Remember a simpler time when jerseys were just jerseys, not Pinterest boards for big-money brands to pin their logos? It seems that time is quickly passing us by.
A mentor and former boss once framed a wonderful metaphor in urging me and others in our organization to strive for greatness. He spoke of creating "two percent moments." It's something that all sports marketers should think about in designing the most impactful activations and touch points, but, as I'll elaborate on, only if done in a pragmatic and customer-centric way.
It's been an uncharacteristically rough couple years for the NFL. While the game's popularity has surged ever higher year over year since the very first Super Bowl - and investments from sponsors and broadcasters have surged accordingly, the last half decade has told a different story off the field. The 24-hour news cycle has been largely unkind to "The Shield."
Although golf is a top driver among sponsors, consumers and fans, recent developments have put the game in the rough.
It's no secret anymore-eSports has reached a level of legitimacy. Brands are rapidly seeking out any opportunity to sink their toes into the shiny eSports sand.
The annals of sports marketing history are rife with brand crises brought about by spokesperson scandals and inappropriate conduct. Go back just a few weeks for the swift eradication of multiple brand relationships with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte for the latest in a long line of challenges. "Athletes gone bad" is certainly nothing new for sports marketers. Morals clauses have become standard practice for endorsement contracts.
This past week, ESPN published Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg's remarks on Call of Duty's eSports efforts. He attributes much success to the pro players - "They give you the momentum of a story: a beginning, middle and end. Those narratives are what fuel an interest in sports. People love watching the best players in the world play the game they love."
Let's take a look at what we can take away from the 2016 Rio games and what it tells us about the direction of sports marketing and media.
In a spring and summer filled with the Olympics, presidential conventions, Pokemon Go, Brett Favre's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, LeBron James leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA title and the return of Guns N' Roses, it takes some marketing moxie to stand out from the crowd.
When a game is in full swing, no other brand can match a sports club for fan engagement. But as football legend Emmitt Smith wisely said, winning isn't about one moment; it's about every moment.