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Complacency Is A Disease

Leaders in the world of sports are often referenced for motivation by leaders in the business world.  Just think for a moment about how many sports icons speak at sales conferences across the country.  There’s no denying that sports metaphors are often used analogously for real world situations.

I’m a big fan of English Premier League side, Manchester United.  If you’re at all familiar with them, aside from their worldwide commercial dominance, then you know of Sir Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex is regarded as one of, if not the most successful manager in the history of the game. His track record of consistent success at Manchester United for over 26 years will never be repeated.

Now in retirement, Ferguson is not just a source for metaphors, but he’s actually sharing his experiences from the pitch with senior executives from around the world as part of Harvard Business School’s new “The Business of Entertainment, Media and Sports” program. [1]

I got on this topic because of something I read Sir Alex say during a recent event he attended promoting the release of his updated autobiography in paperback. He was talking about the team of course, but it sparked a thought in my mind about the industry in which I work and about a problem I’ve had with it for some time.

The quote, appropriately, is a great analogy to the nature of the sports business:  “Complacency is a disease. If you get complacent during games or during a run you’re going to suffer,” he said, before listing his prerequisites for success: “Intensity. Speed. Concentration. Work ethic.” [2]

So about that problem I have… The majority of my 13+ years in the sports industry has been spent dealing with professional athletes.  Whether it’s been representing athletes for their off field marketing interests or on behalf of companies looking to leverage the power of celebrity to build their brands, I’ve seen it all.  The sports business is fast paced and many aspects of it are high risk, high reward propositions.  Innovation, particularly through technology has changed so much in the way consumers interact with teams, brands and athletes.  But in my space, what was once innovative is now archaic, and marketers have fallen victim to complacency.  I’m talking about the process of selecting and hiring celebrity endorsers.

Let’s take Q-Scores for instance – a service that led the innovation of the endorser selection process by providing awareness and appeal ratings of celebrities. Their data has been a stake in the ground for brands making big endorsement decisions.  We’ve seen several competitors replicate their solution, but with the emergence of big data and real-time technologies, none have taken the reins to evolve with the times.  However, without marketers demanding a paradigm shift, why innovate if the money is still rolling in?

The amount of money being paid to celebrities each year is staggering.  When coupled with the funds earmarked to activate these partnerships, it’s clear that brands are making a significant investment in their selected spokesperson.  The issue is that awareness and appeal alone does not ensure a particular celebrity is the ideal match for a specific brand.

For decades, experts and scholars have tackled this issue, resulting in many documented alternatives that present far more effective solutions.  But shifting away from the industry norm is no small feat.

In our forthcoming White Paper - “Celebrity Endorsements: The Evolving Selection Process & The Science of Eliminating Subjectivity”, we’ll dive into three distinct theories that individually present a valid argument, but collectively prove to be critical factors needed to select the ideal celebrity endorser.

Feel free to contact us if you’d like to be alerted or sent a copy of our paper when it’s released.

email us

View the original published article on LinkedIn

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Sox (Ir)Regulars Getting It Done

Our beloved Boston Red Sox are on a shockingly elite pace for nearly 100 wins.  This on the heels of the franchise’s worst season – on the field and over the PR waves – in over half a century.  With their shutout victory last night over their “closest” competitors for the division crown, the Rays, the Sox now stand 8.5 games ahead of them.  As reported by NESN, their magic number for a playoff birth is just 8 and to clinch the division, 10.

How has this happened?  Removing the lightening rod (and terrible manager) that is Bobby Valentine was certainly the best place to start.  And replacing him with a manager who spent lots of time here as the Pitching Coach and knew the temperament and how to fix the rotation was an excellent 2nd move.

Of course, the actual player personnel acquisitions and performances are the most significant impacts to the incredible one-season turnaround.  The term “clubhouse guy” has been beaten to death, but rightfully so.  Guys like Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster and newly-acquired Jake Peavy have brought “the fun” back to The Fens.  Baseball comes first, not the Red Sox or individual player brands or preferences and demands.

