The Latest Viral Dance Craze

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager.  CONGRATS to Griffin for being accepted into Major League Soccer’s sales academy.  I know you will do very well and would like to wish you the best as you continue to pursue your dream job!

Back in August, SCC featured a blog post about how the song “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jespen took over music entertainment. Her video became so catchy and popular that many athletes imitated the musician’s performance by creating video parodies. The commercial success generated by the video resulted in success within many social media outlets. Another song recently went viral on social media and took the world by storm. However, the latest trend has gotten even more viral then “Call Me Maybe” and even taken out “Gangnam Style”. Yes, we are talking about “Harlem Shake.”

Once the Harlem Shake hit the Internet scene in early February, its popularity and growth in social media markets has been exponential. The song itself reached the number one spot in the US billboard top 100, as well as reaching the number one mark in both Australia and New Zealand. While there are many different parodies of the Harlem Shake video, I want to primarily focus on how it has affected the sports scene. From NBA to NASCAR, the Harlem Shake has had an impact many segments of the sports industry. Here are a few examples of this video has crossed over to the sports world.

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Twitter in the Sports & Entertainment Classroom

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager in an informal interview with Mr. Ryan Durrett, the sports and entertainment marketing teacher at Lake Oswego High School in Oregon as we take a closer look at using Twitter as an educational tool.  Be sure to follow SCC @sportsbized and @BizDRett!

SCC:  Thanks for taking some time to share some of your best practices with us Ryan.  If you don’t mind me asking, how long have you been teaching?

RD: I started teaching marketing seven years ago at Lake Oswego High School, eventually  helping to integrate a sports marketing class into the curriculum.  I also teach advertising, advanced marketing, and AP economics.

SCC:  How do you use Twitter as an instructional tool?

RD:  I started using Twitter about two years ago for my sports marketing class because sports and entertainment brands, specific artists, entertainers, athletes…they are all on there.  It is a huge media outlet for all of them and provides them with a great platform for connecting with fans (consumers).  I felt that, if that is where the industry is, that is where we need to be as well.

I primarily engage students by re-tweeting current events/developments within the industry and by looking for relevant stories that might be help illustrate some of the concepts we have explored in the classroom.

Students are always active with social media platforms. If you can have them have in contact with sports and entertainment marketing outside of classroom, that’s just more teaching for them beyond the normal class period.

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Super Bowl XLVII by the Numbers

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager.

The infamous “blackout” of Super Bowl XLVII could not keep the game from making history. Besides the drama provided by the game itself, (which included a dramatic comeback that fell just short for the 49ers), many factors suggest the Big Game was a big success. From a very popular halftime performance to an insane amount of money spent at the sports book, the Super Bowl goes far beyond the the game of football. Lets take a look at Super Bowl XLVII by the numbers for some specific examples…

1: According to Nielsen, CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl XLVII reached a total audience of 164.1 million viewers, making it the most-viewed show in U.S. television history, just barely edging out last year’s Super Bowl ratings.

46.67 Million: Number of instances of social media engagement during the Super Bowl. That number is up a substantial amount from last years Super Bowl that counted 17.4 million instances of social media engagement.

24.1 Million: Amount of Tweets alone submitted during the Super Bowl game. However, two of the most trending topics had nothing to do with the game itself.

250%:  The Holiday Inn Express Harvey-Marrero, which is less than 10 miles from the stadium, had last-minute room accommodations available for $510 a night, according to Hotels.com. Rooms are available this weekend for $145 per night, a 250% increase for Super Bowl weekend.

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Social Media Ghost Town: Google Plus

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager and guest blogger.

Last summer’s much anticipated released of Google + introduced another social media platform to the masses. According to ZDnet, G+ amassed 5 million users within the first month after launch. While G+ does not yet compare to the 1 billion users on Facebook and 500 million users on Twitter, the platform does boast 400 million registered users (as of November 2012), making it the 4th largest social network in the world (these statistics derived from expanded ramblings). This helps support the fact that G+ still maintains a significant number of global users and offers another great opportunity for sports brands to connect with fans.

