The Winter 2014 Partnership Activation Newsletter

Welcome back to Partnership Activation! 

I'm excited to share this quarter's newsletter, an industry-leading resource showcasing sports marketing and sponsorship trends, insights, and best practices from across the world. 

Click here to purchase the Winter 2014 Partnership Activation Newsletter for $7.99

Love the newsletter? Please take a moment to share it with your friends and colleagues via email and social media using this shortened URL:

Also, please feel free to connect with me via Twitter (@BrianGainor), as I'd love to build an ongoing relationship.

Thanks, and enjoy! 


The Winter 2014 Partnership Activation Newsletter features a collection of topics, including:

  • Jersey Sponsorships (Inside)
  • 10+ Tips for Maximizing Your Productivity in 2014
  • Beacon Technology
  • Maximizing the Value of Social Media 
  • Using Humor in Promotions
  • Delivering 360 Degree Viewpoints
  • BMW - Winning Customers Over One Challenge at a Time
  • New Balance - Creating True Value for Loyalists
  • Mario Balotelli Making Headlines with Innovative Apparel Marketing
  • LED Retail Displays
  • Manchester City's Annual Santa Stroll Event
  • The Heineken Baseline After Party
  • PwC's Sports Outlook
  • The January 2014 Partnership Activation Rising Stars
  • The Golden State Warriors' #DubNation Night
  • Carlsberg's Activation Efforts
  • A Close Look at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic
  • 5 #SportsBiz Handles You Must Follow
  • 20+ C-Store Activation Ideas

XFINITY Offers a Chance to Win the Ultimate Sports Social Media Job

XFINITY recently launched a contest to hire an individual who will serve as the brand's voice in the sports social media space and go behind-the-scenes at some of the biggest nationwide sporting events in 2012, sharing exclusive insights and updates with fans. 

The contest, entitled “XFINITY Presents: The Ultimate Sports Social Media Job,” runs from January 11 through March 25 in search of the next sports social media star.

The winner will receive a one-year salary and will be responsible for tweeting from the @XFINITYSports Twitter handle on continual basis,  reporting live from premier sporting events throughout 2012, and educating and engaging avid sports fans in social media communities. In addition to live event access, the winner will also receive all the electronics for the ultimate sports pad, including televisions, home audio/video equipment, etc.


From January 13 - February 6, interested participants can submit a :30-2:00 video that demonstrates why they should win the Ultimate Sports Social Media Job based on their sports knowledge, social media expertise, personality, and passion for XFINITY products and services.


From February 9 - February 19, the top video submissions will be featured on the contest tab located on the official XFINITY Facebook page for fans to vote on. The video entrants that receive the Top 5 votes will advance to a finalist round where they will have an opportunity to travel to a live sports event and showcase their skills on-site.


Five (5) finalists will each travel to one (1) of (5) premier sports events the weekend of March 8-11 and will be asked to chronicle their live experiences behind-the-scenes via tweets, Facebook posts, video uploads, etc. A panel of judges will evaluate each of the performances - looking for which finalist does the best job showcasing his/her skills on-site! A winner will be selected by March 25th and will truly win the Ultimate Sports Social Media Job!

The contest will present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one (1) lucky consumer looking for a way to officially launch their career in sports and social media. Check it out by clicking the image below and enter a video submission for a chance to win!

 In full disclosure, the writer (Brian Gainor) worked directly with the XFINITY team to launch the XFINITY Presents: The Ultimate Sports Social Media Job contest. For contest rules and more information, head to the official XFINITY Facebook page here.

Guest Editorial: How Connecting Online Can Produce Real Business Value

Jonathan Norman is a sports sponsorship strategist for GMR Marketing, a major U.S. sports and event marketing firm. Jonathan has been in sports marketing and media for more than 10 years, and has worked on several major corporate branding campaigns around sports. His expertise resides in how brands reach consumers through sponsorship and activation of sports properties. Follow Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Norman and his official blog here.