Attitude and approach only lend so much credence however.  These new players as well as “veteran” Red Sox in expanded roles have produced at similarly high levels all season long.  Looking at BrandMatch Score’s Career Progression Index (CPI) shows the impact these traditional role players have had that are on par with or surpass Sox stalwarts.  CPI is a comparative tool measuring how players stack up against other league players and teammates over a multitude of stat categories. (50 is a max CPI Score)

2013 CPIs (no career stats included):

Daniel Nava – CPI: 42.0 (25th in the League in BA, 5th in OBP)

Craig Breslow – CPI: 42.0 (12th in league in ERA among Qualified Relievers)

Koji Uehara – CPI: 44.0 (3rd in league in ERA and 4th in Ks among Qualified Relievers)

And while the above have produced far more than could have been expected, newcomers Napoli (37.5) and Victorino (35) have very solid CPI results as well.  Napoli ranks 3rd or higher on the team in multiple categories while Victorino is Top 4 on the team in 5 different offensive categories.

As a measuring stick, here are Jacoby Ellsbury’s, Dustin Pedroia’s and Jonathan Papelbon’s 2013 CPIs.  As you can see, Uehara has done quite well in his new role, even considering the save totals (Papelbon 30, Uehara 19):

Ellsbury – CPI: 42.70

Pedroia – CPI: 44.70

Papelbon – CPI: 41.65

This is by no means a denouncement or criticism of those three’s contributions to the Sox or Phillies.  Papelbon still has those 30 Saves, while Ellsbury and Pedroia are similarly Top 25 or even Top 10 in the league in Batting Average, Steals, Hits and Runs.  But the overall balance of production from surprising outlets is largely the reason the Local 9 are on the verge of matching win totals from World Series Championship years of 2004 and 2007.

Unlike those years when the Sox had monster names, personalities and production numbers from the likes of Pedro, Schilling, Big Papi (who, this year’s stat line cannot go unnoted), Manny, Beckett et al, these Sox are succeeding and creating their own brands through complimentary above average play across the whole lineup and pitching staff.  That, and of course growing very big beards.

Endorsing the Non-Traditionals

Wes Welker and Dr. Leonard?  Tony Siragusa and Depends?  Jimmy Johnson and Extenze?  The McCourty Brothers and Coco Butter?  Most recently and with heavy press around the globe – Ronaldinho and Sex Free Condoms?

We’ve certainly seen odd “partnerships” in the past (and recent), Ozzy Osborne and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and recently Steven Tyler and Burger King come to mind.  However, the past 3-4 years have seen an influx of non-traditional industries and products themselves becoming actively immersed in the endorser world.  There are numerous reasons and capabilities as to how it is happening.  Many have been discussed in recent blog posts here; newer equity structures of contracts, a plethora of platforms for activation and accessibility and the sheer volume of endorsers (non-stars, media members etc.).  All lead to the growing universe of companies utilizing spokespersons.

It brings a vantage point to light that most consumers and even industry personnel rarely think of – the actual endorsers.  The power, leverage, direct association, risk and security of these programs certainly begin and end with the endorsers.  What is the buzz of the athlete?  Has he or she been mired in controversy before or during a campaign?  Have they recently won an award or championship?  Are they visible in the community?  Are they believable?  Are they funny?  Despite the heavy presence and consequence of the celebrity, his or her reasons why, willingness and satisfaction level are almost never noted.

These new endorsement spaces have brought these elements into focus.  As readers may know and can tell, most of these new products deal in very personal spaces.  Further, especially from the male perspective, it can bring into question the “toughness” and “manhood” of respective endorsers.  Thus, the willingness of these athletes is a major hurdle in securing a partnership.  How many prospects did Dr. Leonard have to go through to wind up with a willing partner in Wes Welker?  Did it take convincing on the brand’s part?  Were Devin and Jason McCourty immediately accepting to putting their name and faces on a personal care product like moisturizing butter?

Surely there are incentives on the athlete side aside from monetary as well.  There is a uniqueness to these that allows the athletes to operate in spaces that no others are.  The amount of foot apparel, clothing, drink, car and other major product category endorsements actively operating is difficult to count.  But how many former football players turned media staples are speaking for a bladder control and remedial product?  The exclusiveness is inherent and something I believe is very attractive.  It is a large reason why we’re seeing more and more of these alliances.

