Gatorade Turns 50

This year, Gatorade will have its 50th anniversary. To celebrate, Gatorade produced an advertisement commemorating sports moments and sports figures that were a part of that 50 year success.

Here is the remarkable video produced by Gatorade:

Here is a list of the sports moments/achievements found in the video:

  • The first batch of Gatorade is tested in 1965 at practice by University of Florida football players.
  • With Derek Jeter’s retirement in 2014, the Yankees retire No. 2 and bid farewell to their last single-digit jersey.
  • Dwyane Wade locks up his third NBA title with a Game 7 win over the Spurs.
  • Gatorade appears in 1969’s Super Bowl IV alongside the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • The Brazil national team has five stars on its shirts for five World Cup championships.
  • Michael Jordan wins his sixth NBA title.
  • Patrick Kane scores his seventh game-winning playoff goal.
  • No. 8, Archie Manning; the first Manning legend.
  • No. 9, Mia Hamm.
  • No. 10, Lionel Messi.
  • The 11 starting players for FC Barcelona line up.
  • Seattle Seahawks fans display a giant jersey for the “12th Man.”
  • The return of No. 13, Paul George.
  • Rookie Jabari Parker scores 14 points for the Milwaukee Bucks in his debut game.
  • The Alabama Crimson Tide collect their 15th national championship.
  • No. 16, Joe Montana.
  • In 2008, the Boston Celtics raise their 17th NBA championship banner.
  • No. 18, Peyton Manning.
  • Usain Bolt sets a world record of 19.19 in the 200 meters.
  • No. 20, Barry Sanders.
  • The Giants start the tradition of dumping Gatorade on their coach in Super Bowl XXI (21).
  • No. 22, Emmitt Smith.
  • Do I even have to say?? No. 23, Michael Jordan.
  • At the 2012 Wimbledon, Serena Williams serves 24 aces in a single match.
  • No. 25, Fred Biletnikoff.
  • The 26.2 mile Boston Marathon.
  • The Yankees boast 27 championships.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson sets the record for most single-season rushing touchdowns, with 28.
  • The beginning of J.J. Watt’s dominance starts with a 29-yard interception return for the touchdown.
  • Thirty years ago, in 1985, Gatorade establishes the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
  • Matt Kenseth gets his 31st win in the Sprint Cup.
  • No. 32, Franco Harris.
  • The Lakers notch their 33rd straight win for an NBA record (Gatorade says 33 is supposed to stand for this, but the 33 wins in a row by the Lakers happened with Wilt Chamberlain and not Kareem-Abdul Jabbar who is shown… whoops…. guess whoever made this ad could have used a guy like me on staff; at least Kareem wore No. 33, so it’s not that bad of a mess up)
  • No. 34, Bryce Harper.
  • Cam Newton sets the rookie record for most touchdowns, with 35.
  • Adam Vinatieri kicks a 48-yard field goal to win Super Bowl XXXVI (36).
  • No. 37, Steve Gleason.
  • Michael Jordan scores 38 points in the Flu Game.
  • Pat Summit coaches the Lady Vols to a 39–0 season.
  • Robert Griffin runs 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
  • Peyton Manning is named MVP in Super Bowl XLI (41).
  • Baseball honors no. 42, Jackie Robinson.
  • A player reaches 43 inches in the vertical jump at the NFL Combine.
  • Spud Webb leaps 44 inches in the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
  • Michael Jordan returns as No. 45.
  • Eli Manning is named MVP in Super Bowl XLVI (46).
  • No. 47, John Lynch.
  • Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 team.
  • The 49ers do the Gatorade dunk.
  • A shot of the Florida Gators, 50 years after the introduction of Gatorade.

This video, at the crossroads of sports, advertising, history, and pop culture, is phenomenal. An advertising piece does not get any better than this, in my eyes. Before I workout, I like to watch a very short inspiring video (usually a sports ad like this) two times. This Gatorade ad will be added to my collected pool.

Props to you, Gatorade, and *raises his Gatorade* here’s to 50 more years.

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Sponsoring Current Athletes Is Just Too Dangerous

Babe Ruth

Pictures of their food before they eat.

Pictures of their pets being cute on their couch.

Pictures of shoes on your an athlete’s feet before the game.

These are some of the unnecessary, but rather interesting, tidbits of information that are being funneled from professional (and amateur) sport figures to their fans. However, as quick as it is to post a picture or say something funny to your followers, it is just as easy for a naive, young athlete to piss off the masses and open the can of holy shit.

