Monday, April 26, 2010

Music Sponsorship Spending To Total $1.09 Billion In '10

North American-based companies will spend $1.09 billion to sponsor music venues, festivals and tours in 2010, a 4.2 percent increase from the $1.08 billion spent in '09, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world's leading authority on sponsorship.

Chicago, Ill (PRWEB) April 26, 2010 -- North American-based companies will spend $1.09 billion to sponsor music venues, festivals and tours in 2010, a 4.2 percent increase from the $1.08 billion spent in '09, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world's leading authority on sponsorship.

In a positive sign for music properties, the increase outpaces IEG SR's projected 3.4 percent rise in total sponsorship spending and represents the third largest increase in spending among the major property types, following causes (6.1 percent) and entertainment tours and attractions (5.7 percent).

"Music remains a vital passion point for consumers, and marketers are increasingly aligning with music events, tours and venues to tap into that passion," said William Chipps, IEG Sponsorship Report's senior editor.

As in years past, much of that growth is driven by new and incremental spending on big-ticket sponsorships, with auto, apparel, beverage, cameras, insurance, technology companies leading the charge.

For example, Canon U.S.A., Inc. this year signed a new partnership with the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Red Bull aligned with Live Nation, and Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. sponsored last weekend's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on behalf of its Bloggie handheld camcorder.

In addition, Live Nation late last year announced a six-year partnership with The Coca-Cola Co. that spans multiple assets including concerts, content, hospitality and the concert producer's online ticketing and e-commerce operations.

While national music festivals and tours have found success securing corporate partners, many regional and local events continue to struggle, Chipps said.

"While the economy appears to be rebounding, many marketers continue to take a cautious approach to sponsorship by focusing on large, established properties that provide broad reach."

Credit:IEG Sponsorship Report

Friday, April 23, 2010

MLS Expansion next year..Montreal?

Major League Soccer hopes to announce another expansion soon, this time to Montreal.

Commissioner Don Garber says the league also would like to return to the southeast, either to Atlanta or South Florida.

“We're confident that we'll be able to announce a 19th team shortly, and our hope is that 19th team will be in Montreal,” he said Thursday during a meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors.

The league has 16 teams this season and has added franchises in Portland, Ore., and Vancouver for 2011.

Montreal was in the hunt for an MLS franchise in 2008, but the delegation — led by Impact owner Joey Saputo and then-Canadiens owner George Gillett — withdrew its bid amid questions about how it would fund the franchise fee.

While Miami and Tampa Bay once had MLS teams, they were eliminated after the 2001 season.

“Eventually I'm sure we'll get back to the southeast broadly and Florida more specifically,” Garber said. “I'm not quite sure what the timing is of that. but I can't image this league will be fully expanded without having a team in Florida or south of Washington, D.C.

“We continue to have discussions in Atlanta. I think Atlanta's a good sports market, also has some competition for its size, but lots of youth participation and a massive and growing Mexican population in Atlanta. Those are probably the two places where we look, South Florida and Atlanta, as the next places in the southeast.”

The league does find some obstacles to returning to Florida.

“We in the sports business sort of look at Florida as a difficult market. Many of the pro sports teams there have challenges, and there's a lot of reasons for that: a lot of transient residents, a lot of international visitors that own second homes,” he said. “Weather is a big issue Florida, both in terms of rain and the fact that it's very hot when you want to play your games. People have an alternative — they can go to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.”

Seattle, which started play last year, has proven to be an ideal place for the league.

“Seattle's a quirky market,” he said. “You think about the kind of consumer that lives there, it has sort of the dynamic that soccer fans sort of describe themselves as. They're a little alternative. That's where the alternative music world was born. A lot of tech people, and tech people tend to be more global and live in a more global environment. There's a massive amount of youth participation there.”

Garber thinks the league will grow larger than comparable first divisions in Europe. While eventually he would like to see relegation and promotion, it's not on the horizon because there isn't a financially viable second division that would be acceptable to MLS owners if their teams went down.

“In 2011 we'll have 18 teams in our league,” he said. “That's the size league that FIFA would like their first divisions to be. My guess is we probably expand beyond that in the years to come. Our country is a lot bigger than many of the European countries that might have 75 or 80 million people — ours 300 million-plus crossing three time zones, We probably have some room for more than 18 teams.”

Attendance is up signficantly so far this season. The league is averaging 18,334 for its first 29 games, up 19.9 per cent from 15,285 from the comparable period last year.