Google has, for the most part, been a leader in innovation. With “Project Glass” and a driver-less car project on the horizon, it’s a safe bet that Google’s commitment to creating an unparalleled user experience is unwavering. That commitment only reinforces the untapped potential of their social networking platforms. To underscore this point, consider the unique features G+ offers, such as the “hangout” feature, a tool enabling multiple users to live video chat, creating a new and unique way for face-to-face communication to occur. From a sports business perspective, what better way for teams to promote their athletes and connect with fans or for athletes to promote brands in which they represent?  G+ also offers an easy for news and updates to be posted as well so that fans no longer need to look up a “page” in order to get their information about favorite teams or athletes. Considering the potential of G+ to help brands connect with fans, how have those in the sports industry integrated G+ with their overall digital strategies?

Brands:

A recent post on Forbes online highlights the most profitable brands in the sports market. Heavyweight Nike reigns above the competition and has long been a leader in the digital space, but has been largely dismissive of G+. Nike currently stands at +337,660, with 338,243 in their circle. Considering the millions of consumers that consider themselves fans of the swoosh, Nike has done little via G+. The last posted was in May of 2012, ironically promoting Nike Golf using the face of one of their top athletes in Tiger Woods. Nike’s rival, Adidas, has a smaller presence with +9,317 and 7,328 in their circle. While Adidas doesn’t post to G+ every day, they have frequently promoted commercials and encouraged fan interaction. In addition to commercials, Adidas has posted a ton of content, including interviews with sponsors, and product release dates. Another Nike competitor, Under Armour, is also active on their G+ page, but has yet to reach a wide audience. Under Armour currently stands at a +487 with only 184 fans in their circle. While this is relatively low, Under Armour continues to take the time to provide promotional content within their page, with the hope that more consumers will take note. On the flip side, Gatorade, another premier sports brand, has not posted to their G+ page since June. Subsequently, they currently sit at +695.

Meanwhile, in the Forbes list of most valuable sports brands, ESPN ranked second behind Nike. While they are more than just an apparel industry, ESPN is highly active within G+. Their page caters an amazing 2,214,671 followers with a +2,243,674. ESPN doesn’t let their fan base down, consistently posting on their page every single day. ESPN not only posts highlights on their page, but also creates points of fan engagement through polls and hangouts, while promoting commercials as well. They are a leading example of how using G+ can be an extremely valuable medium for connecting with and engaging fans online.

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A Look Back at the Summer Games Social Media “Breakout” Stars

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager, and is a follow up to our post prior to the Summer Games discussing the potential “breakout” social media stars from London.

Back in June, before the Olympic games even began, we previewed athletes who might become stars within social media with a blog post.  Now that the hype of the London Games has died down, it is a good time to reflect back and see which athletes were truly the “breakout” stars of the 2012 Olympics.

Social media has become a good indicator in determining an athlete’s popularity. Michael Phelps is a prominent example of an athlete who excelled in competition and made a name for himself. Phelps entered the games with nearly 180,000 followers on Twitter and had 5.2 million “likes” on Facebook, largely due to his success at the previous Olympic Games in Beijing. After his success in London and ending his Olympic legacy by becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, Phelps has soared to online fame. Phelps now has 1,404,960 followers on his Twitter account, an increase of more than 1,224,960 fans! Alex Morgan is another athlete who did not receive any national exposure until the US women’s soccer team played in the World Cup last year. In London, all Morgan did to her public reputation was secure a gold medal, headlined by her semi-final game-winner goal versus Canada, in a thrilling come-from-behind overtime victory. Morgan, like Phelps, now has reached over a million Twitter followers and has become a social media star as well.

