular, the fact that sports partnerships can clearly show how companies can tangibly generate incremental revenue growth is becoming increasing important in the sports industry.  However, this relationship has a less intuitive benefit for IRONMAN. One reason that companies become partners with sports properties is to gain access to other partners. For example, business-to-business (B2B) companies use their partnerships with sports properties to engage with potential clients at games, events, and / or corporate outings.  In the past, it has been arguably more difficult for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies to secure this type of benefit from sports partnerships. IRONMAN’s relationship with Amazon provides new opportunities to generate incremental revenue growth for its B2C partners. To start, CLIF Bar and Gatorade now are featured on Amazon’s website through the IRONMAN branded store. If this is successful, then it is possible that IRONMAN could have a similar relationship with its other partners through Amazon (e.g., potentially having a Greenlayer Amazon store for IRONMAN apparel).   Being featured on Amazon is a significant competitive advantage for these companies that compete in the consumer products space, as the majority of many companies’ ecommerce revenues come from Amazon. IRONMAN can credibly say that other rights holders would not be able to provide partners with this type of exposure on the world’s largest ecommerce platform.  Amazon should continue to explore new sports streaming rights deals. However, IRONMAN’s relationship with Amazon shows an innovative way to use the ecommerce platform that can benefit multiple partners at the same time. 

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Amazon Goes The Distance With IRONMAN

Amazon recently announced that the company would become the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship title sponsor and Official Sports Nutrition Retailer. Amazon has recently been making news in the sports industry for signing streaming rights deals including NFL and US Open events and looked to be increasing its investment in this area. That fact that Amazon did not acquire streaming rights makes the IRONMAN partnership more interesting. Why would Amazon agree to this deal if it did not include streaming rights?

       #JustDoIT vs. Khalil Mack   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      The two biggest storylines to emerge in the days before the NFL season kicks off involve both on-field and off-field narratives. The first is the trade of All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears from the Oakland Raiders. The second is Nike announced free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the featured spokesperson for the 30th anniversary of the company’s signature “Just Do It” (#JustDoIt) campaign and is reportedly providing him with his own  signature shoe and apparel line .  The fact that both of these events happened within days of each other created an interesting question. Would the most important on-field event (Mack’s trade) or the most important off-field event (Kaepernick’s new Nike relationship) generate more interest?  We used Block Six Analytics  Social Sentiment Analysis Platform  (SAP) and cross-channel analytics to find out the answer looking at a sample of recent Twitter conversation. In the past seven days, there were 203,673 posts about #JustDoIT tweets with the top-25 posts from accounts with the largest reach generating 16.4 million impressions, $98.6k in value and 44.1% average sentiment score (SAP scales runs from -100% to 100%). Mack posts generated 86,951 tweets with the top-25 posts generating 3.1 million impressions, $18.5k in value, and 28.2% average sentiment.  There is little doubt that the #JustDoIt conversation had significantly more posts than the Khalil Mack news. This clearly shows that off-field considerations are critical for strategic decision making by sports industry leaders. More specifically, an athlete’s off-field star power can generate significant value for a corporate partner or team even if he / she is not playing well (or in Kaepernick’s case at all).  Nike’s new deal with Kaepernick clearly demonstrates that point. Kaepernick’s jersey has consistently been a top seller among  NFL jerseys  even when he was not playing. Nike is the official uniform and apparel provider for the NFL, and its core business is sports apparel. The fact that Kaepernick is not playing, yet he is still generating these sales is a feature rather than a bug of this decision making process. Nike knows that Kaepernicks’ on-field performance is not required for him to resonate with many of its customers. Therefore, it can be confident that Kaepernick can drive value now and in the future for the company even if Kaepernick does not take another NFL snap.  Looking at jersey sales data and social media conversation for Kapernick is an important data point in examining this relationship. While the conversation around Nike has been generally positive, there has also been a significant backlash from many  Nike customers and NFL fans . Yet, both the sales data and conversation show that Kapernick is resonating with the company’s key demographics.   This does not mean that a team should sign Kaepernick simply because he has demonstrated he can drive partnership revenue while not paying. It also does not mean that on-field performance is not important for corporate partners. Anheuser-Busch (AB) is specifically implementing a performance clause in its partnership agreements. However, AB is specifically implementing this clause because it sees higher beer sales when its rights holders it partners with  perform well . That is why the Nike and AB deals can be viewed in a similar light. Both deal types were made and are structured in part to help drive tangible revenue growth.   The comparison of these two leading headlines clearly shows teams that corporate partners are not solely looking at a team’s or athlete’s on-field performance. They want to know if a relationship with an athlete, team or league will drive tangible business and brand results. That is why we incorporate both on-field and off-field considerations when evaluating player performance in our  Revenue Above Replacement  model.  Corporate partners are often willing to engage with stars because they drive success for their business if not always for their teams.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

