It’s a big week for sports marketers.
Sponsors and advertisers spent hundreds of millions of dollars this season, leading up to this week’s start to the NBA Finals and the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.
Which brands will break through the clutter? This is the game within the game.
Four things I’m watching:
- Integration. This is a different kind of moneyball. It’s pay to play, and the $$ are big. TV-visible dasherboard signage around the NHL ice exclusively is reserved for league sponsors during the postseason. Prime position is near the goals. That’s Discover credit card territory, and Coors Light too. They’re hoping for an epic moment that’s memorialized in front of their logo.
- Endorsements. It’s hard to view the NBA without suffering Kevin Durant overload. His spots for Sprint and BBVA Compass Bank are ubiquitous. Same for Enterprise Rent a Car and Olympic hockey hero T.J. Oshie. But I’m following the relationship between Samsung and LeBron James. Beyond endorsement, Samsung launched the LeBron app offering behind the scenes access to the world’s best player. Let’s see if “the next big thing” has something special planned for the Finals.
- Social media. Sports drives engagement. Conversations will erupt over game-changing moments. Savvy sponsors will have their social voices ready to search and respond. Our zSports & Entertainment client Party City is poised for success. Its branded sponsorship of NY Rangers and Miami Heat “win posts” already receive great engagement. One Heat conference championship post, as of June 2nd, delivered 333K likes, 10K comments and 37K shares across Facebook alone, with more from Twitter and Instagram.
- ROI. Bells and whistles are fine, but we’re here to sell stuff. Who will drive the most ROI among a buffet of all-you-can-eat buzz? The biggest winner might be Miami Heat President and NBA legend Pat Riley. Years ago Riley trademarked “Three-Peat” for licensing purposes. Yup, Riley wins big if the Heat takes a third consecutive title.
Let the games begin…