Whether they’ve ever been trained as a tight-roper or not, every modern athlete is balancing their career and livelihood upon the tight rope of scrutiny and public opinion; talent is only the small knot at each side.

Put another way, the 2010s is just one big science class and every single day is experiment day because you never really know what type of huge reaction is going to happen. Who’s our favorite specimen? Who are we always watching under the microscope? Celebrities. Both athletes and entertainers.

ESPN and sports publications are filled with news on athletes just doing the wrong things off the field/court. It seems like there is an endless stream of allegations and hearings on domestic violence. And you are telling me that brands want to continue to chalk their name up next to a high profile athlete, just waiting for something to come along and smear it and make that name not as clear and legible as it once was??? Bullcrap!! Brands are nervous as ever!

The days of major sponsors relying on a single celebrity endorser are numbered and extinction is inevitable. With one celebrity endorsement,  a brand is only one allegation/scandal/picture/comment away from needing major repositioning.Subway has done a great job at mitigating their risk by using five or six endorsers coupled with shorter-term campaigns. I foresee this becoming the norm.

A number of brands like Mastercard (George Brett), Foot Locker (Karl Malone and Tracy McGrady), Crown Royal (Julius Erving), New Era (Jackie Robinson), and Jockey (Babe Ruth) have actually taken a major step back on present-day athletes and  turned more towards retired players and even dead legends. Both brands and agencies are starting to realize that you just can’t be sure with a modern athlete. They may seem great, but their legacy is set in cement yet. With players like Babe Ruth, you know their legacy and they will always be an iconic legend of American sports. With retired players and deceased players, their reputations and consumer appeal are not going to change overnight; it’s going to make a lot more to break the love fans hold in their hearts for these icons.

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Is Google or Apple the Future of Sports Television?

Google NFLApple-NFL

Within the past few years we’ve seen à la carte options like NBA League Pass Broadband and MLB Extra Innings Broadband excel with games that would otherwise not be available to a person on TV because they are out of market. Will the NFL and its Sunday Game Day rights soon make the transition out of the hands of Directv and onto the internet courtesy of Apple or Google? I am here to say it is quite possible.

Directv pays $1 BILLION A YEAR for all out of market football games, calls it “Sunday Ticket”, and then willingly loses $375 million on it every year. It is projected that if the price of these rights rises above $1.5 billion, it will no longer be economically sound and beneficial for Directv to own these rights. Presently, Directv has Sunday Ticket because they believe it gives them a competitive advantage over rival cable companies and allows them to keep their subscribers despite their monthly bill slowly inching up. However, in the late 2010s (possibly 2016 or 2017 when the new 2014 deal is expired), what’s stopping Google from potentially buying up this football package from the NFL and transitioning this necessity for big fans to the wires of the web?? This option seems quite logical as fans could pay a one year fee (similar to NBA League Pass) and not be forced to pay the rising monthly bill TV providers like Directv require. I see potential for Google and Apple within the NFL, but not the NBA or MLB. This is because the NBA and MLB directly offer their out of market games to fans via the web. NBA and MLB do not go through a separate company. They are independent and sell it directly. If they came in, Google would be doing the same thing that is already going on – a one time fee for a bunch of games throughout the season. The NFL’s potential is unique to Google or Apple because the NFL exclusively uses Directv as its intermediary and there is room to snatch that partnership. With the number of cable subscribers going down, monthly bills going up, and the demand for an alternative option already beginning to be requested from NFL fans, Apple or Google could be the answer. I believe the NFL package through Google or Apple would generate more eyeballs because more people would be willing to pay $200 a year to get the games, rather than pay $100 a month to Directv just to have access to all the games.

If Google and Apple do, in fact, wish to test the waters of televising sports to the masses, content holders will see yet another spike in rights fees because more bidders are being added to the already bloody, red ocean. In the case of the NFL, I think a rise in rights fees is actually beneficial to the tech giants Google and Apple because it would potentially mean the price of Sunday Ticket exceeding $1.5 billion per year and effectively eliminating Directv out of the bidding.