The main ballroom at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square was filled last month with the best and the brightest from sports, as executives from the leagues, teams, networks, brands and agencies gathered for the annual Sports Business Awards. Outside the ballroom, there was a familiar scene. Colleagues and friends shared updates and insights that could lead to the next great idea in sports, and introductions were made that could lead to new partnerships that alter the sports landscape.

Networking is critical for our industry, and as many of you know, it’s expanded online significantly in the last five years. Portals such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other industry-specific social communication sites have changed the way we do business. With nearly 750 million accounts between the three major sites, the impact continues to grow.

Twitter has certainly found popularity among the sports industry in particular, as 42 percent of those surveyed in the 2010 SBJ/SBD Reader Survey are using the service, up six percentage points from the previous year. Assuming that our industry has a universe of 50,000 individuals domestically and internationally (a very round estimate), that would mean that at least 21,000 of us could be connecting on an hourly, daily or weekly basis on Twitter.

If we were to look at those Twitter users within the sports business community, we could likely classify them in three ways. I’ll call them “no-shows,” “lurkers” and “connectors.” No-shows are industry members who are not using Twitter. Lurkers are those who have a Twitter account, but use it only for keeping up with the news and conversation, rarely or never contributing. The connectors are those who are plugged in, both receiving and sharing information, all in a highly targeted way.

Each of these groups plays a role in sports business online, but all three have the opportunity to continue to build the community. For no-shows, it’s about getting onto the site, creating a handle and surveying the landscape — listening in. For lurkers, it’s about joining the conversation and interacting with the community — being engaged. If you’re a connector, you’ll want to continue to advocate for using Twitter and engage others to also connect — doing more. That’s where each of these will experience real value. If we look specifically at that value, it’s primarily fourfold. For ease, I’ll just call it the four C’s:

Connection: Twitter provides connection points with colleagues in real time, paired with the ability to network with individuals we don’t normally come across on a daily basis. There’s real value here: Tangible business relationships are formed every day through the medium.

Collaboration: Through these relationships and subsequent conversation on Twitter, we’re able to dissect important issues of the day as a group, each providing our own insights and opinions for the group to consider. While we all represent our own organizations and areas of business, we find opportunities to share valuable thoughts and ideas in an open forum.

Consideration: Through connection and collaboration, we have the opportunity to consider new ways of thinking from other areas of sport. While some may criticize Twitter as a means to erupt with short-sighted musings, it is also a way to read others’ opinions as they unfold, and possibly reconsider your own positions.

Current events: Twitter is increasingly becoming the go-to site for breaking news, whether it’s SportsBusiness Journal reporting a Pac-10 media deal or updates on the latest free agent signing. By simply following one of the many lists of sports business reporters, you can help eliminate the dreaded daily onslaught of Google Alerts.

Over the last three years, our industry has developed a subset of executives that actively participate on Twitter, primarily through the hashtag of #sportsbiz, which is a means of identifying conversations. About 800 users consistently use this identifier to stay up to date on news, share insights, connect with fellow professionals and become more engaged in our industry. This community has become one of the critical components of the ongoing education of sports business executives across the globe. The value of this group, and others built around the sports industry, is evidenced through their rapid growths.

Let it be said that the sports business forum on Twitter will never replace the value of working the ballroom and hallways at industry conferences. We need the face-to-face interactions that are the backbone of our industry. And to be fair, some of the criticisms of Twitter are rooted in the truth. While some of the early perceptions of the medium are well-founded (i.e., sharing what you had for lunch), Twitter has evolved and will continue to do so as business professionals embrace the channel. There’s little downside to joining the community.

By engaging through Twitter, we all share in the ability to be more informed and in tune with the sports business industry. It allows us to serve our clients and sponsor partners better and, in the end, further develop our own ability to collaborate and connect.

For smart sports professionals, I believe the choice is easy: We all have to develop an online networking game plan and execute it. Whether you’re a no-show, lurker or connector, commit to the plan and you’ll find rewarding interactions that have real business value.