#JustDoIT vs. Khalil Mack

The two biggest storylines to emerge in the days before the NFL season kicks off involve both on-field and off-field narratives. The first is the trade of All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears from the Oakland Raiders. The second is Nike announced free agent quarterback Colin Kapernick as the featured spokesperson for the 30th anniversary of the company’s signature “Just Do It” (#JustDoIt) campaign and is reportedly providing him with his own signature shoe and apparel line. The fact that both of these events happened within days of each other created an interesting question. Would the most important on-field event (Mack’s trade) or the most important off-field event (Kapernick’s new Nike relationship) generate more interest?

       Taking The Sponsorship Bull By The Horns For Non-Endemic Partners   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      One of the most common issues in sponsorship today is that properties / rights holders (teams, leagues, events, athletes, etc.) for non-traditional sports want to attract non-endemic partners. Conversely, non-endemic partners want to determine if they should sponsor new properties to generate lifts in meeting their revenue and brand goals.  The solution to this problem is fit and communicating fit through data. More specifically, what is a property’s value in helping a sponsor reach the right people in the right way at the right time to generate lifts in sales and engagement. Right people, way, and time will differ for each company but the process should be consistent. More specifically, is the property putting the company in the best position to achieve success to be “right.”  The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) has accomplished this goal. A recent study by the organization  showed , “58% of PBR fans have made a brand purchase from a company in the past year because it sponsors [PBR].”  PBR tagged Cooper Tires in the Tweet announcing this news and that is probably not by accident.  PBR has multiple  national endemic sponsors  including Wrangler, Boot Barn, and Priefert (rodeo and ranch equipment). For the organization to continue to grow its sponsorship revenue, however, it needs to demonstrate that it can drive sales for companies like Cooper Tires.  The organization’s study shows that a majority of fans are making purchasing decisions because a company sponsors PBR. Maximizing the probability of sales lift (i.e. working with an organization that drives purchasing behavior through positive brand associations) makes it easier for a company like Cooper Tires to become a sponsor of the PBR.   The PBR’s partnership with Monster Energy is further proof that non-endemic sponsors can benefit from a relationship with the organization. In a separate study, the PBR  found that  “12% of US population and 20% of PBR fans consume energy drinks; 49% of PBR fans are likely to buy [Monster Energy].”  Once again, the PBR is clearly articulating the way it drives value for its partner’s customers. In this case, Monster has a clear and credible rationale for its partnership with the PBR. It puts the organization in front of people that are not only more likely to buy energy drinks but also are likely to buy the specific brand.  The common factor in both of these studies is data. In particular, the PBR is using data to eliminate economic asymmetric risk for non-endemic corporate partners. What does this mean in English? Monster is a good example of this concept. Its partnership with the PBR fits in well with other relationships with NASCAR and UFC from a brand perspective. It can more easily see the PBR’s activation and measure the alignment with its brand goals.   However, how can Monster be confident that it is maximizing its probability of generating revenue through a PBR sponsorship? By communicating clear, tangible economic results specific to these companies, the PBR is enabling partners like Monster to eliminate this risk. It is providing statistical evidence that Monster (or Cooper Tires) can generate top-line revenue growth by partnering with the organization.  B6A’s  Partnership Scoreboard  is designed to specifically to help our clients communicate these types of insights. Our  machine learning platforms  and proprietary valuation models aggregate and analyze information from multiple channels to show specific companies how they achieve value from specific partnership opportunities. Our dashboard puts the data in language that buyers and sellers of sports sponsorship can clearly understand to make strategic decisions. By eliminating the asymmetric risk in sponsorship, B6A products enables properties and companies to maximize revenue growth and brand engagement. 

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Taking The Sponsorship Bull By The Horns For Non-Endemic Partners

One of the most common issues in sponsorship today is that properties / rights holders (teams, leagues, events, athletes, etc.) for non-traditional sports want to attract non-endemic partners. Conversely, non-endemic partners want to determine if they should sponsor new properties to generate lifts in meeting their revenue and brand goals. The solution to this problem is fit and communicating fit through data.