While the league has grown, television ratings are essentially flat. The 14 telecasts on U.S. networks ESPN, FSC and Telefutura this season have averaged 173,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. At the comparable point last year, 12 telecasts averaged 172,000 viewers.

“Ratings for us don't concern us. It's a long-term project,” Garber said of the league, which started play in 1996. “The difference between 250,000 and 400,000 is not the issue. It's how do you get the 400,000 to become two million?”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cleveland Indians Social Media Deck..New Sponsorship Opportunity?

Cleveland Indians Reaching Out to Social Media Users via “Tribe Social Deck”

While calling it “progressive” may be a cheap play on the name of the stadium in which they play, the Cleveland Indians are making a move this season that not many of their peers have even considered. With the Internet and social media being ignored by all of the NFL and much of the NBA, the Indians have decided to roll out an initiative solely to cater to those using the emerging mediums.

Two forces likely coming together allowed the team to get the proper approvals to roll out what they are calling the Tribe Social Deck, an actual physical wooden deck with two rows of stadium seating for 10, located in left field between the bleachers and the standing room only area. The primary reason is to engage with fans via social media, an audience that is widely overlooked when it comes to marketing by professional teams. Another reason, that some may even rank above the first, is that the Indians are likely going to experience a down season when it comes to attendance. Engaging said social media users is a way to add additional interest in a team that, quite frankly, has seen a strong decline in fan support with the success of the Cavaliers and relative invincibility of the Browns.

A prime place for a home run ball, those seated in the deck area also have a television monitor that allows attendees to view scoreboard graphics without having to turn 180 degrees to their left. Banners hung to the right and behind the deck allow privacy, and the stairs leading up to the deck provide intrigue by fans that are heading to their seats in the bleachers. Several fans were spotted asking ushers about the cost and attainability of the deck seats – something that was likely an awkward conversation between both parties due to the nature of the endeavor.

But what are the ultimate goals of this fancy looking Social Deck?

Essentially, the team is well aware that there is an entire audience having a discussion about them and they want to be a part. To do so, they have added a member to their public relations department that is strictly responsible for social media – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. A consultant helped the team target specific individuals that are considered “influences” on the various mediums, and from there they hope to reach out and build awareness and interest in the team.

“We envision this area as sort of a press box for the social media users,” said Indians PR representative Rob Campbell.

While the play on the field and the additions of big name players may not exactly be “Progressive,” the endeavor to cater to users of social media definitely is. It is a great way to meet the people that one engages with on a daily basis and allows for further network building at a professional level – something that may not always be discussed freely on the Internet.

One complaint that may be heard from others that attended the Social Deck is the lack of mobile connectivity. While this may not be a problem in subsequent games due to attendance figures, the home opener provided next to zero mobile signal, making use of social media relatively difficult. Long term, the team plans on providing exclusive Wi-Fi access to the 10 individuals on the deck – something that they will be able to do through Time Warner via their sponsorship of the area. Assuming this is rectified, attendees will be free to do their very own play-by-play or sharing of in-game experiences.

Of course, one can also complain about the lack of a grill or a stocked cooler on the deck, but what can you do…

While the idea will depend soley on execution, the positives are that the team is willing to entertain a faction of fans that were typically excluded prior to now. The Indians are well aware of the fact that this is a bit of a risk on their part, offering tickets to random Internet users and all, but realize that it is something that can help them get a small leg up on some of their peers when it comes to fan interaction. Director of Communications and Creative Services Curtis Danburg claims that general manager Mark Shapiro has been behind this initiative almost right out of the gate and was a big player in getting the deck approved.

While public relations staff says that they will likely not be using the deck for every game, they fully expect to be reaching out to several other users of social media throughout the season. All in all, it is a terrific way to have a niche group of fans attend games that would otherwise be tuning in from home. Said niche is one that is growing exponentially year over year and one that the team is able to recognize as an integral part of increasing discussion of the team.

The willingness to take on a new initiative like social media should be applauded. Given that the deck was constructed in about a weeks time, the efforts to get this endeavor rolled out were very strong. What the future has in store for the Tribe Social Deck remains to be seen, but through one game, all signs point to progression.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kraft Singles sponsorship of Minor League Baseball

Starting May 12th through September 1st, take a Kraft Singles wrapper to any Tuesday game for the opportunity to buy one ticket and get a second ticket free at participating Minor League Baseball parks.