Speaking candidly, this has certainly been a productive shift for the industry.  It creates business and revenues, content for fans to enjoy and platforms to help grow sports.   It illustrates a willingness from peers (other athletes) to do the unexpected which leads to others following suit.

Perhaps most noticeably, it humanizes these celebrities and athletes by getting into their personal space and matters.  It is near surreal for target consumers to relate to these giant personalities and egos.  But by opening up their private worlds even just the tiniest of bits, endorsers give those consumers at least a small understanding and relatable real-life experience.  And that’s good for business.

Increases in Media Endorsements

The information and technology age has brought on many changes and new capabilities for the participating individual.  Emails were something of a rarity just 15 years ago.  Texting barely existed.  Satellite television was just breaking onto the scene.  And HD?  That was still more than 5 years away from even being introduced into the mainstream.  Innovative much?

Of course today, you have instant, literally, information sources with platforms like Twitter.  You can watch your own television remotely on your smart phone or tablet with products like SlingBox.  And every consumer, not just corporate executives, can video chat with someone seven thousand miles away.

But perhaps most consequently is the immense accessibility that now exists – the volume of data on online platforms, the number of individuals and organizations creating content, and of course the number of viewers and readers taking it in.

Because of this, broadcasters, anchors, analysts, and writers (to be very vague today) in the sports economies have been revolutionized.  Or evolved.  While there have always been media endorsements in the sports world – John Madden, Marv Albert, and Chris Berman to name a few – the amount seen today is quite impressive.   Much has to do with added responsibilities and duties because of the aforementioned new spheres of influence.

There is of course, added inventory and/or programming with these new platforms media personalities execute.  Blog space, viral video placements, Tweets etc.  The “hard goods” are plentiful and brands take advantage of this.  Further, the increase in number of personalities and the accessibility to their work allows for stronger associations with employer networks.  Everyone wins.  Networks like it because of those secondary impressions.  Brands like it because these partnerships are normally more cost effective alternatives than hiring a social staple athlete.  Thus, many startups and small-scale brands are able to jump into the endorsement economy (see ESPN link for examples).  And of course, the media personalities are getting supplemental income while increasing and strengthening their own brand equity.

There is risk involved of course.  With endless space for a voice to be heard comes the threat of controversy.  Rarely does a month or even week go by where an individual is not in the news for a comment or action over the airwaves, nowadays often a Tweet.   As the link below notes, networks and publications must also be wary of corporate sponsors who may frown upon well-known and thus associated employees endorsing competitor brands and/or products.  As the Sports Illustrated article points out, most are permitted or not on “case by case” situations.

All in all, the sports and media industries continue to evolve and adapt as the information and technology ones do.  This is a good thing.  With new spaces for voices and brand placement come added incomes, revenues and the potential for jobs.  We keep our eyes open for all these progressions as the second half of 2013 kicks in.

Sources:

sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=6357598

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/more/news/20130609/espn-cbs-sports-nbc-sports-endorsements-julius-erving-documentary/

Athlete Investors… Sort Of.

There’s always been a preconceived notion in the endorsement industry that the biggest giants – be it Nike, Apple, Gatorade etc. – have a hugely large advantage over smaller and midsize “competitors” in recruiting and retaining spokespersons.  It’s largely accurate, these established corporations and conglomerates have more assets to offer, a Grand Canyon sized room for error, and the inherent benefit of being aligned with such recognizable brands.  Potential endorsers WANT to be associated with them.

The past 6-8 years give or take, has seen a slight shift in this.  Or at least, perhaps, a ripple created.  Beginning with Vitamin Water, in the mainstream, who partnered with David Ortiz and Brian Urlacher, a trend was set of startups working with endorsers who were willing to take equity as compensation and little or even no cash.  It’s become widespread, especially in the energy drink industry.