       Irrational Fans Are Good For Sports   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      In a finding that is likely unsurprising to most in the sports industry, a recent study completed by two University of Sussex economists found that sports fans are irrational in their support of teams.  More specifically , “that the happiness that fans feel when their team wins is outweighed – by a factor of two – by the sadness that strikes when their team loses.”  What may be more counterintuitive is that these results likely are a good thing for the sports industry as a whole and sports sponsors in particular. How could that be possible when teams are making their customers unhappy?  First, let’s delve more deeply into the study itself. The economists focused on soccer matches in England and used a mobile device app to interact with study participants. The app would send notifications at different times throughout the day with different questions and participants would record their responses. Participants were asked to rate their happiness on a zero to one hundred scale (with one hundred being most happy). The economists used geolocation data through the mobile app to determine when fans were at stadiums versus other locations. They then compared responses for when fans were watching games (either in-stadium or at home) as compared to other activities.  While fans did experience happiness when their team won, the pain of a loss was much more severe. This is consistent with  loss aversion theory in behavioral economics  where people consistently exhibit similar results across a wide variety of tasks. What was surprising to the economists is that a loss by a fan’s favorite team had the second worst score on their scale with only  taking care of an aging parent  being worse.  The economists considered sports fans irrational because they were not maximizing their utility. In this case, fans were not maximizing their happiness and / or well-being by watching sports because teams lose either more or almost as much as teams win and losing makes fans so much more unhappy than winning makes them happy.       These results again beg the question of how could losing be good for sports teams. As we discuss in our book  The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry , all sports teams are going to lose and winning does not guarantee financial success.  Sports teams more consistently achieve financial success by creating authentic engagement and connections with their fans. We provide several examples of sports organizations that have achieved success using this approach even when they were losing such as the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Golden State Warriors.  More recent sports sponsorship examples include the  Cleveland Browns  “Victory” fridges partnership activation with Anheuser-Busch and the  New York Jets  partnership activation with Marvel which current features the Incredible Hulk. Both teams have had their on-field struggles which seem to make it difficult to engage their fans.  Both teams also appeared to have completed audience analysis of their fans and created activations that enhance both the team’s and partner’s brand perception. With the Browns, the team turned its losing into a unique opportunity to create “Victory” fridges filled with Bud Light that open when the team wins its first game. With the Jets, the team’s identity is focused on the color green and portraying strength as the team goes into “battle.” Almost exactly the same thing could be said about the Incredible Hulk. Having the Marvel character as a bobble head creates a unique giveaway that resonates with Jets fans even if the team loses.  While the economists did examine three million data points across hundreds of thousands participants, the study featured in the early part of this post does have some potential flaws that the authors themselves discuss. They only examined British soccer fans, mobile app users tend to be younger and more affluent than the general population, and self-reported measures of happiness can be unreliable. The economists  did take measures  to prevent issues with self-reported measures, but it is clear that some caution should be given to the results of the study.  However, the paper’s title of “ Is Football a Matter of Life and Death - or Is It More Important Than That?”  is a good summary of the competitive advantage for the sports industry. It is difficult to think of another industry where a company’s main product could fail (i.e. sports teams not win) at such a high rate and the company could retain most of its customers. Many (if not most) sports fans are extremely passionate about their teams whether they win or lose. These fans continue to engage with their favorite teams even though it is not “rational”.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Irrational Fans Are Good For Sports

In a finding that is likely unsurprising to most in the sports industry, a recent study completed by two University of Sussex economists found that sports fans are irrational in their support of teams. More specifically, “that the happiness that fans feel when their team wins is outweighed – by a factor of two – by the sadness that strikes when their team loses.” What may be more counterintuitive is that these results likely are a good thing for the sports industry as a whole and sports sponsors in particular. How could that be possible when teams are making their customers unhappy?