50 Ways Sports Teams Fans Can Engage Fans on Facebook

Sports leagues and organizations are turning to Facebook to offer fans more content, access, and interactivity than ever before. As sports entities begin to fully understand the value of social media, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become critical channels in the marketing mix to promote messaging, drive participation and interest, and engage fans on a 24/7, 365 basis.

Teams can no longer rely on Wall posts, photos, and shareable videos to drive consumers to frequently visit their Facebook pages and stay for awhile. As a result, it's important that teams identify and share best practices in the social media space both internally and externally.  

Here are 50 creative ways that teams are engaging fans on Facebook outside the traditional elements:  

1. Fans Map - FC Barcelona (Find FC Barcelona fans across the world)

2. Real Madrid Avatars - Real Madrid (Fans can create their own virtual avatar)

3. Arsenal "Like the Players" - Arsenal FC (Fans can easily like all the players on the team)

4. Spread the Word - Manchester United (Fans can easily invite their friends to join the Manchester United Facebook Page  

5. Fountain Tire Shootout - Vancouver Canucks (Fans can play a virtual hockey game to win prizes and coupon vouchers)

6. 3-Point Play - Boston Celtics (Fans can compete in an interactive stats-related game to earn points)

7. Summer Salute - Team Lowe's Racing (Fans can post a military salute or message to troops overseas)

8. Polls / Quizzes - NASCAR (Fans can test their NASCAR IQ via a number of quizzes and polls)

9. NBA Ball of Fame - NBA (Fans can click on basketballs to relive famous moments from the NBA Finals)

10. NBA Turnstile - NBA (Fans can "check-in" to NBA games on Facebook to chat with fans, win tickets and merchandise, and earn badges)

11. Support Your Team on Facebook! - NFL (Fans can scroll through an interactive tab to see where their favorite team ranks in popularity and intensity amongst all teams and within conference/division).

12. Shopping - Liverpool FC (Fans can quickly scroll through ultimate shopping ideas and can get easy access to the team's mobile application) 

13. JetBlue FaceOff - Boston Bruins (Fans can access game information, play games, win prizes, and more)

14. Mavs Spirit Photo Upload - Dallas Mavericks (Fans can submit their best photo wearing Mavericks gear for the chance to have it featured on the team's Facebook page)

15. Fan Zone - New England Patriots (Fans can interact with polls, listen to live broadcasts, post comments, share virtual gifts, play trivia, and more)

16. Share Your Story - San Francisco 49ers (Fans can share why they are a Faithful Fan for the chance to be featured on 2011 season tickets or in a team commercial)

17. Tickets & Promotions - Philadelphia 76ers (Fans can closely follow current ticket specials and promotions using a tab integrated into the team Facebook page)

18. A Date with SFC - Seattle Sounders (Fans can watch video dating profiles of different players on Seattle Sounders FC and partake in a date auction via Ebay.

19. Guess the Kit - Tottenham Hotspur (Fans have to correctly guess what the team's new kit (uniform) will look like)

20. Broadcast Schedule - Portland Timbers (Fans can easily see which networks will be carrying the team's upcoming soccer matches)

21. Locker Room - Los Angeles Lakers (Fans can take a virtual tour of the Lakers locker room)

22. Flickr - Milwaukee Bucks (Fans can scroll through photos of the Bucks' gameday experience posted on their Official Flickr page)

23. U-Stream - Golden State Warriors (Fans can watch a live webcast with a Warriors player each day during Training Camp

24. - Portland Trail Blazers (Fans can watch exclusive interviews, shows, highlights, pre- and post-game shows, and more)

25. AC Milan Jersey - A.C. Milan (Fans can create their own virtual A.C. Milan Jersey (with a custom name and number) and share it on their Facebook wall)

26. Fantasy Manager - A.C. Milan (Fans can create and manage a virtual team of players and compete against friends for the chance to win team prizes)

27. Ice Dancers - Florida Panthers (Fans could vote on their favorite Ice Dancers in a bracket competition that gave away a free cruise!)