The latest is BodyArmor and its SuperDrink.  Or, the latest newsworthy.  Last week BodyArmor signed MVP and two-time World Series Champion Buster Posey to a partnership to be a spokesperson.  The new performance drink has a very long list of star-studded names (and now partners) including Mike Trout, Rob Gronkowski, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy and now Posey.

This (relatively) new practice is certainly mutually beneficial, but produces a new element not commonly seen in the past – risk on the athlete side of things.  Sure, if companies who had the capital or underwriting sponsors to cover athlete fees ever tanked for non-business reasons (or even business reasons), that association could hinder the spokesperson’s personal branding and perception.  But at least at the onset of campaigns, there was financial compensation.  And even with poor results of brands, many contracts would have line items protecting the athletes with insurance etc.

Not to say that new deals wouldn’t.  Now more than ever legalities and minute specifics and conditions are written into contracts.  But still, athletes and celebrities deal in dollars and most see themselves as commodities working off market value and should be paid as such.  Working in equitable terms guarantees no immediate return.  Which, for the brand, is a very good thing.  This new risk and “skin in the game” creates an incentive for the endorsers to perform when asked.  If they’re better at increasing the brand equity of these companies, their reward increases.

This also opens up capital and operating budgets for other expenses and investments.  In the case of BodyArmor, their roster of athletes could command more than $10 million if dealing in cash terms.  With a shareholder agreement, BodyArmor has been able to retain and grow that portfolio, while sponsoring events like World of Dance and Rock Solid Mud Run to increase their footprint in more targeted demographics and geographies.

For the endorsers, their investment is time and effort.  In the short-term, many charities and their programs are included in programming.  The endorsers also have more of a say in the strategic planning and execution of initiatives rather than signing on for a specific package.  With the threat of hopping into multi-million dollar heads, aligning with a product they truly do believe in and want to see grow, rather than those that afford the greatest value, also carries a certain emphasis.  At least to some who have verbally said as much.

Looking at the bigger scope, these deals provide a certain measure of future security as well – if these brands are Under Armour or Vitamin Water in 5 years, they’re initial “sacrifice” will certainly be worth it.  Further, operating within this framework lends a type of business acumen that could potentially serve them once their career has ended.  Maybe it’s just continuing to endorse the product if the name carries that much weight, maybe it’s becoming a marketing executive within the company.  Or perhaps ideally, the spokesperson is sitting on the Board helping to make large-scale business decisions.

For the industry as a whole, these new structures for payouts have created new levels of thinking and projecting for new and thus smaller companies.  There are countless startups in the sunglasses, watches, apparel, social media, health & wellness and many other industries.  With the right business plan, pitch, and financial support, these companies have a new avenue to market themselves, be more efficient with capital and revenues, and procure new partners wanting to grow with the brand…and being assets themselves.

With an endless stream of new brands looking for validity and recognition combined with more and more high-level talent willing to engage in equitable programs, these partnership transactions along with new and innovative ways to activate them will continue to grow in the coming years.

 

BodyArmor Sources:

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/bodyarmor-superdrink-catches-a-winner-in-reigning-mvp-world-champion-buster-posey-1792002.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lancemadden/2012/10/10/bodyarmor-superdrink-up-to-five-athlete-endorser-investors/

http://www.worldofdance.com/2011/10/31/bodyarmor-makes-world-of-dance-debut-in-san-diego/img_5596/

http://www.dkeventmarketing.com/2012/04/23/bodyarmor-signs-sponsorship-deal-with-rock-solid-mud-run/

Brands and Celebrities- How do you BrandMatch® Score and Win?

BY PATRICIA DIXON – Startup Leak

Do you want a vegetarian golf pro representing your burger chain? Of course not, but what if you didn’t ask?  Maybe you want a football player to represent your sports clothing line? It’s a big financial decision and you have to make sure it’s right, here’s how.

Ingenuity streamlined with marketability can create much more than a data analytics platform, it can give a real time value and a viable real world solution to the branding and celebrity endorser marketing business. It is easy to see athletes and celebrities that have progressive potential for brand matching and product sales. It’s not so easy to see a true comprehensive of real time direct correlation to client specific criteria and celebrity statistics while being cohesive on many levels with authentic value for a brand. Since stagnant scoring systems have been the normal in the industry for years, it has been an area slated for disruption, waiting for a real time solution.