       Anheuser-Busch, Browns Unlock A Winning Sponsorship Opportunity   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      The only thing arguably better than beer is free beer. That is exactly what Anheuser-Busch (AB) and the Cleveland Browns have  announced  with their most recent sponsorship activation. Starting yesterday, Anheuser-Busch is “placing eight-foot ‘Victory’ fridges filled with Bud Light bottles into 10 Cleveland-area bars that purchased them. When the clock strikes zero on the Browns' first win the electromagnet that keeps the fridges locked will be turned off through a WiFi connection, opening all of them for fans to enjoy free of charge.”  Anheuser-Busch likely understands that many of its customers are NFL fans. It is one reason that Bud Light is currently the official sponsor of 28 out of 32 NFL teams and of the NFL itself. In addition, B6A has highlighted in previous  posts  that being an exclusive sponsor of sports rights holders can increase revenue particularly for large events such as the Super Bowl.  However, category exclusivity should not be the only way that companies generate value through these partnerships. What brands are looking for is to find unique ways to activate sponsorships that drive customer engagement and increase brand perception. More traditional activations may have more difficulty in driving interest to core customers in the ways they are looking to consume content.     That is exactly what this activation between AB and the Browns (who are a B6A Client) accomplished with the Victory fridges. The only team that would have the opportunity to have this type of partnership is unfortunately the Browns (because the team did not win a game last season and only won one the season before). Therefore, there is real interest about when the Victory fridges will actually open. The only beer company that could take advantage of this situation is AB because the company is the official sponsor of the team.  B6A is already seeing the results of this activation through Twitter results from our  Social Sentiment Analysis Platform (SAP)  since Tuesday. A sample is provided below with B6A’s value calculations factor in both sentiment and engagement on a per post basis into the final results. This includes:   Earned media - Darren Rovell has multiple tweets that have generated $18,672.34 of value with 1,540,927 impressions.  Owned and Operated  Bud Light – Multiple tweets that have generated $1,235.77 of value with 101,982 impressions.   Browns – One tweet that has generated $4,601.47 of value with 379,734 impressions.     Even with the initial positive results, this was not an easy decision for either side of this partnership. AB has very publicly stated that the  company  wants to incentivize its partners based on their on-field, on-court, on-ice, etc. performance given that winning leads to higher sales and consumer engagement. Even though it expects to perform much better this year than in the previous two years, the Browns do not want to emphasize how they struggled in the past. The Victory fridges seem to do the exact opposite of what both AB and Browns would want to highlight.  Yet, this decision is the right one for both sides of this partnership. AB shows that it will work with the team to determine new ways to activate that help the company achieve its goals even when the team’s on-field performance is struggling. The Browns show how the team can leverage losing to create new activations while also taking advantage of winning when the team does perform better. Bringing beer to fans enables both the team and its partner to celebrate victory even before the Browns win a game.   

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Anheuser-Busch, Browns Unlock A Winning Sponsorship Opportunity

The only thing arguably better than beer is free beer. That is exactly what Anheuser-Busch (AB) and the Cleveland Browns have announced with their most recent sponsorship activation. AB and the Browns found a unique ways to activate a sponsorship that drives customer engagement and increases brand perception.

       Sponsorship Is Key To Esports Industry’s Growth   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Esports industry revenues are expected to  grow  from $655 million in 2017 to $905.6 million in 2018 with 40% of those dollars coming from sponsorship. Despite this success, potential esports sponsors still have several questions particularly from companies that are non-endemic to the space. As Seven Leagues senior consultant Charlie Beall  states , “You can sponsor players, who are often young and commercially naïve; a team, whose managers who are equally young and commercially naïve; or a competition, which have few trustworthy and established players.”  Some of these concerns articulated by Beall are rapidly diminishing as seen most recently by the success of Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League (OWL). After  selling  12 franchises to industry leaders including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, and Los Angeles Rams owners Stan and Josh Kroenke for $20 million and selling out the Barclay’s Center for the OWL finals, Activision Blizzard franchises are now being sold for $30-60 million. OWL also recently announced a new  broadcast rights  deal with ESPN to complement its $90 million, two-year deal with Twitch.  While esports continues to mature in its development, the OWL does highlight a challenge to its future growth. Much of the revenue articulated in the OWL example is accrued by Activation Blizzard as the game publisher of Overwatch. Game publishers  receive  the bulk (if not all) of the franchise, streaming, and broadcast fees for esports leagues rather than having that revenue shared among the teams as is the case with most other professional sports leagues.  For esports franchises and athletes to be successful, they must be able to sell sponsorship to both endemic (i.e., those with natural ties to esports) and non-endemic sponsors. The main question for non-endemic sponsors is why are esports valuable to my specific business. As managing director of M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment Jodie Fullagar  states , “Not all brand sponsorship decisions are solely based on reach, but to get bigger budgets, esports will need to understand the value beyond eyeballs.”  Block Six Analytics (B6A) currently works with multiple esports teams to specifically answer this question. We use the technology and analytics in our  Partnership Scoreboard  platform to show non-endemic partners why working with an esports team would or would not be a good fit for their brand.  This starts with employing our Corporate Asset Valuation (CAV) model to map out each partner’s brand and revenue goals on to a specific esports activation. We then look to see how esports activations can help a company generate new revenue and / or better engage with target demographics. The goal here is to clearly demonstrate how a specific company generates specific value from a specific opportunity.  By mapping out a company’s goals and specifically demonstrating how an esports activation helps partners achieve these goals, the CAV helps franchises, players, and their partners see how value is created in esports activations. This enables rights holders to demonstrate to a non-endemic partner how a company will benefit from a relationship while non-endemic sponsors can clearly evaluate if this opportunity makes sense for their business.  Reach is still an important component of an esports sponsorship. It is better to reach a larger number of a company’s key demographic when possible. B6A’s integration with Twitch’s public API determines audience size on a minute-by-minute basis. We then use our  Media Analysis Platform  (MAP) to determine the value resulting from brand logo exposure in streaming video on the platform within 72 hours after a game, event, or series.  Logo exposure is only one potential activation for esports franchises and players. Social media conversation, social branded integration in image and video, earned media conversation, in venue, experiential marketing, and corporate hospitality activations can best be monetized by franchises and players if partners understand their value to their specific businesses.   If this seems like a similar approach to that which B6A uses for other professional rights holders that is because it is a similar approach. The core question of why a company wants to work with any rights holders are the same in esports as they are with any rights holders. Each company wants to know how each sponsorship helps it meet its revenue and brand goals. For the esports industry to continue its growth, franchises and players will need to be able answer that question.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Sponsorship Is Key To Esports Industry’s Growth

