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@MiamiHEAT + #TriviaTuesday = Savvy Social Media Marketing Strategy

April 27, 2011

Last night, while simultaneously reading for finals, watching the Flyers game 7, and surfing on the Internet, I came across two interesting Tweets that turned out to be a savvy social media building, fan interactive, marketing technique.  The Tweets came from @MiamiHEAT and they read:

“Busy day getting ready for tomorrow’s Game 5. Found 3 pairs of tix, so why not do a little #TriviaTuesday for them! Anyone interested?” and “Must answer w/ a reply 2 @MiamiHEAT. Must use hashtag #TriviaTuesday. 1st correct answer (FIRST & LAST Name) wins. Only 1 prize per person.”

Over the course of the next 10 minutes the Heat Twitter asked 3 questions involving the Miami Heat playoff history.  As I replied to these Tweets with potential answers, I realized how valuable #TriviaTuesday really was.

In today’s social media crazed environment, the goal is to get as many potential customers (Twitter followers in this case) as possible in order to reach the greatest number of potential customers in advertisement (Tweet).  Potential customer doesn’t mean just any person, but rather people who would be interested in your product enough to spend time or money on it.  The Heat did just that by simply asking Heat related questions on their Heat twitter account.  They also created both goodwill and interest by creating a fun way to give away free prizes.  Who doesn’t like trivia and free stuff?  Furthermore, this one act, like many others, will create a ripple effect and be magnified due to its nature.  I am sure that the recipients of the tickets will tell their friends about how they got the tickets, which will in turn lead to increased goodwill and more Twitter followers for the Heat.

The goal of most mass marketing efforts is to increase your (1) reach – the total number of people in your target market who hear a promotion, and (2) frequency – how many times one person in your target market hears a promotion.  #TriviaTuesday by @MiamiHEAT increased both their reach and frequency, in addition to creating goodwill and interest among their target audience.  The Heat created a fun, interactive, fan focused way to get their audience involved.  And the best part is that it only cost them 6 tickets, that may or may not have been sold anyway, whose price will be made up in food and beverage purchases at the game.  The next time you are not doing anything on Tuesday night around 9:00pm, after reading this article, I bet that you’ll be on your Twitter account waiting to win free prizes courtesy of the Miami Heat.

– Michael

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NFL Draft Sponsorship Is Not Scared Away By Labor Strife

April 26, 2011

This years NFL draft is going to be different than any other, for better or worse.  For one, it is taking place during a contentious labor situation, which is creating uncertainty about draft day demeanor, trades, support, appearances, and hype.  Despite this challenge, many teams, players, potential draft picks, and sponsors have blocked this out and proceeded as if the lockout is a non-factor.  Sponsors have teamed with the NFL to create new ways to sponsor the draft, getting their brands, former NFL players, and NFL fans involved in creative ways.

Last year, the league made a dramatic change to the draft, and it seems to have paid off.  Formerly, the draft was held over the weekend, with rounds 1-3 on Day 1, Saturday, and rounds 4-7 on Day 2, Sunday.  This created a few problems.  1) All the exciting picks took place in 1 day, which left people uninterested in the 2nd day.  2) The draft was too long, and people lost interest.  Therefore, the NFL spread out the Day 1 (rounds 1-3) picks into 2 days, shortened the minutes per pick in later rounds, and moved the draft to take place during primetime with round 1 on Thursday night and rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night.  This allowed the league to move rounds 4-7 to Saturday and solved many of their problems.  The weekday, primetime shift seems to have worked better than expected as it attracted over 10 million viewers last year.  Additionally, this year there is more interest in the draft and more sponsors than ever, despite the looming lockout.

Sponsors have not only lined up to participate in the draft, but they have also created new ways to get involved.  Some new sponsorship techniques include Anheuser-Busch (A-B) sponsoring the entire 2nd round using NFL legends to deliver the picks.  Bud Light will get on-air mentions during this round as well as part of the deal.  Additionally, the players will make appearances on behalf on A-B in NYC leading up to the draft.  Furthermore, A-B is implementing a Facebook-based sweepstakes offering $10 million for anyone who correctly predicts all 32 first-round picks in the proper order, although this is highly unlikely.

