February 16th, 2010

Biggest Star ≠ Best Marketing

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Fantasy companies of various sizes have sought to (or would like to) align their brands with some of the athletes we all follow so breathlessly, but millionaire players sit far out of reach for most.

Just because you can’t get the biggest name in your preferred game, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t build an effective promotion or campaign.

Under Armour’s popular and cool “We must protect this house” campaign (just to pick one random example) centered on Dallas reserve and special teams player Eric Ogbogu. Reebok built one of the most memorable and enduring television ad series around an “office linebacker” who never even played in the NFL.

Of course, the company that can’t afford to get Derek Jeter to wear its hat for 10 minutes also won’t have the cash to film Terry Tate commercials. The point here is that creativity, originality and dedication in what you do can be as important — or even more so — as who you get.

This seemingly random thought was generated by an interesting list (see below) put together by Activ8Social, a company that provides social-marketing solutions.

The company compiled and ranked its top 30 athlete pages on Facebook, decided not just by size but quality. A page needed to have at least 300,000 fans to be ranked, so most of the names in the top 30 are immediately recognizable to any casual American sports fan — but some others might surprise you. (No. 2, for example, is a skateboarder I’d never heard of.)

Athletes aside, one need look no further than the Nickelback-fighting pickle or this Twitter account (whose name I won’t reproduce) for an example of how easy it can be to connect with a large audience on today’s Web.

Don’t lament a lack of promotional resources. Get creative.


Seats Available for MIT Analytics Conference

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The fourth iteration of MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is just a little more than two weeks away, but spots remain open for non-students to attend.

Besides being of interest to the fantasy crowd simply because it focuses on sports analytics, the conference (presented by ESPN) boasts a pretty impressive lineup of speakers and panelists.

The site lists among its “featured speakers”:

  • Colts president Bill Polian
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
  • NFL chief marketing officer Mark Waller
  • ESPN basketball analyst (and former NBA player and coach) Avery Johnson
  • Kraft Sports Group president and chief operating officer Jonathan Kraft

The list also includes other leaders from teams, leagues and organizations throughout the American sporting scene, as well as some of the more recognizable names in analytics — Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus and FiveThirtyEight.com was recently added — (and, of course, a few other ESPN personalities).

Panels include a discussion of limits of the “Moneyball” philosophy, led by author Michael Lewis, and a look at the future of team management and ownership with leaders from Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL.

Many of the tickets at discounted student rates are sold out, but the non-student $200 level still has openings as of this posting (though apparently fewer than 50).