While esports continues to mature in its development, the OWL does highlight a challenge to its future growth. Much of the revenue articulated in the OWL example is accrued by Activation Blizzard as the game publisher of Overwatch. Game publishers receive the bulk (if not all) of the franchise, streaming, and broadcast fees for esports leagues rather than having that revenue shared among the teams as is the case with most other professional sports leagues.

       NBA Makes A Good Bet On Gambling Sponsorship   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      One of the biggest challenges in the era of big data is monetization. How do you monetize information at a time when so much data is being created? One answer to that question is to find an immediate use case where the information an organization generates addresses a critical business challenge.  That is exactly what the NBA has done in its new deal making MGM Resorts its official gambling partner. This new relationship is generating significant attention because it is the first of its kind in a major professional sports league. Yet, that is really not the most significant component of this deal. It is that the NBA could be providing a blueprint for how leagues can monetize their official data across multiple partnerships.  In a previous  post , I stated that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), effectively making gambling on sporting events legal in the U.S., would benefit sports organizations because it would open new sponsorship opportunities. The NBA’s partnership with MGM is a good example of this new dynamic.  MGM  now has the ability “to use official NBA data and team logos across its domestic resorts and mobile sports-betting apps.” Gambling is reliant on having the most accurate data. Both sides of a betting transaction need to ensure payouts are based on the correct outcome of any event.  It is difficult to argue that the most accurate NBA data could be anything but the “official NBA data” provided by the league. As the NBA’s exclusive gambling partner, MGM Resorts can now position itself to current and potential customers as having the best data both in its casinos and mobile apps.  That provides a distinct competitive advantage and should help MGM Resorts generate incremental growth because of its first-to-market relationship with the NBA. Because legal sports gambling is novel in the U.S., there is a reasonable concern that sports fans would not be sure where to go for gambling to ensure that they are not “cheated” in transactions. Being the first company that has official data enables MGM to alleviate these concerns for NBA bets and maximize the probability of capturing a significant share of the early gambling market.   This is not the only reason that being first-to-market is a key distinction in this new deal. As  The New York Times   explains , “While MGM will be the league’s exclusive gambling partner for marketing purposes, most of the rest of the agreement is not exclusive…The N.B.A. is eager to have every company offering sports betting use official league data and work with league officials to prevent manipulation.” In fact, the NBA already had already signed a six-year data distribution deal with Sportradar and Second Spectrum in 2016 worth a  reported  $250 million over the life of the agreement. Sportradar is arguably best known outside of the U.S. for providing data for and monitoring gambling activity abroad.  Yet, the NBA was also able to sign MGM Resorts to a three-year deal worth a  reported  minimum of $25 million. Why would MGM agree to this deal given the NBA’s previous relationship with Sportradar. Both MGM and Sportradar can credibly say they have official NBA data. However, MGM can only use the data in  its  “domestic resorts and mobile sports-betting apps” while Sportradar can  provide  “data and audio-visual game feeds to gaming operators outside of the United States.”  These two agreements demonstrate how the NBA can monetize the same data in multiple relationships. This is exceedingly rare in the sports industry where exclusive deals mean that only one company can benefit from their relationship with their rights holders. While both MGM and Sportradar derive clear benefits from their relationships with the league, the NBA is arguably the biggest winner. It is a blueprint that other leagues are likely to follow to maximize revenue from gambling partnerships.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

NBA Makes A Good Bet On Gambling Sponsorship

One of the biggest challenges in the era of big data is monetization. How do you monetize information at a time when so much data is being created? One answer to that question is to find an immediate use case where the information an organization generates addresses a critical business challenge. That is exactly what the NBA has done in its new deal making MGM Resorts its official gambling partner. This new relationship is generating significant attention because it is the first of its kind in a major professional sports league. Yet, that is really not the most significant component of this deal.