The arrival of BrandMatch Score is changing the way this entire eco-marketing-system works, redefining how brands and celebrities come together for the best potential endorsement and product compatibility. They have created a software based market research tool that is powerful enough to cross-platform endorsement criteria such as target demographics,  key brand attributes, length of campaign, allocated endorser budget, requirements of the endorser and the celebrities they wish to be scored against, for the right brand match.

Creating Real Time Matching for a Modern ‘MoneyBall’ Business

Creator and CEO, Derek Boyle of Massachusetts and his full time team members David Hoffman, Josh Boyle and Justin Rogers, along with development team Stature Software have spent many years building and perfecting the product that has become BrandMatch Score. After their official launch in November of 2012, they attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference for the sports business world, and gained a large amount of attention as well as potential partnerships with both athletes and brands. Due to this rush of attention they have been moving forward very quickly in the application and growth phase of their software product with this real time scoring for brands and endorsers.

How They Did It

According to CEO, Derek Boyle, “it has been an education process for the brands and agencies to realize there is something much more effective on the market for their industry, other than the old standard score still used today, and our product adoption is very well received.” Since Boyle previously had been a Director of Athletic Marketing, he knows the problems encountered with selecting an endorser, and spent 10 years perfecting the right way to do it without large amounts of subjectivity being involved any longer. “The system takes all the information from an in-depth online discovery phase, as well as three components collectively measured, producing each BrandMatch Score, which then quantifies how well each endorser aligns with the brand, it’s product and specific business objectives” says Boyle. BrandMatch Score also collects consumer insight by utilizing certified panels through an independent survey administered by the McCormack Center for Sports Research at UMass Amherst, guided by the specifics of information provided by the brand. This information is all included in the BrandMatch Score.

BrandMatch Score boasts an advisory team of who’s-who in the professional sports industry, and they carry clients on both the brand and agency sides from retail, food, apparel, beverage, banking and more. They offer their software-as-a-service to both local and national venues in all sides of business and are continually expanding. They have completed their founders round of funding, and are currently raising seed funding just under approximately $1M.

Their product is eliminating large amounts of industry subjectivity, providing better accountability and leveraging analytical credibility into the brand and celebrity matching business. It is empirical data that allows the brand to understand the factors when a celebrity or athlete is representing and becoming the face of their brand.

If you are in the marketing business and want to acquire a celebrity endorser, this tool can help to make your agency’s goals viable and bring you to the top of the game in your marketing campaign.

“We are here to help marketers change the way they select and hire athletes and celebrity endorsers.”

Visit BrandMatch Score - http://www.brandmatchscore.com/

Follow BMS on Twitter – @BrandMatchScore

Visit the BMS Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/BrandMatchScore

 

DIRECT LINK TO THE STORY: STARTUP LEAK

A Recap and Thoughts on a Labor Negotiations Panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2013

By Justin Rogers, Senior Vice President, BrandMatch Score

On Friday March 1st and Saturday March 2nd, Boston’s Convention and Event Center hosted the renowned gathering of the sports industry’s top owners, executives, and next crop of sporting experts at the 7th Annual MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.  Being our first time attending, we had heard how infinitely informative, educating, and productive the conference was.  Yet, now a full week removed, it still overwhelms the mind contemplating the sheer impressiveness of it and what the overall content theme means to the ever-changing landscape of the business of sports.

Why Analytics
It’s no secret analytics are abundant everywhere.  Almost to the point it’s incomprehensible the sheer volume of not only the data, but also the number of industries and capacities that use them.  Social media of course, has exploded a whole new industry of culling data – raw numbers on reach, sentiment, demographic splits, marketing uses and influence.

There are many reasons why analytics have constantly grown along new and different data point lines and industries themselves.  Numbers are easier and more streamlined than language, or content.  Spreadsheets are more efficient and hard numbers easier to process than a lengthy worded report.  Not to mention, there are language barriers, be it actual dialects or industry terms and jargon.  Figures help circumvent obstacles.