In the near future, I do not foresee anything more for Google or Apple besides the out of market NFL package via the internet because of how many parties would have to be changed in order for a lasting Google or Apple takeover in sports to occur. TV networks and their corresponding exclusive contracts on playoffs, conferences, and times (like Sunday Night Football and TNT’s Thursday Night Basketball) would have to expire first. Also things like advertising and network and team sponsorships would have to be reconsidered. Plus, there is the argument on whether Baby Boomers and the older crowd of America would be up for a new entertainment method. Would people actually be willing to adapt to NFL on the internet? Despite this long term uncertainty, the near future can definitely include Google or Apple and their exceptional amount of cash on hand makes all of this speculation plausible.

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The Power of ESPN

ESPN Google

 

Google just announced an idea that could forever change the business model for advertising on the internet. In short, Google is toying with the thought of allowing web surfers to see their favorite websites ad-free in exchange for a $1-$3 monthly fee. This new service has been given the name Contributor. To begin, Contributor will launch on a number of popular sites, including Mashable, Imgur, wikiHow, The Onion, and Urban Dictionary.

HOW IT WORKS: If you are an avid reader/user of a participating site and  don’t want to see ads, you can sign up to pay a monthly amount between $1-3 through Contributor. Then, when you visit that site (or any of the other participating sites) you will be shown blurred-out boxes with a Thank You message from Google instead of the pesky, slow-to-load ads. From that $1-$3 monthly fee, Google will take a portion and the rest will be split among the participating sites.

There are some more technicalities behind Contributor (Like the fact that if a website’s ads are completely hosted by Google, users who pay the monthly fee will not see a single ad. However, Contributor will not block other ads/ad sources that the website might have), but for the most part, the above 2 paragraphs are the basics.

Now when I heard of this new phenomena, I instantaneously thought of its future implications in relation to ESPN.

Why you ask??

ESPN is probably the most powerful cable network there is and there ever will be. In the business of TV, there are per-subscriber fees. In order for a cable network like ESPN, TNT, or Discovery to be available to a cable company (Time Warner, Directv, etc.), the network and the cable company have to agree on this per-subscriber fee. A per-subscriber fee is basically the money networks make for selling their content to cable providers. For the sake of a simple argument and a simple example, lets say TNT has an agreement with Directv. That agreement says that every month, Directv has to pay $0.64 to TNT for every cable subscriber (customer) Directv has. Directv pays this because they know  they need to offer TNT to make their cable subscribers happy. To continue a simple discussion, lets say TNT agreed on a per-subscriber fee of $0.64 with every cable network in America. The Discovery Channel, on the other hand, demands only $0.24 cents from every cable company. Now we all know ESPN is a very popular network. If a cable company doesn’t offer ESPN, people will get VERY VERY upset VERY VERY quickly and seriously consider changing cable companies. ESPN knows they are in high demand, so they require cable companies to pay them somewhere close to $7.50 for every cable subscriber. This high fee gives cable companies access to ESPN and all of its corresponding channels (like ESPN 2, ESPN Classic, ESPN 3, ESPN News, etc.). In the grand scheme of cable networks, ESPN has the highest per-subscriber fee by a long shot.

Now if ESPN is able leverage itself so well against cable companies, what’s stopping it from leveraging itself against companies like Google and this new Contributor business? As I pondered this new digital advertising business model, I was able to just envision ESPN saying something along the lines of, “Hey Google, you know how you get $0.75 of that $2 monthly Contributor fee?? Well we want $0.75 of that too, and then the remaining $0.50 of that $2 fee can get split among the other, less popular 38 sites like wikiHow and The Onion. We both know that ESPN.com and all our affiliate sites are bringing in the most visitors, so we deserve rightful compensation.” There are rumors that your monthly Contributor fee will only be split among sites you actually visit, and not all the sites that are participating. Regardless however, the concept of per-subscriber fees could be making its way into the online, digital domain, and if that is the case, ESPN is sitting back and not complaining one bit.

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Today, you have Analytics on Anything

NFL Ladies

 

This year, what would you say the most watched event by women in the United States was?

The Oscars? pssshhhhhhhhh.

The Grammys? Yeah…. no. Try again.

The Super Bowl? Only if they were forced!!

Wait… That is the answer. Super Bowl XLVIII was watched by an average of 44.9 million women! Women actually make up 46 percent of all NFL fans, with an average of 63 percent of women 12 years old and older identifying themselves as fans.

Even with numbers as significant and alluring as those, marketing to a female fan is still a bit awkward for most sports leagues. In the past, sports marketers thought if you pinked it and you shrinked it, women would be interested. However, now, hyperfocused analytical data is being collected and helping marketers  realize the untapped potential of women and their love of sports.