28. Stars Text Alerts - Dallas Stars (Fans can easily sign up to receive basic text alerts or student rush text alerts)

29. Leafs on YouTube - Toronto Maple Leafs (Fans can watch a series of YouTube clips directly within a tab on the team's Facebook page

30. Photo Pick-Up - Phoenix Suns (Fans can have their picture taken by Suns personnel at a game and retrieve it for free on the team's Facebook page)

31. Match of the Week - Sporting KC (Fans can receive in-depth information about a premier MLS game each week)

32. Meet the Team - Denver Nuggets (Fans can vote for their favorite players on the Nuggets by "liking" them on the interactive Facebook tab)

33. Letter to Fans - Buffalo Sabres (Fans can read a letter sent from the team's owner Terrence M. Pegula thanking them for their support)

34. Which Cap Are You Like? - Washington Capitals (Fans can take a quiz to see what Washington Capitals player they are the most like and win an autographed jersey)

35. Foursquare – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Fans can view the team’s Foursquare profile and access tips and insights on whose checked-in at Raymond James Stadium)

36. Draft Party Sweepstakes - Charlotte Bobcats (Fans can sign up on Facebook to win a VIP experience at the Bobcats Draft Party courtesy of Donatos Pizza)

37. Fan Forum – Dallas Cowboys (Fans can participate in an interactive forum where they can participate in a live discussion board)

38. Showcase – Sacramento Kings (Fans can scroll through to see all of the Kings’ hottest merchandise in their online team store up close)

39. Host UpClose Contest – Indianapolis Colts (Fans can upload a video of themselves hosting a sports segment for the chance to fly to Indianapolis and host a segment on Colts UpClose)

40. Scarf Yourself! – New York Red Bulls (Fans can add an official New York Red Bulls scarf to their profile picture and feature it on the team Facebook page)

41. Support – Atlanta Falcons (Fans can post questions/ideas/problems that they have and a Falcons customer representative addresses them for all fans to see on a live discussion board)

42. Give Your All – All Blacks (Fans can watch a series of vignettes where the All Blacks players talk about giving everything they’ve got when they enter the pitch)

43. Fan of the Week – Chicago Bears (Fans can submit a message/photo detailing why they are the biggest fan for the chance to be featured online)

44. A’s Kids Club – Oakland A’s (Fans can sign up for an Oakland A’s Kids Club Membership directly through the team’s Facebook page)

45. WTA Extra – WTA (Fans can easily scroll through high-res images of the top WTA players and also see information about their world ranking and Twitter feed)

46. Giving – Tampa Bay Rays (Fans can read about the Rays Baseball Foundation and make a donation)

47. Fanographies – Cleveland Browns (Fans can submit their Browns story for the chance to win 2011 season tickets)

48. Bulldog Club – University of Georgia Athletics (Fans can read about the Bulldog Club, make donations, invest in educational opportunities, and more)

49. Charity – PGA (Fans can read about the PGA’s new partnership with Darius Rucker and download a song which benefits PGA Tour Charities, Inc.)

50. UStream Live – Colorado Avalanche (Fans can watch broadcasts throughout the season and sign up to receive email alerts every time they take place)

May 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter

Thank you for your continued interest in Partnership Activation.

Click here to purchase the May 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter for $7.99.

After reviewing the newsletter, we would really appreciate it if you would be willing to share it with friends via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs, and other channels of communication. To keep things simple, here is a shortened URL that you can use:

This month's newsletter features a collection of insights, including:

  • Fan-Centric Signage
  • The Top Sports Advertisers of 2010
  • Creative Sports Business Tactics from Major League Soccer
  • Navigate Marketing Spotlight: Five Questions with Matt Balvanz
  • Three Things You Need to See
  • The Carrier Classic
  • The Heineken Star Player
  • Miami Heat - Kumho Tires Partnership
  • #SBChat
  • Creativity in the Sports Marketplace
  • May 2011 Partnership Activation Rising Stars
  • Manchester City FC's 'His and Hers' Suites
  • Standley Systems OSU/OU Licensed Copiers
  • Vineyard Vines' Activation at the Kentucky Derby
  • A Close Look at the Carolina Panthers 2011 NFL Draft Party
  • 5 People You Must Follow In #SportsBiz
  • Creative Tactics to Leverage a Tecate Partnership
  • AC Milan Uses Jersey Launch to Showcase New Technology
  • The Minnesota Twins Feature Twins O-Grams
  • Sports ... Like You've Never Seen It Before
  • Idea Box

