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    Nike Builds Suspense With Its Latest Ronaldo Soccer Viral

    Sports organizations looking for new ways to utilize their YouTube channel to drive buzz around a product/season ticket launch should take a close look at Nike's latest viral campaign entitled "Only the Fastest".

    Nike launched the campaign yesterday (10/26) with a 35-second viral designed to drive buzz for the launch of Cristiano Ronaldo's new soccer boots. The clip takes viewers along for a ride as Ronaldo's boots leave Nike Global HQ in Portland and are shipped out to their final destination for the product launch on October 28th. The viral, which has generated 130K views in less than 48 hours, leaves viewers with a level of suspense, as no one can really expect what is coming next.

    Nike does a tremendous job using simple tactics (the copy block underneath the video) to drive people to its "Only the Fastest..." Facebook page. Thus far, 10,000+ consumers have opted to "attend" the special event (which is rather vague) while another 3,400 are possibly attending (translation - 1 in 13 consumers who viewed the viral opted in for the Facebook event).

    Check out the viral and the Facebook page below:






    Do You Have the Best E-Newsletter in Sports?

    Is your organization looking for ways to enhance its weekly/monthly newsletter? Are you looking for new, valuable ways to connect with your fanbase (or general consumers for that matter) on a consistent basis?

    Sports organizations looking to create an innovative newsletter should consider benchmarking the interactive piece currently being offered by FC Barcelona. FC Barcelona has done an incredible job making their newsletter extremely fan-centric:

    • Fan Videos (incorporated via YouTube)
    • Announcements of Promotion/Sweepstakes Winners
    • Fan Feedback/Comments (on player departures, acquisitions)
    • Fan Polls
    • Downloads
    • Exclusive Merchandise Offers
    • News and Information
    • New Player Features

    To sign up for the Official FC Barcelona newsletter, fans are first guided through a terrific photo slideshow of Camp Nou before they can sign up for the behind-the-scenes news and information included in the publication.


    Are You Interested in the Fans' Point of View?

    Are you looking for ways to make your team website more fan-centric? Are you looking for new ways to incorporate the voice of the fan in your team offerings?

    Manchester City FC of the English Premier League have done a tremendous job creating an outlet for fans to have a voice on their club's official website. The team created a designated section called "The fan's point of view" that provides a list of team-related sites created by Manchester City fans for fans.

    The designated fan site page enables the club's supporters the opportunity to submit details and a jpeg of their site for the chance to have it featured on the official Manchester City team homepage. The team includes everything from official sites to blogs to individual forums. Manchester City's claim is "if it's Blue, and it's online, chances are we've found it".

    The team also features an interesting "My First City Game" segment on its team website where fans can add a short synopsis of their first experience attending a Manchester City Game.

    Check out the fan features below:


    Looking to Drive Web Traffic on Draft Weekend?

    Are you looking for new ways to engage fans on Draft Weekend? Are you looking for ways to provide fans with up to the minute news and information?

    Teams looking to offer fans unique content around Draft Weekends and other major events should consider benchmarking CBS Sports' newest initiative, Rapid Reports. CBS is using a Rapid Reports feature on its website (situated on the main page just below the horizontal banner ad on the top of the page) to announce late breaking news from NFL training camps around the nation. The in-depth coverage has proven to be an engaging way to drive new (and repeat) traffic to its site,

    For the project, CBS has enlisted 32 bloggers to file one-line reports throughout the day (following a Twitter-like model). Each blogger provides concise updates on a daily basis from NFL training facilities and stadiums. The new Rapid Reports feature has surely distinguished CBS Sports from the rest of the pack (even ESPN) when it comes to providing late breaking NFL news and information.

    With this being said, sports properties have a unique opportunity to benchmark this tactic (and event take it to the next level) by providing unique content that cannot be found elsewhere. With access to behind-the-scenes information and details, sports properties havea unique opportunity at-hand to provide fans with an in-depth perspective that is both captivating and insightful. On Draft Weekends, fans are looking for as much unique content as they can get.

    Therefore, if you can provide a 15-minute tracker on what draftees are doing (who they are talking to, their schedule on draft day, which family members are with them, who designed their clothes, what current players are saying about them), there is a greater chance that fans will continue to return to your site.