       Blockchain’s Potential Impact On Sports Media And Sponsorship   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Even though we have Block in our name, Block Six Analytics is not a blockchain company. However, we do see blockchain technology impacting our business in ways that are likely to surprise many in the sports industry. More specifically, blockchain could alter sports media and sponsorship in counterintuitive ways.  To start, we will give a brief summary of what blockchain is as there several books, documentaries, and articles that can provide a fuller description. Let’s look at the area where blockchain first became famous – currency. For money to change hands, a buyer needs to submit a form of payment (i.e. cash, check, or digital payment) and the seller needs to receive the payment. A clearing house needs to ensure that a transaction only occurs once (i.e., a person does not use the same check for two different transactions) and that both parties can be involved in a transaction. Banks, credit card companies, and digital payments providers (e.g., PayPal) provide this service for a fee as private companies.  Blockchain technology, typically via cryptocurrency, changes this type of transaction. The way that cryptocurrency works is based on everyone in a network having a public and private cryptographic key. The public key serves like the routing and account number on a check. It lets everyone involved in the transaction know that a specific person that is making the transaction and is derived mathematically from a public key. The private key is like your signature on a check. Rather than writing a person’s name, the private key an extremely long series of numbers and letter that only that person knows and is  difficult to determine  by another person or computer. When a transaction occurs, high powered computers are  mining  the network for a new “block” (i.e. receipt of that transaction) by decrypting a “hash” (a complex series of letters and numbers). To incentivize mining in the network, the first computer in the network to successful mine a transaction receives a new portion of currency. Transactions all are recorded in a “public ledger” with unique blocks of transactions that include people’s public keys that can be seen by everyone in the network.      What does any of this have to do with sports? Cryptocurrency enables everyone in a network to trace every transaction by looking at the blocks in public ledgers. In sports, one of the most difficult things to track right now are tickets. When a team sells a ticket, it is a challenge to determine if a person used the ticket, sold the ticket on the secondary market (i.e., StubHub or SeatGeek), gave it to a friend, or did not use it at all. Advances in digital ticketing and Major League Baseball’s new relationship with  Clear  make this significantly easier. In particular, scanning tickets on a phone or letting fans “enter stadiums using fingerprints, and eventually, just their face, instead of tickets” makes it much easier for teams to track whom and when someone is using a ticket.  However, this still requires fans to opt-in to a team’s specific ticketing platform or to participate with a vendor like in Clear. If that does not occur, then a team will still have difficulty tracking a transaction, particularly if it occurs outside of its network. Blockchain for tickets will eliminate these issues because all transactions would be public and decentralized. Every team (and potentially their sponsors) could see every part of the transaction through the public ledger and track each part of the ticket’s journey through a block. This would potentially eliminate counterfeit tickets and payment processing because each ticket would be tracked no matter where it is sold. There are several  companies  currently exploring how to apply blockchain technology to tickets but are still in early stages.  Yet, ticketing may not be the most interesting application of blockchain technology in sports. In his recent book     Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy  , George Gilder argues that Google has helped to lead to the creation of the “aggregation and advertising” model as the primary way to monetize content. The reason is that there is so much content it is difficult to know who is consuming it or when it is being consumed at any time. In addition, people are not charged by the amount of content they consume. Therefore, content has ads in the form of banners, pop-ups, pre-roll, mid-roll, etc. that interrupt the experience or audiences have to go through an inefficient process to pay for content.  Sports is extremely susceptible to this problem particularly when comes to watching games. Historically, much of sports content has been free. The traditional way to consume a game is to have it “interrupted” by ad breaks or the “Playing Through” concept seen in NBC’S broadcast of the British Open where ads are run next to a live broadcast. In addition, customers of cable or satellite companies are not happy with the increase in their bills to pay for sports they may or may not be watching. As more content moves to digital and / or over the top (OTT) channels, consumers have to go through paywalls where people typically have to fill in their credit or banking information, pay a flat fee, and wait for the transaction to process.  Blockchain technology would eliminate most if not all of these issues with sports media in a way described in more detail in Gilder’s book. He states that Blockchain technology would enable the currency to become the “messenger” of content. More specifically, content would essentially contain an embedded code then, when accessed, would automatically charge the consumer. The transaction would be recorded in a public ledger in block format automatically and be tracked in a similar form to the way currency is tracked as described above.  Knowing and generating revenue for the content that people actually consume could be a boon to the sports industry. Sports content is still in high demand as demonstrated by how many of the  top-watched programs  every year are sporting events. Rights holders can not only charge people every time they consume content but also track exactly where the content is seen. This would make it extremely efficient to remove any illegal broadcasts or streams of content because teams, leagues, etc. would know exactly where that activity is occurring by examining the public ledger. In addition, audiences would have an easier time accessing content they want while watching shorter games because there would be less need for ad breaks. This likely would increase the number of people watching sporting events and increase revenue for rights holders and / or broadcasters as games become more popular over time.    Counterintuitively, this likely makes traditional sponsorship more valuable. Sponsors still want to reach large audiences that are engaged in content. If commercials are limited or eliminated completely then companies will need to activate within the content itself. Sports is already in position to do this via stadium signage and jersey logo activations. More specifically, sports audiences are already accustomed to seeing company signage and logo activation when watching games. It is not clear if that would be the case with other entertainment content as product or logo placements have received  mixed reviews . Therefore, “traditional” sponsorship can potentially be the most “lucrative” asset in a blockchain content world.  Blockchain is still in its very early stages, both inside and outside of the sports industry. We are still a long way from blockchain impacting ticketing sales let alone media and sponsorship. However, blockchain does provide the opportunity for sports organizations to develop novel solutions to many of the industry’s most pressing challenges.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Blockchain’s Potential Impact On Sports Media And Sponsorship