Click here to purchase the May 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter, connect with other readers in the official Partnership Activation LinkedIn Group, and follow Brian Gainor on Twitter for additional sponsorship/marketing tactics throughout the month!

If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter, please send an email with "Subscribe" in the subject line to In the body of the email, please include your name, company affiliation, and contact information when subscribing.

Capture Unique Viral Content While on Team Roadtrips

Borussia Dortmund, a notable German soccer club in the Bundesliga league, recently made headlines when it released a sensational viral that features the team performing stunts while traveling on the team bus. The clip features a player kicking a soccer ball out of the front door of the team bus only to have it bounce off the wall of an overpass and into the hands of the team goalie, who is standing in the doorway in the back of the bus.

The viral, which involves some creativity and computer trickery (likely), demonstrates how sports organizations can look to generate unique content on the road and during other unlikely situations.

Check out the interesting clip below:

Guest Editorial - Evolve the 140: How #SportsBiz Can Lead on Twitter

Jonathan Norman is a sports sponsorship strategist for GMR Marketing, a major U.S. sports and event marketing firm. Jonathan has been in sports marketing and media for more than 10 years, and has worked on several major corporate branding campaigns around sports. His expertise resides in how brands reach consumers through sponsorship and activation of sports properties. Follow Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Norman and his official blog here.

Twitter has become a core communications channel among those in the sports business (err, #sportsbiz) community.  We have gathered around the electronic campfire, so to speak, to share our experiences, insights and even stories (sometimes, true ... sometimes, not so true) among our closest virtual contacts.

It has made our world smaller, more accessible.  We're in contact with people we likely would not have known before, all through Twitter, Linked In and other like creatures.  The information cycle has shrunk to near zero.  We are more in front of issues, and more on top of news.  We know what's going on almost before it happens.  We're smarter ... or so we think.

While we have more access to information, it's provided mixed results.  We lose critical components of messaging through translation.  We make mistakes because of our inability to tolerate detail that easily accessed information allows us to pass by.  Sometimes, I truly believe that information has made us smarter than we need to be -- information does that.  There's a statement that I've heard several times in my career that I absolutely believe is true: "paralysis by analysis."  But I digress.

Our ability to quickly and concisely communicate has come at a price.  I find that sometimes, we're wont to not pick up the phone, make the meeting or go the extra mile because communication has become so effortless.  Such is the case with Twitter.  It's the easiest form of communications we have in our community.  But we have to move past the ease of the medium, and move towards collaboration without a loss of communication.

When I first started tweeting, I didn't really have a focus on each of my tweets.  Now, I find that I spend considerable time planning out that line of text in Tweet Deck.  I'm careful to make sure that, like a writer on a fine manuscript, I want the message to be perfect.  I want to assure that my message is not misconstrued.  I need to consistently think about thought and intent.

Bottom line: We have to commit ourselves to a simple task -- "evolve the 140."  Through, being the operative term, as I believe we are capable of using Twitter in a much more thoughtful way.

Let's consider thought and intent.  Thought is more about clarity than design.  Is what I'm saying relevant?  Does it make sense to the reader?  Is it appropriately placed within the conversation?  Intent is about targeting the message to the appropriate audience.  It's not, "Am I saying the right thing?"  It's "Am I talking to the right people?"

Now, you're probably asking yourself, "How does this apply to #sportsbiz"?  Well, honestly, if we can evolve ... we can lead.

By my count, there's probably 500 or so Twitter users that are worthy of a follow.  Some because they're captains of industry.  Some because they're thoughtful and insight-rich.  Others because they're downright funny.  But if I apply the lenses of thought and intent, how many of us make the grade?