Analytics are versatile, or universal.  They illustrate instant measurements and benchmarks, and most importantly, are based in the same metric as dollars.  As we all know, those are the ultimate “analytics”.  Fair, good, or not.

Incredibly there are still areas and angles that have not been measured using algorithmic means.  Further, there are faculties, organizations and information across “aisles” that can be combined and compared using mathematical methods.

Which is why SSAC is such a great forum and showcase.  There is always going to be a “next” something, but there are also current accepted practices and those that are testing, for lack of a better word.  SSAC provides space for both well-known industry executives and those looking to break into it to deliberate on implemented products, test potential improvements, and discuss areas where these techniques are not used but need to be.

As an example, our company, Empirical Synergies, was there to present BrandMatch Score, a market research tool rating the compatibility between brands and potential endorsers.  This product is enhancing and increasing the use of empirical data and proprietary techniques in researching and hiring spokespersons for companies.

This brings me to a panel I was able to attend, and where these expert professionals thought more and more information and data can be used – Beyond Reason: Sports Labor Negotiations(1).

Beyond Reason: Sports Labor Negotiations
The idea behind this particular panel was pretty simple; how can analytics be used in labor negotiations between teams and players associations to make the collective bargaining process more efficient, better leagues themselves, and of course avoid lengthy and contentious lockouts (or strikes).

There were overall intentions discussed; commissioners and owners creating trust amongst their constituent players by engaging them far more and earlier, separating leagues’ playing points (competition committees, eligibility, morality clauses etc) from financial considerations, changing people in the room to freshen and change (seeing opponents side) perspectives, “looking at the abyss” much earlier, and make negotiating difficult by, for instance, taking away anti-trust exemptions or rights (Sherman Act, TV Rights) leagues possess.

Throughout these discussions, there were two main bullets with respect to use of analytics – balancing market competition and rookie eligibility rules.  Both of these, according to the panel, had the main principle of forecasting and using analytics to do so.

Righting Revenue Sharing
Market size competition and cultivation is arguably the most difficult task facing “federations” and franchises.  With respect to collective bargaining, it creates strife not just among owners and players, but owners and owners and owners and leagues.  There are currently many sets of data used to predict things like ratings, revenues, player contract costs and others.  However, no process brings these points together to project full models of future market structure.  This lends to the idea of both sides seeing the growth of the game, and not just their respective organizations’.  After all, growth of the game means growth of your franchise.

To this point, Kevin Murphy, a renowned economist professor from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business talked about “working backwards”.  Having goals of where the league wants to be with revenues, team shares, ratings, attendance et al, and using a full market model to predict how they can achieve this through each team.  Not seeing teams as unequal individuals.  Currently, they are.

Revenue sharing now is (mostly) determined through television deal money, attendance, and revenues and how each team performs(2).  There are floors and ceilings of those eligible to “give or receive” based on market size.  However they deal only with respect to gate receipts and revenues and whether qualifying teams get a “full share”.  The NFL is different simply because of national and not local television deals.

However, with other leagues, can you calculate how to reach a revenue sharing figure by first calculating a weight to each market (other than simply qualifying), business effected, and not just how a team’s attendance and revenue fair?  Shouldn’t there be different levels depending on the uncontrollable means available?  And what about including ratings into calculations?  Heck, with how the business world has turned the past 6-8 years, factor social media reach and contributions into this.  Incentivize not just by getting people to games, but efforts in marketing and branding your franchise as well.

Tom Penn, an NBA analyst for ESPN brought up the case of the San Antonio Spurs, arguably the most successful on the court franchise of the past 10-15 years, alongside the Lakers.  How then, with near perfect attendance and Top 5 television ratings, do the Spurs often struggle to turn a profit(3)?  Should there not be some credit or subsidy for market size (again, other than simply qualifying).  The financial impact of local business is a huge influencer is measuring market effect.  Factor this into a revenue sharing model.

All of these points in getting as much hard data as possible for negotiations highlighted another objective; using all this data for both the current negotiation and preparing for the next, something most argue is completely ignored during current bargaining.