Verizon has another draft sweepstakes in which 3 fans will get the chance to announce a team’s pick in the 3rd round.  Points-of-sale, ads on Verizon’s subscription-based NFL Mobile service, and retired player appearances at retail stores will support the effort.  Another sponsor, EA Sports, is set to reveal its cover athlete on a national, primetime stage, which is being selected via fan vote for it’s “Madden NFL 12” video game. The winner will be announced on a smaller stage on ESPN’s SportsNation on Wednesday, then on the bigger, national, stage during the first round, where EA will simultaneously be holding a draft day event in Times Square.

It is clear that the NFL draft wont be the same this year, but not for the reasons you would think.  Sure, there is a potential lockout threat, but sponsors are not worried about that.  Sponsors saw the increase in viewers last year due to the move from the weekend to prime time, and sponsors expect the lockout to actually get more fans intrigued by the draft.  The NFL found a way to get more people to watch the draft, and, in turn, sponsors have responded favorable by finding new ways to get their names out their, the draft exciting, and fans involved.  These were great moves by both the NFL and it’s sponsors and I am looking forward to the new feel of the NFL draft.

– Michael

Weekend Outlook – April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011

Welcome to another edition of the Weekend Outlook! Each week, we connect with our friends on Twitter and ask them what they’re following in sports and entertainment during the weekend. Here are the answers. A record number this week! 41!

Russell Scibetti: “NHL Playoffs (and maybe some NBA too), the Dodgers “takeover” and hopefully a baseball game or two!”

Steve Seiferheld: “Not the best#WeekendOutlook, is it? Probably #MLB, maybe #NBA playoffs. Installing a doorknob.”

Darren Heitner: “Hope the #MiamiHeat close out the series & give Haslem some time to prep for the Celtics.”

Caleb Mezzy: “Mostly #MLBand the #Phillies. Hoping to see Roy rebound on Sunday. Got tons of work to do.”

Kristi Dosh: “I’ll be writing about possible BCS antitrust case”

Peter Amador: “any new developments in the dodgers situation, but mostly shutting it down to enjoy friends and family in San Diego.”

Craig Moore: “T-ball and little league. Cause that’s how we roll.”

Ed Kiernan: “@NBAHoops a little @MLB @Yankees and lot’s of #EasterCandy :)”

Rob Katz: “MLB (Marlins, Rays playing well), NBA & NHL playoffs. News on NFL labor, draft, McCourt”

AskAnNFLAgent: “Watching the Orlando Magic play the Hawks the rest of the #NBA and #NFL playoffs and attending a charitable gala tonight”

Andy Eason: “NBA Playoffs!! Lining up speakers for SPELA at OCU Law. Oh, and studying for this little thing called finals.#WeekendOutlook

Mike Hopper: “Hoping for an even Knicks/Celts series by the end of the weekend ”

Mike Mahoney: “Watching Gruden’s QB Show in #NFLDraft prep excitement, NHL Playoffs, Heritage PGA Tour #weekeendoutlook

Blair Zackon: “@OhioStFootball Spring Game, @MiamiHEAT closing out the 76ers, my @CanadiensMTL and the rest of the @NHL playoffs#WeekendOutlook

Jason Manola: “#WeekendOutlook 1 Week till the NFL Draft, Bulls (everyone is hating on them #underdogs ), Cubbies & hopefully a win by the Hawks”

J.W. Cannon: “#NHL/#NBA playoffs – waiting for inevitable lawnchair-esque collapse of #Capitals & #Hawks

Eric Winchel: “As the great Jim Mora once said “playoffs!, playoffs!!!!”

Excel Sports: “Jeter (Yankees vs Baltimore) @paulpierce34 (celtics vs knicks) @RealLamarOdom (lakers vs Hornets) @THANS50(pacers vs bulls) & more!”

Andrew Fine: “With my Wings resting up, its time to focus on my last place fantasy baseball teams and see if I can up their game!#weekendoutlook

Steven Cushnan: “Rugby league in Leeds, EPL + park baseball/soccer in the sun on Sunday…oh and hope the #NYR stay alive!#weekendoutlook

David Canter: “Excited for last weekend of NFL draft nonsense before its finally here and over with”

sportsattitudes: “I love this idea! NBA all weekend long…first round lot more interesting than many thought would be.”