What does "evolve the 140" mean?  If I were to humbly set out a list of rules for #sportsbiz to demonstrate leadership on Twitter, I’d lay out the following 5 commitments:

  1. We commit to thought leadership. We provide our expertise where warranted, and we use this knowledge to improve the greater community.
  2. We commit to relevancy. We’re always on point with the #sportsbiz thematic, and not what we had for dinner tonight. We find content that is relevant to our audience and we share
  3. We commit to timeliness. We always make sure that what we’re talking about is “in-the-now” or looking forward.
  4. We commit to the audience. In choosing the subject of our tweets, we always make sure that it’s of benefit to the readership at large, not for our own personal self-worth.
  5. We commit to clarity. Nothing is worse than a ill-constructed tweet. We’ll take the time to build something worth sharing – clearly and concisely.

In closing, I'm hopeful that the evolution of the #sportsbiz community will continue, and perhaps this blog post will cause just one person to take pause and think of the implications of a stronger group of sports marketing professionals.  I know we're one of the smartest, savviest, most forward-thinking groups on Twitter.  It's just up to us to show it.

December 2010 Partnership Activation 2.0 Newsletter

Happy Holidays from Partnership Activation! Thank you for coming to check out the December Issue of the Partnership Activation 2.0 Newsletter. After checking out the newsletter/site, I hope you have some time available to spend with family and friends, for that is the most important thing in life.

As 2010 comes to a close, I am truly excited to share this month's newsletter with you. It is pretty amazing that we are coming up on the 30th Issue of the Partnership Activation 2.0 Newsletter. I want to say thank you for all your support, especially to those of you who have shared it with friends and colleagues on numerous occasions via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, word of mouth, etc.

This month's newsletter features a collection of insights, including:

  • The Nike Vault - Los Angeles
  • Creative Promotional Tactics From Across the NHL
  • Sports Authority Leverages Social Media to Engage Shoppers on Black Friday
  • Leveraging Signage in New Ways
  • Explore Engage's Augmented Reality Experiences
  • Hot Off the Press: Sponsorship Mag
  • Creativity In the Sports Marketplace
  • December 2010 Partnership Activation Rising Stars
  • Social Media Watch: Panthers Purrsuit
  • A Close Look at Fan Engagement at the Consol Energy Center
  • International Sports Business Watch: The 98th Grey Cup
  • 5 #SportsBiz People You Must Follow On Twitter
  • Ways to Leverage the Holidays
  • Creativity From the Idea Box

Click here to check out the December 2010 Newsletter and be sure to follow Brian Gainor on Twitter for additional sponsorship/marketing tactics throughout the month!

If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter, please send an email with "Subscribe" in the subject line to In the body of the email, please include your name, company affiliation, and contact information when subscribing.

Partnership Activation - April 2010 Newsletter

Are you looking for the latest and great best practices in the sports marketplace? Are you looking for new ways to leverage corporate partners?

Take a moment to check out the new April 2010 Partnership Activation 2.0 monthly newsletter.

This month's newsletter features a collection of insights, including:

  • Sports Murals
  • Insights Into the Dallas Mavericks' E-Cycling Initiatives
  • Coca-Cola Brings the World Cup Trophy to 86 Countries Worldwide
  • 3D Hockey Dasherboard Signage
  • Details on The Row Show
  • The April 2010 Recipients of the Partnership Activation Rising Stars Program
  • Sports Social Media Watch - Chad Ochocinco Goes Mobile
  • Activation Tactics from the 2010 Final Four and MLB Opening Day
  • The Hong Kong Sevens
  • Ways to Leverage a Bank of America Partnership
  • Creative Activation Tactics

If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter, please send an email with "Subscribe" in the subject line to In the body of the email, please include your name, company affiliation, and contact information when subscribing.

Check out the April 2010 Issue now... and if you like what you see, please vote for Partnership Activation as the Best Sports Business Blog of 2009 HERE.