    Teams looking to drive incremental website hits (either organic or repeat) should consider creating a"Breaking News" feature on the upper-middle section of their website that serves as a hub for breaking newstaking place during significant event weekends. It is important to note that sports properties should only feature this function during times when there will be a consistent amount of updates and activity (if not, consumers will become immune to looking for late breaking information there).

    Check out CBS Sports' Rapid Reports feature below:


    Using Media to Drive Online Traffic

    Are you looking for new ways to drive traffic to your brand/organization's website? Are you looking for new ways to leverage media to drive online results?

    Brands and organizations looking to leverage broadcasts and viral pieces to drive online traffic should consider softly embedding URL's into these media productions. Too often, brands fail with incorporating their messaging into viral efforts due to:

    • Delaying the viewer experience (some brands make consumers watch a :15-:30 ad prior to the video (causing negative emotions before the viral piece even begins)
    • Interrupting the viewer experience (brands often times display intrusive logos, slogans scrolling across the bottom of the screen, etc.
    • Taking away from the validity of viral pieces by forcing product placement/messaging into the feature

    Brands looking for a way to softly embed their URL in broadcasts/viral pieces should consider benchmarking the enclosed Yomiuri Giants Japanese baseball clip, which effectively demonstrates how teams can leverage viral clips to drive URL awareness (and online traffic as a result). As you will see, the piece features a URL (of Lee seung yeup Love's website - faded into the upper part of the screen.

    Softly embedding a URL intoa viral piece may actually peak the interest of consumers as they try to figure out whether it is a resource for additional information/videos and/or how it is aligned with the clip. The more unique (yet relevant) the URL, the more opportunity to capture additional viewer interest. Check out the clip below:


    Manchester United Targets Niche Group with Teenzone...

    Is your organization looking for new ways to target the hard-to-reach young male demographic? Are you looking to create a new feature on your team website?

    While many properties and brands explore different ways to target young adults (considered the hardest demographic to reach), Manchester United is taking the matter into their own hands.

    Manchester United features an excellent "Teenzone" section on its team website. The "Teenzone" section boasts a number of elements that speak directly to young adults:

    • Mobile Content
    • Tips 'N' Tricks from The Team's Star Players (e.g. Advice on Soccer Schools, etc.)
    • Video Clips
    • Celebrity Features (e.g. a Star Comedian's Take on the Team)
    • Pictures of Unique Stadium Features, Banners
    • Player Profiles

    Interested in ways that your organization can capitalize on a Teenzone page?

    Corporate Partner Integration- Consider reaching out to corporate partners who are looking for additional outlets to target young adults (automobile, insurance, entertainment venues, colleges, energy drinks, CPG companies, etc.)

    Content Relevant to Teens -Identify new content that your organization can feature to drive interest among young adults (e.g. unique team codes/content on video games, Twitter feeds, Facebook/iPhone applications, meet-n-greets for fans 13-19, downloadable music)

    Manchester United offers a free"United 3 in One" desktop software bundle, enabling fans to receive a themed wallpaper, calendar, and screensaver that all refresh/update periodically to give fans' computers a new, fresh look

    Specific Promotions / Sweepstakes Offers - Create a special promotional sweepstakes that targets young student-athletes (win a chance for your team to compete against our team), young singers (submit YouTube performance videos for the chance to sing the National Anthem during XXX game), and general fans (refer the most friends to the team Facebook group wins a chance to win suite tickets for a game)


    How Would You Look in a Globetrotters Uniform?

    Is your organization looking to create a viral marketing campaign that serves as a simple, yet effective branding piece?

    The Harlem Globetrotters recently launched a creative viral marketing campaign entitled “My Magic Circle”in an effort to drive web traffic and awareness for the organization’s 2009 domestic tour.

    The Globetrotters’ “My Magic Circle” promotional effort enables fans to create their own ball-juggling videos by importing photos of themselves and their friends. Once the videos are complete, consumers have the option to share their customized film with family and friends.

    The Globetrotters’ “My Magic Circle” promotional tool is essentially modeled after the widely popular ElfYourself campaign that Office Max has executed the past few years. The campaign has proven to be a simple, yet very effective branding piece for the Globetrotters’ organization that has drawn a tremendous amount of buzz in the sports marketplace.