Lou Imbriano: “the B’s & the C’s Enjoy you weekend gents.”

Justin Kamm: “NBA Playoffs”

Chadd Scott: “Georgia Tech spring game & trip to GA Aquarium!”

Lee Lloyd: “My son and I are going to Chapel Hill to cheer for the#UNC @DiamondHeels against @CanesBaseball#GoHeels!”

Dave Cutler: “Mostly the #NBA playoffs. How about yourself?”

Joe Briggs: “NBA playoffs. Draft talking heads. and the easter egg hunt.”

Carson McKee: “#weekendoutlook has #NHLplayoffs top of mind”

Reid Brignac: “watching a lil basketball”

Sam Renaut: “Reading up on the litany of football-related lawsuits and gearing up for the NFL Draft. #WeekendOutlook

Deandra Duggans: “NBA Playoffs and a little NFL draft chatter ;-)”

Mike O’Hara: “There are no dumb questions. I’ll be on baseball and hanging with some family for Easter Sunday. And That’s ALWAYS entertaining.”

Ralph Cindrich: “Nothing”

Dustin Long: “previews for#UFC 129, Mets, Knicks, catching up on #netflix queue and#cooking for Easter!”

Jonathan Norman: “Other than some MLB action, taking time for family this weekend and thanking God for His blessings!”

Here’s what ESLS members are following:

Brandon Shore: “Heat sweep, Marlins getting to the top of NL East, and all the last minute NFL draft chatter #WeekendOutlook

Michael Rubenstein: “Phillies have 3 more in San Diego.. Sixers trying to avoid the sweep.. Flyers need 2 more vs. Buffalo.. Busy weekend for Philly fans”

Jenna Kochen: “NBA playoffs!! Hopefully the HEAT can sweep.”

Shelby Nathans: “my #WeekendOutlook calls for lots of studying. I’ll probably check out tonight’s @NationwideNNS race in Nashville”

Jon Ellin: “hawks playoffs, braves baseball, and doing a lot of studying.”

I’m going to be watching the Hawks v. Magic. NBA playoffs this weekend for me.

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend! Thank you to all that contributed and helped make a great Weekend Outlook! Record number of responses this week!

– Jason

Chris Lyons Creating a New Type of Law Practice

April 21, 2011

Chris Lyons is a Miami-based attorney and a friend of the Entertainment & Sports Law Society. His practice was recently profiled in the Daily Business Review. In the article, he describes the development of a “sports concierge law firm,” a concept he described at our 14th Annual Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium in March 2011. Enjoy the article and the profile. You can find it by clicking here.

– Jason

Did ESPN Stop Short In Disclosing Corporate Endorsements of On-Air Talent?

April 18, 2011

Have you ever been interested in the different endorsements that ESPN commentators are involved with? Recently, there was an uproar about the relevancy of corporate affiliations of ESPN’s on-air talent when it was made public that the crew of ESPN College Gameday had deals with Nike (I wrote about it here). Now, ESPN has released a list of “relevant, approved” endorsements for its commentators.

It’s an interesting list, and one that has a specific purpose – to allow the ESPN viewer to know the sports-related corporate relationships that on-air talent enjoy. ESPN wants every viewer to be able to make his or her own judgment when deciding whether a commentator’s opinion is skewed by his or her corporate endorsements. The list is noticeably incomplete, for not every ESPN personality or known deal are represented. For example, Dick Vitale’s deal with Hooters is not included? Presumably, this is not relevant in the eyes of ESPN because “relevant, approved endorsements include those with companies that have ties to the sports world.”

This is ESPN’s self-defined term, but should relevant, approved endorsements look at a broader picture? ESPN’s definition of “ties to the sports world” seems to mean that the company provides apparel or equipment in the sports world. This is too narrow of a view, isn’t it? For example, Erin Andrews just did a campaign with Diet Mountain Dew, a Pepsi brand. Pepsi has the naming rights for the Pepsi Center in Denver which is home to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche among others. Pepsi seems to have relevant ties to the sports world with such a large investment. Pepsi also has a relationship with the NFL. We know those funny Pepsi MAX commercials. Did you know that Pepsi also sponsors the NFL Rookie of the Year award? This is a separate award from the Offensive Rookie of the Year and the Defensive Rookie of the Year as voted on by the Associated Press.

Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Production, wrote last week that new guidelines related to endorsements for on-air talent and the publishing of the list serve in “protecting the integrity of [the] relationship” between sports fans and ESPN. If that is the goal, why ignore companies such as Pepsi just because they don’t make apparel or equipment?

– Jason

Weekend Outlook – April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011

It’s Weekend Outlook time! Hope that the week has been good to you, and you’re ready for Saturday and Sunday. Each Friday, I ask the society’s friends on Twitter what they’re following during the weekend. I compile the answers right here for all to see. Enjoy!

Kristi Dosh: “I’m doing some more college athletics finance research for a couple of upcoming Forbes pieces I’m writing.”

AskAnNFLAgent: “Watching #NBA playoffs all weekend, a client in Arena football tonight on #NFL Network. Some #NHLPlayoffs. Setting up a blog, maybe”

Mike Hopper: “NY Knicks playoffs and checking out the @MLBFanCave

Darren Heitner: “Start of NBA Playoffs, increasing #NFLDraft coverage, & NBA agent signings.”

Steve Seiferheld: “NBA playoff ratings. Will they continue the trend of strong ratings across sports? #sportsbiz

Caleb Mezzy: “More Phillies baseball. How’d your Braves do last weekend? Anything going on in entertainment?”

Chris Freet: “Spring Game & #2001NatlChampsCelebration. Plus social media integration during the #NBAPlayoffs

Tim McGhee: “Yankees baseball & #NASCAR

Andrew Fine: “NHL playoffs & Michigan spring game for sure. And at some point – Scream 4.”

Jay Acunzo: “The long awaited return of the #Knicks in the playoffs, and posting about live blogging to BlogDontLie.com!”

Steven Cushnan: “FA Cup Semi Finals, #NHL and #NBA Playoffs, should be fantastic. Have a great weekend #WeekendOutlook

Peter Amador: ” I’m following @SportsTechieNET @tpmcghee@Sponczar @KyleStack and looking forward to @NBA playoff tv ratings.”

Andy Eason: “Opening night for the OKC Redhawks, watching the Mavs and Celtics, all while studying and competing in moot court.#WeekendOutlook

Edwin Mejia: “Real Madrid v. Barcelona and Celtics v. Knicks”

David Schwab: “Very interested to see ratings of Lemonade Mouth on Disney Channel tonight at 8p http://bit.ly/iemfX8

Chadd Scott: “#auburn #noles #vols #bama #uga spring fb games”

Lee Lloyd: “Attending the home opener of the #MiLB #Greensboro#Grasshoppers tonight. #LetsGoToTheHop

Eric Winchel: “the disgrace that is my NY Mets and playoff hawkey

Carson McKee: “#NHL #NBA Playoffs”

Rob Katz: “NBA playoffs, any news frm NFL talks, MLB & hoping this front misses Richmond for 11u baseball tourn”

Jonathan Norman: “@NASCAR at Talladega. @NBA playoffs. @TheJordanBrand Classic from Charlotte. Oh, and my kids in the backyard!”… “Will be watching @NASCAR from ‘Dega, @MLBNetwork(love that channel), FA Cup soccer, NHL and NBA playoffs. Lots of channelsurfing.”

Excel Sports: “NBA Playoffs Round 1!”

Ed Kiernan: “Heading to The Bronx to catch my Yankees!! #WeekendOutlook #sportsbiz

Joshua Boren: “NBA & NHL Playoffs (Go Wings!), El Clasico, MLS & Talladega.”

Blaire Zackon: “@NHL Playoffs, esp. @CanadiensMTL, @MiamiHEATvs. 76ers, UM Spring Game, and Real Madrid vs. Barcelona#WeekendOutlook #sportsbiz

Schuyler Baehman: “Stanley Cup Playoffs – Continued action in Round 1.”