Rookie Eligibility
The second focus discussed regarded eligibility for rookies.  There has been much debate on NBA and NFL league laws that prohibit legal adults from taking part in their profession.  In the NBA, you must be 19 during the calendar year of the draft and be a year removed from your high school graduating class.  In the NFL, you must be three years removed from your high school graduating class.

There were two arguments for the issues – How can a legal adult not be allowed to pursue their careers in their trade?  And, why should teams in a league with ant-trust laws and protection have to be strapped with costs for younger, normally less prepared and talented employees?  Of which, can and do take away from their ability to best improve their product.  The answer of course was, new analytical data supporting cases for both.

Andrew Zimbalist had a great quote; “There are many anecdotes why younger kids should not join professional leagues.  I want the empirical data on it.”  With limitless information available to build support for cases, for and against, the question becomes, “How has this not been done yet?”

Quantify and compare how well 18 year-old players do with their financial gains.  Calculate the difference in injury proneness of younger athletes versus seasoned.  Measure and project what will happen to team’s salary caps, max contracts, midlevel exceptions, veteran minimums and the like if an influx of young athletes are introduced.

While nothing very technical (as in, the math itself) was discussed, clearly individuals who have been involved in every labor negotiation of the past twenty years know data is available to create new models of measurement over multiple and very important levels of professional sport.  It is forever said, and often used in many an ad campaign, that change and improvement are always positive constants.  Professional sports leagues have opportunities now, especially in a period of relative labor peace, to truly prepare and support their positions for proficient future negotiations and more importantly, the mutual growth of their respective games.

Footnotes:
1This panel consisted of; Mike McCann, an award winning scholar and journalist of Sports Law, founder of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law; Kevin Murphy, a University of Chicago (Booth School of Business) professor of economics focusing on labor rights and wage inequality; Tom Penn, an NBA expert of advanced analytics, salary structures, and collective bargaining issues; Andrew Zimbalist, the Robert A. Woods professor of economics at Smith College while being a visiting professor all around the world including Kyoto, Geneva, and Hamburg.  The panel was moderated by Deepak Malhotra, Professor in Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit at Harvard Business School.

2 http://basketball.about.com/od/nba-vs-nbapa/ss/Revenue-Sharing-And-North-Americas-Major-Pro-Sports-Leagues.htm, Pages 1-4

 3Forbes

Editor’s note: The views expressed in each post are those of the author(s) only and not those of the conference organizing team or blog sponsor.

DIRECT LINK: http://www.sloansportsconference.com/?p=11279

Digital matchmakers: How brands and agencies find the right athlete for an alliance

Erik Spanberg, Correspondent     Published February 11, 2013

Just as tracking improves for digital and social media marketing campaigns, so, too, can brands and agencies analyze data to make better matches for endorsements and advertising alliances with athletes.

Among the newest entrants: Boston-based BrandMatch Score, a software tool used to pair brands and campaigns with sports personalities. Rather than a simple Q Score measuring how well-known a particular athlete is, BrandMatch considers everything from the brand, goals, budgets, key attributes (family friendly, edgy, etc.), components (appearances, online only, broadcast, etc.) and geography (local, regional, national).

On the other side comes the match with an athlete. The software looks at career performance trends, latest results, the cost of various players, the mutual attributes the player and company share (genuine, disciplined, etc.) and so on.

“It’s important to gauge what’s realistic,” said Derek Boyle, BrandMatch founder and president. “And with this, you have the ultimate due diligence [on track record]. You’re not making decisions based on guesses.”

Rates start at $12,500 for BrandMatch analysis.

Great Read Featuring Our Survey Partner – UMASS

Michael Phelps’ agent shares strategies

By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Among the hundreds of schools that have sports management or marketing programs, the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management in Amherst, Mass., is one that truly stands out.

Not only does the department hold all of IMG founder Mark McCormack’s communications and documents, which it is still archiving, but it also has a fantastic oral history endeavor and an executive-in-residence program that has sports business leaders stay on campus for days.

Read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/c3rz9k4

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