For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods has a website completely dedicated to the representation and visualization of consumers’ NFL jersey purchasing habits (http://www.dsg.com/jerseyreport/football). Although the data is just from in-store and online jersey sales through the Dick’s Sporting Goods company, Jersey Report is frequently regarded as the official ranking system of NFL jersey sales nationwide. As a sports nerd, this site is one of the coolest sites I’ve came across. I can’t help but think it’s like stock market information, but for NFL jerseys. It’s extremely interactive and has the professional look of a 10 year, in-depth MRI consumer report. But the point is, now everything has to be that in-depth. Every company in every industry has to have these type of insights because if they don’t, they fall behind their smarter competition.

This particular analytic tool by Dick’s isn’t just for frisky fun and karate kicks. It offers serious breakdowns in jersey sales according to position, geographic proximity, team, jersey type, and desired length of time. It has direct implications on parties like NFL jersey manufacturers, retail merchandise buyers, and shipping teams. Nearly every Walmart has a sports apparel section that is catered to the local sports teams, but if you don’t think Walmart is starting to research and see what sports teams and players are hot across all markets, you are crazy. If the most bought jersey by women in Oregon is Andrew Luck, the most bought jersey by women in Alaska is Tony Romo, and the most bought jersey by women >IN OKLAHOMA< is Eli Manning of the >NEW YORK< Giants, someone has got to alter their supply streams to cater to that bizarre demand. It is analytical tools like Jersey Report by Dick’s Sporting Goods that is making companies realize that what they think is going on, isn’t actually what is going on.

Women aren’t just watching celebrity awards shows and buying pink, breast cancer awareness jerseys. They love their sports and they want the same style as men, and if you don’t alter your efforts to that, someone else will.

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A Panini Monopoly

panini-ut

Panini is the world’s number 1 company for sports cards, sports memorabilia, and sports collectibles. And Panini is doing everything to maintain and strengthen that prestigious title. Their latest effort? Panini announced earlier this week that it has reached an exclusive multi-year trading card agreement with The University of Texas.  This agreement will allow the company to use the school’s team logos and university marks in its trading card products for college-specific trading card sets.

Ready for a crash course on the sports card industry? *Takes a deep breathe*

Topps and Upper Deck are Panini’s 2 primary competitors, but long story short, they are both dwindling in market share. Topps, in the past, was producing MLB cards, NFL cards, and NBA cards. Now, they are down to only having rights to MLB cards and UFC cards. Upper Deck, in the past, was producing MLB cards, NFL cards, NBA cards, and NHL cards. Now, they only have rights to producing NHL cards, golf cards, and college cards. As for Panini, they are slowly working with professional leagues and looking to become the sole manufacturer and provider of every leagues’ cards. They have already secured the NBA, secured the FIFA World Cup, just secured the NFL, and have half the rights to the NHL (shared with Upper Deck). MLB is a tough one because Topps runs the show with that league’s cards, but Panini is creeping into that domain too.

To give an analogy, Panini is like Walmart. They have the most money and  they just buy their way in and slowly force everyone out who competes. They are the champions of the modern day business and will continue to be the future of the lucrative sports card and sports memorabilia  industry.

*Exhales*

This University of Texas deal is part of a continued effort by Panini to secure exclusive partnerships with colleges so that Panini can pump out college-related products too. Why? Because Upper Deck is surviving mostly in thanks to their college card presence. If Panini locks up all the colleges, Upper Deck can’t use them for college related products anymore (Bye Bye Upper Deck!). The University of Texas is the latest school to sign on as an exclusive trading card partner of Panini, joining more than 225 other universities including Mississippi State (the #1 college football team at the moment), University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, Univeristy of Miami, Kansas State University, and Baylor University. Panini will begin producing collegiate trading card products in the spring of 2015 (Products about college football featuring ex-Heisman Trophy winners’ autographs, products on college basketball featuring autographs and game-used cards of All-American greats, etc.)

To summarize, sports cards aren’t as simple as they once were 20 years ago. They now include traits like autographs, jersey pieces, patches, sequential numbering, refactor finishes, and die-cut designs. If there is anything I want this article to prove, it’s that millions of dollars are being exchanged in relation to something so simple like sports cards. Although all these deals’ monetary figures are highly confidential, this type of news just proves that sports leagues and colleges are making outrageous amounts money in ways you never even thought of.