Even though we have Block in our name, Block Six Analytics is not a blockchain company. However, we do see blockchain technology impacting our business in ways that are likely to surprise many in the sports industry. More specifically, blockchain could alter sports media and sponsorship in counterintuitive ways.

       What Is Managed Should Be Measured In Sponsorship   BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Famed management consultant and professor Peter Drucker is arguably most well-known for the  axiom , “What gets measured gets managed.” That is one reason why the results of a recent study of sports partnerships by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) are so surprising. The ANA found that  only  “37% of respondents reported having a standardized process for measuring their return on sponsorship.”  These results are the complete opposite of what Drucker would advise for the way that sponsorships are being managed. Sponsorship sales have increased 22% in 2018 since a 2013 ANA study. The billions of dollars being spent on sponsorships requires that buyers and sellers have people whom manage each phase of the process including (but not limited to) sales, account management, and activation. So why are so few sponsorships being measured?  One answer is that most current metrics do not answer a basic question: Why is a specific sponsorship valuable to a specific company? In standard financial asset valuation, there are typically three approaches used to determine how much something is worth. They are:   Comparable Valuation – What are other companies paying for the same asset?  Relative Valuation – What is a common ratio that can be applied to the same type of asset?  Inherent Valuation – What is the asset supposed to produce?   The problem is that most current metrics used in the sports industry commonly have been dependent on the first two approaches. In particular, relative valuation is used as the backbone of many analyses. Common relative valuation metrics are:   Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)  Cost per engagement (CPE)  Cost per click (CPC)  Cost per acquisition (CPA)   The challenge with these relative valuation metrics is that they are reliant on volume. The more impressions, engagements, etc. an asset produces then the more value that is generated for a partner. The problem with this idea is that having a higher volume does not always equal more value.  The most common example we use to explain this at Block Six Analytics (B6A) is the difference between a business-to-consumer (B2C) company vs. a business-to-business (B2B) company. B2C companies typically do want to reach larger audiences because their revenue is usually dependent on a large number of individuals making small purchasing decisions. B2B companies have the opposite challenge in that they have a small number of customers making large purchasing decision. For B2B companies, targeting the relatively few buyers making these enterprise-wide decisions is significantly more important than reaching a large audience.  This situation shows why different companies would receive different value from the  same sponsorship asset . Yet, a relative (or a comparable) valuation approach would not capture this difference. The question becomes: why measure sponsorship if we cannot determine how valuable an asset is for each company.  An inherent valuation approach can answer this question. More specifically, a sponsorship asset should produce two things:   Return on Investment (ROI) – does the asset maximize the probability of a company increasing its top-line revenue.  Return on Objectives (ROO) - does the asset maximize the probability of a company increasing its brand engagement, sentiment, and / or awareness.   One natural question is: what does maximize the probability mean? The answer is: does the asset reaching the right people with the right message in the right channel. Right then is defined by: are these people likely to increase a company’s ROO and ROI. Each company will have different “right” people based on the products, services, goods, etc. it is trying to sell. That is why different assets can and should have different values to do different companies.  ROO is also an important element in this type of analysis. For customers to make a purchasing decision, they often have to know and have a positive relationship with a brand. Companies have the flexibility to determine how much to weigh ROI and ROO by using a more inherent valuation based approach.  One of the other common challenges to standardizing valuation is that most relative metrics are created from a media or digital perspective. How does a quantity-based approach apply to something like corporate hospitality or events that typically have much smaller audiences and are becoming a bigger component of sponsorship spend?  An inherent based valuation approach also answers this question. Because it is focused on ROI and ROO, an inherent valuation can more effective determine how much these types of assets are worth. More specifically, an asset should be more valuable if the customers that generate the most revenue are spending more time with the sponsorship partner in a unique environment that generates positive brand associations.  An inherent valuation can be more difficult to complete and can require  expertise  in financial analysis. In particular, both buyers and sellers (and agencies that work with both) have to pursue a deeper dive into a company’s data and information to learn what drives ROI and ROO. Yet, despite the difficulties, this is the approach that most likely will provide the answer to the question of how much a sponsorship asset is worth to a specific company. Knowing the answer to that question ensures that sponsorships are both effectively managed and measured.  