    A special thanks to Matt Clay of the Harlem Globetrotters for his insights and contributions to this column.


    Puma Gives YOU The Chance to Race Against Usain Bolt...

    Are you looking to drive consumer interest in Olympic sports? Are you looking for a unique way to engage consumers online?

    In an effort to capitalize on Usain Bolt's success at the Beijing Olympics, Puma created aunique, interactive online game that offers fans the chance to take Bolt onon-on-one (to access, click the Race Bolt banner adin the upper right corner of the page). The game enables fans to customize their skin/wristband color and compete against Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash.

    The game is a part of Puma's "Chasing Bolt" running website, which has some nice behind-the-scenes viral clips from Usain Bolt's Olympics tour.


    What Time Are You Sending Out Emails/Newsletters?

    Is your organization looking to generate more interest and responses from newsletters and other email publications? Has your property considered how the time of day emails are distributed can affect the overall response/acceptance rate?


    MediaPost recently featured a great article written by Morgan Stewart on the “Best Time of Day” to send emails. The article featured some strong points with key implications for sports marketers:


    When is the best time of day to distribute newsletters?

    Arriving Early Morning – Many users start their day sorting through their email inboxes. Mornings allow email users to spend uninterrupted time in their inbox. During this time, users usually have a single episode of a considerable amount of time to check their inboxes.


    Because there are fewer interruptions and more continuous time spent in the email inbox, mornings are a more logical choice for the delivery of newsletters and long copy emails that require more time for the subscriber to read.


    When is the best time of day to send promotional offers?

    Arrive Early Afternoon – During the afternoon, consumers have more email episodes, but these episodes are shorter in duration. Between 2pm and 3pm, users are likely to have five (5) individual episodes of 2-3 minutes apiece.


    Because consumers during the afternoon are often in a “quick-hit” mode, properties should use the afternoon periods to send out promotions and invitations.


    Stewart found through research that email makes up between 30% and 35% of the average user’s media exposure between the hours of 8am and 3pm. This figure drops off during the late afternoon and early evening, only to peak again in the late evening, between 8pm and 9pm.


    While the focus of this column was to provide some general insights on email consumption habits, each organization should test the delivery of their distribution methods to ultimately determine what time/style work best to drive fan/consumer response.


    Looking to Keep Up With the Sports Business Industry?

    Are you looking for a new online sports business resource? Are you looking to keep up with the industry's most recent news and opinions? then check out

    Sports Biz Feed is an online resource that provides the latest sports business headlines from a variety of websites and blogs. By aggregating the best and most influential sports business blogs online, Sports Biz Feed can save you time scouring the Web for the latest sports business news. Sports Biz Feed features ten (10) recent stories from each of the eighteen (18) leading blogs. Sports business professionals can quickly scan the headlines and proceed to click through to read the stories that they are interested in... A Great Resource!

    If any sports business professionals are interested in promoting their products to the site's readership base (likely educated, wealthy persons working in the sports business/marketing industry), Jason Peck is offering one (1) 300x250 banner ad. Feel free to contact Jason, one of the most innovative minds in sports media, for more information at [email protected].


    Benchmark Juventus FC's Website...

    Are you looking for sports websites to benchmark? Are you looking for ways to enhance your online offerings? Are you looking for a superior layout for promoting your corporate partners?

    If so, take a moment to check out Juventus FC's website. I am a firm believer that many of the websites for European football teams are where we (in the States) are headed in the next five (5) years (if the leagues permit)... We just aren't there yet. The Juventus website is tremendous - their corporate partners page is clear, descriptive, and even shows some quality pictures of their partners' field boards. Overall, the site covers everything from club objectives/strategies to finances to exclusive memberships. If you are looking for ideas/content, this site has it all - in a clear, concise format.



    If Fans Want Hits... Show Them Hits!

    Are you looking for ways to turn casual fans into avid fans? Are you looking for ways to capitalize on the exciting moments of your team's games and/or leverage 2.0 applications?