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GoPro and the NHL

On October 8, 2014, the NHL and GoPro officially began a content sharing agreement. These two parties have been flirting with each other for the past year or so, but this marks a new chapter in NHL entertainment. GoPro cameras are now being placed on professional hockey player’s helmets. This POV technology will enables those, like myself, who have ever wondered what a 102 MPH slapshot looks like coming at you or the maneuvers and dodges wing players have to make to get to the goal. The videos these GoPro cameras capture will be used on NHL.com and NHL highlights, but also be used to create interesting YouTube videos on both GoPro’s  and the NHL’s  YouTube channels. However, the ultimate purpose of this POV video is for TV audiences. The NHL is trying to keep up with other professional sports and their innovative angles and breakdowns (most notably, MLB and their highly accurate strike zone visuals and the NBA’s behind the backboard dunk cam). The NHL is trying to get people to tune in and stay hooked. The exact networks with access to the POV video are: NBC Sports, Rogers (a Canadian network), and the NHL Network.

Surprisingly, this technology HAS been seen in the NHL before. In fact, it happened twice in the 1990s. On Sept. 27, 1991, former Los Angeles Kings goaltender, Kelly Hrudey, wore a camera on his mask during an outdoor regular season game in the Caesar’s Palace parking lot. Additionally, in 1993, Patrick Roy continued the idea by sporting a camera during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition. This idea has been tooled around with over the years, but it’s exciting to now see it finalized and secured to the helmets of some of the world’s most talented players.

Ultimately, this partnership serves the NHL well because it entices viewers that would otherwise not even care about hockey and it also allows GoPro to venture from its extreme sport beginnings (skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, etc.).

I guess now I’m just waiting for the day a player’s shot hits the GoPro camera, ricochets into the goal, and he rightfully earns the number one spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays. I can just see it happening. Literally.

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Ads on NBA Jerseys

RondoAdJersey0720_NBA_630x420

The NBA jersey is not too far from being the newest and hottest advertising venue in sports. Many sources say that as the NBA negotiated for a new 9 year, $24 billion TV deal with TNT and ESPN,  the idea of putting ads on players’ jerseys received attention too.

The NBA has toyed with this idea in many forms over the years. In fact, the NBA has already put ads on practice jerseys and, last season, placed ads on the front and back of the Rookie and Sophomore Game jerseys.

However, it is still unclear how the revenue from the advertisement patches would be distributed. There is rumors that TV networks would get a significant slice of the money. In fact, some believe that when a team is on a nationally televised game, their jersey sponsor(s) would be required to also advertise during the game. That way networks don’t lose potential big advertisers who would otherwise decide to go with just the jerseys.

Here is something you might not have noticed this season… The NBA logoman is no longer on the front of the NBA jerseys. I’ll give you a minute to look it up because I didn’t believe it either when I heard about it for the first time. That NBA logoman has been moved to the top back where small team logos had previously dwelled. On the front, the upper left and right side of the players’ jerseys are now wide open real estate. One 2×2 inch patch on the left side is rumored to be the first step in NBA jersey ads. Commissioner Adam Silver thinks NBA teams, collectively, could generate $100 million by selling 30 patch sponsors each season (to begin, 1 sponsor per team). However, this sounds a bit too optimistic as English Premier League soccer teams made close to $184 million in sponsors last year and their corporate logos cover the entire front of their shirts. It’s hard to think the NBA would receive more than half that figure for their small, four square inch patches. Bigger ideas (and bigger ads) are already being discussed for special events though. It has been noted that TNT will be able to sell ad space on the jerseys for the 2017 All-Star Game.

In a world of sponsored All-Star events, sponsored replays, sponsored arenas, and  “The Official  __(Deodorant)__ of the  __(NBA)__” (and there is such a thing; it’s Right Guard), it was only a matter of time before we came to companies becoming, “The Official Sponsor of the Portland Trail Blazers.” If the NBA follows the international soccer and basketball precedent, it is only a few seasons until brand names or brand logos carry more visual weight than the actual team name on the front of jerseys. The question starts to become: Is the NBA going to become as ad-intensive as NASCAR??  Although some may question if the NBA is willing to go that far, no one is questioning the NBA for collecting millions upon millions of dollars while generating millions upon millions of impressions with this new, alternative income stream.

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