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.