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

What Is Managed Should Be Measured In Sponsorship

Famed management consultant and professor Peter Drucker is arguably most well-known for the axiom, “What gets measured gets managed.” That is one reason why the results of a recent study of sports partnerships by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) are so surprising. The ANA found that only “37% of respondents reported having a standardized process for measuring their return on sponsorship.” So why are so few sponsorships being measured?

      Giving The Companies What They Want For Sponsorship Valuation  BY ADAM GROSSMAN     

 
   
     
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
      
       
         
            
            
         
       
     
   
      Multiple people sent B6A a copy of AdAge’s most recent post  titled  “MARKETERS DEMAND MORE (AND MORE) FOR SPORTS SPONSORSHIPS.” This article focuses on Anheuser-Busch InBev's (AB InBev’s) new approach to sponsorship  where  “leagues and other so-called rights holders get paid more if they reach certain goals, like making the playoffs.”  The reason that AB InBev is implementing this strategy reflects a fundamental shift in how partners approach the space. In particular, partners want to know the answer to this question: Why is a specific sponsorship good for my specific company? For  AB InBev , “Fans of winning teams buy more tickets—and ultimately more beer.” With its relationship with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team will be paid more if market share in Minneapolis and St. Paul jumps over the next 12 months.  Having sponsorship tied to the specific revenue and marketing goals of each partner is at the  heart of B6A’s approach to sponsorship valuation . Our technology and analytics are specifically designed to answer the questions that companies like AB InBev are asking. It is why so many people sent us this post.  However, there are some key differences in our approach versus AB InBev’s when it comes to valuation. Having sponsorship tied to on-field, on-court, on-ice, etc. performance goals is a strategy that may or may not work well for partners as we have discussed  here . In this specific case, AB InBev has the right approach because winning does appear to drive sales for their products (at least inside the Target Center, where the Timberwolves play).  Yet, relying on sales outcomes is not always the best approach when looking at sponsorship ROI, even when examining it from a revenue perspective. In the AB InBev example, the company appears to be looking at the results (or dependent variable) rather than looking at the process (or independent variable) that could be causing the results.   More specifically, how does AB InBev know if increases in market share in the Twin Cities has to do with the Timberwolves? If the share goes up but there is no direct attribution to the team then does it still get rewarded?  What if the Timberwolves do everything right but sales do not increase because of external factors? For example, what if there is an unusually cold winter in Minneapolis (which would be saying something) and people buy less beer because they are less likely to go to the store. This has nothing to do with whether the Timberwolves activated the sponsorship directly but the team could still be penalized for not increasing sales.   B6A’s approach focuses on maximizing the probability of success from both a revenue and brand perspective. Each company has different business goals, customer types, and brand metrics that are important to them. Is the rights holder putting a company in the best position to target the right people at the right time with the right message to increase customer acquisition, customer retention, brand perception, brand awareness, and / or brand sentiment?  In addition, is the company receiving a lift on these core metrics by partnering with a rights holder above and beyond what it could receive on its own or potentially through other opportunities?  It is certainly possible that AB InBev could have put something similar to this approach in place and it was not reported in the AdAge post. The larger point is that AB InBev is asking the right question that is becoming the industry standard – How does this partnership specifically benefit my company? Rights holders and agencies need to be able to answer this question and B6A can help with the solution.

BY ADAM GROSSMAN

Giving The Companies What They Want For Sponsorship Valuation

Multiple people sent B6A a copy of AdAge’s most recent post titled “MARKETERS DEMAND MORE (AND MORE) FOR SPORTS SPONSORSHIPS.” This article focuses on Anheuser-Busch InBev's (AB InBev’s) new approach to sponsorship where “leagues and other so-called rights holders get paid more if they reach certain goals, like making the playoffs.” The reason that AB InBev is implementing this strategy reflects a fundamental shift in how partners approach the space. In particular, partners want to know the answer to this question: Why is a specific sponsorship good for my specific company?

      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?