    The Dallas Stars currently feature a "Dropping the Gloves" feature on their team's Myspace page; an innovative strategy that drives incremental traffic and interest to the team's social networking platform. By offering "semi-controversial" content (what the fans really want to see but can prove difficult sometimes to actively promote), the Stars' Myspace page provides a way for the team to leverage thrilling hits, fights, and plays and convert casual fans into avid, supporting fanbase.

    In addition to the "Dropping the Gloves" feature, the Stars' organization offers a number of other unique elements on their Myspace page:

    • A variety of unique team videos
    • Team banner ads (for users to copy and paste into their webpages, etc.)
    • Sounds of the Game
    • Custom Myspace graphics
    • Dallas Stars Ice Girls (leveraging the team's partnership with Planet Tan)
    • Approved team links

    Check back for more information on unique online initiatives by the Stars organization!



    Capture Fan Interests... Profile Pre-Game Rituals...

    timberwolves.jpgAre you looking to capture the interests of your fans online? Are you searching for ways to drum up additional team/brand interest?

    Take a look at a video clip that the Minnesota Timberwolves compiled that profiles the pre-game rituals of their star players... The video does a great job taking fans behind the scenes and features a number of one-on-one interviews with athletes about topics not pertaining to basketball...

    Looking to fund your efforts? Tie in an apparel/CPG/related consumer goods (Athletes Foot prevention) company through a unique integrated approach in the locker room (see the Suns virtual locker room corporate integration for ideas)... A small brand caption in the lower left/right corner may not seem too intrusive to videogoers either...

    Check out the clip below and consider new ways that you can capture unique content of your players behind the scenes... Ever considered profiling team road trips?


    Enhance Your Online Community Relations Efforts...

    stephenjackson.jpg"You've followed their careers. Now follow their lives."

    Are you looking to enhance your community relations efforts? If so, take a look at the St. Louis Rams' "Rams Living" feature page on the team's website. The site does an incredible job connecting fans with their favorite stars off the field. 

    Rams Living provides an in-depth look at the players and their favorite music, foundations, and hobbies off the field. The site also features player videos, commercials, newsletters, downloads, and an off-season calendar.

    It really is impressive to see a team like the Rams use its online assets to promote its players' community foundations efforts:

    In addition, the St. Louis Rams do a great job integrating their three (3) supporting corporate partners: Save-A-Lot Food Stores, Waste Management, and US Cellular. 

    This site definitely serves as a best practice... If you have a moment, check it out!



    Social Networking Goes Mainstream...

    ning%20logo.pngAs sports marketers, we always hear about how Myspace and Facebook are the perfect means for targeting young consumers across the globe... However, the struggle has come with developing effective means to target users on these social networking platforms? What is the best way to target these individuals without interrupting their interactive experience? Widgets? Groups? Video? There are endless opportunities; marketers now just have to realize which means are the most effective and efficient...

    Let me introduce one more social networking application that is reaching the masses ala Myspace and Facebook:

    Ning is an emerging website service that allows users to create their own social networks... For Free. Ning is a very user-friendly site that is bringing social networking to the masses (similar to the way that Facebook/MySpace emerged). Here are some insights on the website:

    • The site allows users to build their own small social networking sites, complete with customizable, easy-to-design pages that include all of the tools available on sites like YouTube, Flickr, and MySpace.
    • Users can post photos, videos, messages, comments, questions, etc.
    • The site currently has 230,000+ social websites listed.
    • About 40% of Ning's social networks originate outside the United States, and members from 176 countries have signed up, with the service already available in several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Dutch.
    • The company estimates that, at this rate, by New Year's Eve 2010 it will host some 4 million social networks, with tens of millions of members, serving up billions of page views daily.
    •  Issues:
      • Control (someone would need to monitor the site for information, etc.); However, the positives should heavily outweigh potential negatives in this case…
      • Driving Traffic – The site currently doesn’t feature a search system that enables users to easily find your site. Marketers would need to promote their social networks individually through a viral campaign, etc.

    Enclosed are some examples of social networking websites created through Ning (to give you an idea of what type of page can be created pretty easily):

    In the coming weeks, look for a Partnership Activation Social Networking Page that will enable you to connect with other sports marketers from across the globe to discuss industry best practices and innovative partnership tactics! More to come soon...