Before the games began, we identified a few athletes with the potential to become the next social media stars. Here is a look at how our predictions fared…

Carmelita Jeter: Women’s Track and Field

Twitter followers: 37,434
Increase of 33,699 followers

Facebook likes: 21,513
Increase of 16,855 likes

Carmelita Jeter was easily one of the bright new stars on the women’s track scene. Called “the world fastest women”, Jeter went on to win three medals in the 2012 Olympic Games. While only winning silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m, Jeter rebounded with an historic team performance in the Women’s 4X100 relay. Jeter anchored the team as Team USA shattered the world record by more than half a second on their way to Gold. Jeter’s social media following showed consistent growth throughout the games, and continues to grow, as she remains active on Twitter.

Jennifer Kessy and April Ross: Women’s Beach Volleyball

Twitter followers: 18,384 (Jennifer) & 16,301 (April)

Jennifer increase of 16,845 followers
April increase of 14,241followers

Facebook likes: 9,116 (Jennifer) & 18,537 (April) likes
Jennifer increase of 5,844 likes
April Increase of 14,199 likes

The increase in social media followers continued for both Jennifer Kessy and April Ross on their run to Silver in the Olympics. The American “underdog” duo made headlines as they reached the finals, only to face fellow American favorites Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Despite losing to what is now the three time champs of the sport, Kessy and Ross made a name for themselves.

Jesse Williams: Men’s Track and Field
Twitter followers: 5,285
Increase of 3,593 followers

Facebook likes: 503
DECREASE of 381 likes

Williams suffered the biggest disappointment among our predictions for breakout social media stars.  Williams qualified for the final round of the Men’s high jump, but failed to medal, placing 9th overall. His growth on twitter was the lowest of all athletes on our list, and he even lost “likes” on Facebook.

Jordyn Wieber: Women’s Gymnastics
Twitter followers: 496,080
Increase of 481,046 followers

Facebook likes: 365,448
Incraese of 353,444 likes

Despite the disappointment of not qualifying for the individual all-around finals, Wieber made Olympic history as part of the Women’s gymnastics team. Wieber put on a near flawless performance to help lead the US gymnastics team to a Gold medal, the first in 16 years. Wieber became a national star, along with the rest of the gymnastics team, which included fellow star Gabby Douglas. At only 16 years old, Wieber remains active on her Twitter account and is a prominent figure in how Olympic exposure can influence an athlete.

Missy Franklin: Women’s Swimming
Twitter followers: 389,632
Increase of 380,778 followers

Facebook likes: 36,033
Increase of 33,849

Missy Franklin came to conquer to London and leave behind a legacy that would impact her life forever. Both her Twitter and Facebook profiles experienced exponential growth after the 17-year old medaled 5 times, 4 of which were Gold.  Despite offers of a reported nearly $2 million in endorsement offers, Missy’s big move after the Olympic games was committing to a college. Fittingly, she announced through her Twitter feed that she would attend Cal Berkley, where she will swim for the Golden Bears.  For those unfamiliar with Franklin before London, they sure know her now.

Ryan Lochte: Men’s Swimming
Twitter followers: 1,043,634
Increase of 978,857

Facebook fans: 296,191
Increase of 207,475 Fans

Despite being somewhat of a household name before entering the London Olympics, Lochte wins the award for becoming the biggest social media star. His explosive growth on Twitter (gaining 978,857 new followers) shatters the competition among our list of potential breakout social media stars.  Lochte won five medals, including Gold in the 400m individual medley, defeating heavy favorite (and teammate/rival) Michael Phelps. While Lochte has received some negative publicity, fans continue to want to hear more from the swimming star.  After the Olympics, Lochte has been rumored to appear on the hit reality show “The Bachelor” as well as the possibility of participating in “Dancing with the Stars.” He continues to remain a prominent figure in social media which will serve fans well as Lochte plans to swim again in the 2016 Olympics.

Lolo Jones: Women’s Track and Field
Twitter followers: 329,626
Increase of 249,901

Facebook fans: 214,635
Increase of 181,763 fans

Jones was another household name entering into the Olympics, but continued her social media success. Jones’s performance wasn’t what she had hoped for, as she placed 4th in the 100m hurdles. Despite failing to medal, Jones’s personality and marketing savvy has kept her in the national spotlight. She continues to pick up endorsement deals, and after recently being named to the US Bobsled team, will appeal to even more potential sponsors in the future. Like many of the other athletes, she remains active with all of her fans on Twitter, further bolstering her appeal as a brand ambassador.

