Interactive Banner Ads


Jim Kahler is the Executive Director of the Center of Sports Administration at Ohio University. He accepted the position in December of 2005 and oversees the day-to-day operation of the Center that carries forward the university's pioneering tradition in sports management education. The Center links faculty, students and alumni to sports-related organizations and businesses, emphasizing research and harnessing knowledge to benefit the industry.

As social and digital media continue to  grow in the sports business industry I have often found myself asking  one question as our students  continue to research  banner ads on team web sites  … Why aren’t  brands taking greater advantage  to make these ads interactive ?  I recently heard an expert in the field of digital media quote an alarming stat,   “Proportionally, you have a better chance of surviving a plane crash than getting someone to hit a link on your banner ad.” 


“You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad.” – Solve Media

While I wholeheartedly agree with this statement I do believe it’s time for the creative departments with some of the top brands around the world to go back to school. Your clients have made significant investments with sports properties and you now have an opportunity to activate your sponsorships with a more meaningful call to action. Don’t look at banner ads as just impressions that can be measured but rather as an opportunity waiting to be activated. 

One of my favorite sports properties to keep an eye on is the University of Michigan Men’s Basketball Team. My son Pete is the Director of Basketball Operations at Michigan and with the season now underway it was time to check in on the team’s web site. Today I found what I have been looking with a best practice for our graduate students with a well-designed   banner ad presented by The Principle Financial Group. The ad takes advantage of assets the company must have negotiated for with its new sponsorship with the Big 10 Conference. 


Snapshot of The Principal’s Banner Ad taken from the Big 10’s web site.

This creative went from being a simple banner ad to an interactive promotion where Big 10 football fans could enter for a chance to win a trip to this year’s championship game. Once you connect to the link the contest is short, simple and requires name, email, age, and your favorite team to enter. You also receive the opportunity to agree to receive future communications from The Principle (permission based marketing) and must agree to the official rules (Does anyone ever read the official rules for a sweepstakes?).

Research on Online Sweepstakes with Teams/Sponsors

I remember doing some consulting several years ago for a client who had evidence that fans of sports teams are 85% more likely to keep the check in the box when being offered additional promotional offers from the team and its sponsors. 


Snapshot of The Principals’ registration form with its Big 10 Football Promotion

Being a self-proclaimed sports sponsorship geek I went ahead and agreed to receive future communication to see how The Principle would reach back to me. The Principle promptly sent me a simple email that included the following:

  • A thank you note for entering the contest
  • A free playbook to help me with my retirement plans
  • Opportunity to get introduced to one of their representatives (Soft sell approach was most appreciated with a link to help me find their nearest agent in Athens. OH)
  • Notice and opportunity to enter the contest as often as  once per week

Kudos to everyone that must have worked together on this promotion including CBS, The Principal and Big 10 Conference. If you’re looking for other best practices on interactive sweepstakes offers I would highly recommend looking at  CBS as they now have the critical mass that major brands are looking for and experience building one to one relationships with sports fans across college sports.

Brian Gainor - Climbing the Ladder in Sports

Partnership Activation's Brian Gainor spoke at the 2009 Ohio University Sports Business Forum about creating a comprehensive plan to guide one's career in the sports industry. The presentation was part of a terrific event, put on by the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration, that featured some of the sharpest minds in the sports indusy.

Gainor touched on six key points throughout his presentation:

  • Think of Yourself as a Brand
  • Understand the Sports Landscape
  • Networking is Not an Option
  • Get as Much Experience as Fast as You Can
  • Learn. Learn. Learn. - Education is Key
  • Do the Little Things That Make a Big Difference

Watch the presentation below:

Check out some recaps (and hopefully videos soon) of the event's other speakers:

If you are considering going to graduate school to further your sports business career, Ohio University should rank at the top of your list.

Why Ohio University?

1. The Curriculum: The MBA/MSA combination
The two-year MBA/MSA program prepares students for leadership positions by combining the business teaching of the Ohio University MBA program with sport-specific knowledge during the MSA program. This degree combination recognizes the growing complexity of the sports, facility and entertainment industries, and reinforces Ohio University's commitment to preparing students for the leadership challenges of the future.

The MBA phase of the program uses a problem-based learning style, immersing students in collaborative projects and working situations that are commonplace in the business world. Students learn basic business concepts in a real-life context, and develop skills in communication, collaboration and teamwork that are essential for success, while developing their ability to be creative, take initiative, and accept personal responsibility for their actions.

The MSA program combines classroom and practical experience to prepare individuals for leadership positions in the sport industry. An interdisciplinary approach gives students the freedom to choose courses of personal interest and build a foundation of knowledge in their desired career fields.

2. SAFM Alumni Network
More than 85 percent of Ohio University's 1,200 graduates are employed in key positions within intercollegiate athletics, professional sports, public assembly facilities, sports tours, motor sports, corporate sports organizations, sports media, and the entertainment industries. The loyalty of their alumni and the reputation of the program translate into a wide variety of excellent internship and employment opportunities. 

3. Practical Learning Opportunities
Learning also take places outside the classroom as students work on class projects, such as the program’s annual alumni symposium and various opportunities offered by the Ohio University Athletic Department.

4. International Diversity
The program’s reputation has grown on both the national and international levels, attracting students from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, India, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Taiwan and Thailand. Our international diversity provides a valuable perspective as the sport industry becomes increasingly globalized.

The Ohio University Sports Ad Symposium

Are you considering attending graduate school to guide your career in sports? Are you looking to learn, network, and engage with some of the finest professionals in the sports business industry?

Look no further than the MBA/MSA program offered by the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration. A program rich in tradition, the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration offers an incredible educational experience, an opportunity to tap into the 1,300 alums in the SAFM Network, practical learning opportunities, and international diversity.

With a 40-year history, the OU Center for Sports Administration continues to evolve, becoming increasingly global and more complex in its approach to business. If you have a moment, check out the impressive group of individuals representing the Class of 2009 and the Class of 2010.

This weekend, the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration is hosting its annual Symposium weekend, drawing the likes of 100+ alumni with a tremendous schedule of events:

  • Thursday Night
    • Social/Registration
    • Five (5) Year Panel (where alums who have been in the industry for five (5) years come back and share their experiences with students and fellow alums)
    • Keynote Presentation by Kevin White, Director of Athletics at Duke University
  • Friday
    • Golf Tournament
    • BBQ Cookout
    • Poker Tournament
  • Saturday
    • Ten (10) Year Panel
    • Keynote Presentation by Alice Petzold of the Wasserman Media Group
    • Legends Panel Discussion
    • Keynote Presentation by Len Perna, President and CEO of Turnkey Sports
    • Banquet Social
    • Banquet Dinner