Here’s what ESLS members are following:

Brandon_Shore: “I’ll be at Game 1 of Heat series. Real season starts now!#WeekendOutlook

Shelby Nathans: “w/ an oral arg and outlining, not a lot of free time, but I’ll check out #NASCAR at Talladega to see “the big one.”#WeekendOutlook

Mike Rubenstein: “Sixers vs. Heat and the rest of the NBA Playoffs.. I waited all year for this”

As for me, I’ll be following the Braves first and foremost. They need to rebound this weekend, and who better to do it against than the Mets. Sorry, Eric! Of course, close eye will be on the NBA playoffs and the NHL playoffs.

Another great week of responses! This is a great part of the blog, and I always enjoy reaching out on Fridays and being in contact with all the contributors to the Weekend Outlook. As it’s become a longer list, it’s become more fun. I’ll keep posting them as long as they keep coming in!

Have a great weekend! Have fun with your games, your shows, your films, and those who you’re spending time with. Speak to you Monday!

– Jason

Miami Heat Promote Sponsors, Increase Loyalty, and Create Buzz by Giving Away Free Shoes

April 14, 2011

As a Miami Heat season ticket holder, I frequently receive e-mails from the team regarding upcoming games, season ticket holder events, and other Heat related information.  This time of the year, things have picked up a little bit due to the renewal of next year’s season tickets and purchasing playoff tickets as well.  I recently received an e-mail from the team that stuck out in a great way.  The e-mail read:

“In appreciation for using your American Express® Card to renew your HEAT Season Tickets, American Express and the HEAT are happy to reward you with your very own pair* of the all-new “JORDAN FLY WADE,” Dwyane Wade’s first signature shoe from the Jordan Brand. You have the opportunity to receive Dwyane’s first signature Jordan shoes, without waiting in long lines or camping out the night before launch day!”

After going nuts for a few minutes and signing up for the new shoes, I did and thought about a few things that made me realize just how valuable these “free” shoes were for the team, its sponsors, its players, and its upcoming playoff run.

Normally, giving away free shoes is seen as a negative for a company.  Giving away anything for free loses revenue right off the bat.  However, this is not the case at all in this situation due to the following reasons.  After getting the email, I immediately posted a picture and article about the complementary shoes on Facebook and Twitter, and told many of my friends about the free shoes.  I also am currently writing a blog about it as well to spread the word even further.  This type of word of mouth publicity is huge for the companies mentioned in the email, the Heat and American Express, and the player and company who were involved in creating and promoting the shoe, Dwayne Wade and Nike and it’s Jordan brand.  One free shoe in exchange for a blog post, a tweet, a Facebook post, me bragging to my friends about the Heat and the shoes, and a free walking advertisement of the shoe.  That’s pretty good value.  Not only is word-of-mouth advertisement, in many cases, the best and most trusted form of advertisement, but it only cost them one shoe and it served as a great form of advertisement for four related companies. In one fell swoop, all of these entities helped each other and got relatively free promotions.  They get the word out about their team, credit card, and new shoe, not to mention allowing the fan receiving the shoe to try their new product and rave about it being free.  You cannot put a price on this type of value and the companies knew it.  They knew that everyone who received these shoes would do something similar to what I did and that the value of this “free” shoe would actually end up being priceless.

This one act created excitement and buzz for the product, the company, the team, and the player.  This was a great strategy employed by the Heat. It makes the sponsors feel like they are more than just ordinary sponsors. The team leverages their relationship through these creative and unique give-a-ways and advertisements in order to strengthen their bond and advertise their brands.  It also gets more people to use the sponsor’s services or wear their sponsors products.  Next, it makes the players feel like the team views them as more than just employees because the team is willing to help them on and off the court by doing things such as promoting their other ventures. Lastly, it makes the season ticket holders feel like they are getting more than just season tickets from the Heat, literally and figuratively.  This makes the fans feel like they are a part of the team, and part of the Heat family.  This, in turn, increases commitment and loyalty to the team and gets the fans even more excited for the upcoming playoffs and next season.  Giving away free shoes, which could be seen as bad business, turned out to be a huge win-win for the team, its sponsors, its players, and its fans.

– Michael