It is safe to say that social media is transforming how athletes are viewed. While these followers are fans first and foremost, the way athletes present both themselves and what they represent is revolutionizing marketing strategies. Nearly all of the athletes we evaluated throughout the Games have taken advantage of social media to help expand their personal brands, a trend that will without a doubt continue as social media platforms evolve. As for which athletes are next in line to become social media stars, we will just have to wait until the Winter Olympics to see who grabs the public’s attention.

Griffin Booth is in his first year as Sports Career Consulting’s Blog Manager.  He is a recent Washington State University graduate where he majored in communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.  Booth began his career as an intern with sports radio 950 KJR in Seattle where he was responsible for managing the show’s podcasts.  He later gained experience as a news anchor, producer, and reporter for Cable 8 news in the greater Pullman area. In addition to his role with Sports Career Consulting, he is currently an intern with Washington State University’s Cougar Athletic Fund, helping to raise money for student-athlete scholarships.  Born and raised in Seattle, Booth is a huge fan of all Seattle sports. For any questions, comments, or feedback please feel free to contact Griffin by email at gbooth206@gmail.com.  You can also follow him on Twitter @gbooth6.

Call Me Maybe

I think it is safe to say Carly Rae Jepsen has taken the world by storm.  Her hit single, Call Me Maybe, enjoyed the top spot on both The Billboard and Canadian Hot 100 and went to number-one in Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom.  It has also sold nearly 7.5 million copies to date.  The song’s video has over 225 million views on YouTube.

While the pop star’s success is nothing to sneeze at, it also isn’t something we haven’t seen before.  Plenty of artists have enjoyed commercial success on par with Jepsen.  I’m not so sure, however, that we’ve seen the sports community gravitate to a song like this, particularly from a social media perspective.

Consider all the places “Call Me Maybe” has popped up in recent months.  Back in July, the USA swim team’s parody of Jepsen’s video quickly went viral just two days before the London Games, amassing more than 3.5 million views in just a few short days (including 600,000 views in just 24 hours). As of this posting, the video has been viewed almost 8 million times.  The Harvard baseball team’s rendition of the video has been viewed nearly 16 million times and the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders’ version has over 11 million views.  The mascots of the Big 10 conference have a parody of the video on YouTube, so does Finland’s women’s basketball team.  Even the Pittsburgh Steelers released a version of the video during training camp.  Based on the viral success of all these videos, it is safe to assume the tributes won’t stop anytime soon.

The question is, who benefits most from all the parodies?  The athletes/teams from all the publicity or Jepsen?

Which Olympian Will Become The Next Big Social Media Star?

When the Olympic Games kick off next month, several athletes will inevitably break through to become household names throughout the U.S.  One way to measure an athlete’s popularity is through social media.  Michael Phelps’ amazing run in Beijing led to an explosion in followers online.  Phelps now has 5.2 million “likes” on Facebook and nearly 180,000 followers on Twitter.  Similarly, Alex Morgan’s performance on one of sports’ biggest stages (last summer’s Women’s World Cup) helped to propel her to online stardom. Today, Morgan has nearly 500,000 “likes” on Facebook and another 500,000 followers on Twitter.  Morgan will no doubt gain many more fans through her social media platforms as the U.S. women’s soccer team competes in the Olympic Games.

It will be interesting to see which American athlete becomes the next big Olympic star, both on the playing field and in the marketing world.  Social media will no doubt play a significant role for whichever athlete enjoys a meteoric rise to prominence.

Here are the athletes we will be following as our picks for the most likely to break out at the 2012 Olympic Games this summer in London:

Carmelita Jeter:  Women’s Track & Field

Twitter Followers: 3,735
Facebook Likes: 4,658

Many Americans have not heard of Carmelita Jeter, despite her current title of “fastest woman in the World,” in large part because she failed to qualify for the 2008 Games in Beijing.  At 32 years old, this will likely be Jeter’s last shot at gold, on and off the track.  Look for her to make the most of her opportunity and create a legacy that will last a lifetime.

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Around the Horn: May 24th

Fewer people tuned in to watch last Saturday’s Preakness Stakes on NBC than last year’s race (viewership declined by 8%). Many had actually expected to see a ratings increase with the stage set for another potential showdown between Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another and runner up Bodemeister, but apparently the budding rivalry was not enough to attract more eyeballs.

It isn’t all bad news, however, for NBC.  According to Fang’s Bites (a website that analyzes sports media), overall viewership for the Preakness Stakes on NBC is up an average of 63% in the last 11 years compared to the previous 8 years’ of race coverage on ABC.  NBC should also expect to see a nice boost for its coverage of the Belmont Stakes.  Interest in the race has spiked as I’ll Have Another pursues the coveted Triple Crown.  According to USA Today, since 2000, the eight Belmont races without a Triple Crown candidate averaged 4% of U.S. TV households while the 4 races with horses contending to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 averaged 10.1% of households.  Expect a nice number for NBC on June 9th…

Many have suggested a correlation exists between the National Football League’s rise in popularity and the explosive growth of fantasy football.  If a correlation does indeed exist, should we see a boom in the popularity of fishing as a spectator sport?  Bassmaster’s website features a fantasy fishing league and it appears as though thousands of fishing enthusiasts are actively participating…great idea by Bassmaster to drive traffic to the site while giving fans a reason to consistently interact with the brand.

According to a recent USA Today report, the National Guard spent nearly $33 million in NASCAR sponsorship fees in fiscal 2011.  The same report also suggests the National Guard spent $20 million in professional fishing and $90 million overall in motor sports in 2011 and 2012…this apparently led the government to enact an effort to ban all military spending on sports sponsorship.  If the government succeeds, how significant will the impact be on the industry?  Just ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. (sponsored by the National Guard), Brad Keselowski (U.S. Navy), or Ryan Newman (sponsored by the U.S. Army) who collectively risk losing millions…

Despite what is becoming an increasingly crowded space, Gatorade continues to dominate the competition.  A story that appeared recently on bloomberg.com suggests the sports/energy drink market was $41.5 billion in 2011, representing the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry (up 14% from 2010).  According to the article, Gatorade did $13.8 billion in sales last year, capturing 33% of the market. That’s impressive.

Today’s parting shot:  The NY Rangers Gnome (@NYRGnome) started a Twitter account at the beginning of NHL playoffs. It already has 5,250 more followers than I do…

NFL Draft Marketing

You have to give credit to ESPN and the NFL.  A little more than thirty years ago (the original plan to broadcast the draft was hatched in Bristol back in 1980), most people thought televising the draft was a crazy idea.  Critics suggested the draft was unwatchable, especially as an all-day event.  Even those who supported the idea did so with little confidence.  Fast forward to today.  This year, ESPN will spend three days covering the draft, much of it during prime time. The NFL Network will also be broadcasting the event live.  The NFL Network set a draft viewership record last year, averaging nearly 570,000 viewers for its three-day coverage while ESPN averaged nearly 3 million viewers during the same span, according to the Sports Business Journal.  But here’s the thing…the NFL and ESPN are no longer the only brands looking to cash in.

Given the competitive nature of the shoe and apparel business, the number of fans tuning in for the draft provides an excellent platform for footwear and apparel companies like Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Under Armour to showcase their brands.  Notably absent this year, however, will be the Reebok logo on the hats worn by players as they take the stage when their names have been called.  Reebok’s deal with the NFL recently expired and New Era becomes the official on-field cap for the league.  New Era hasn’t wasted any time leveraging the partnership with the league, recently rolling out newly designed draft day caps on the company Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Nike will take over the exclusive uniform rights.  The news of tweaks to uniform designs and fabric technology came with much fanfare, and the company’s “reveal” event created a lot of chatter.  However, the brand announced at the event that new jerseys would not be available for purchase until draft day.  Nobody generates buzz and manufactures demand like the ever opportunistic swoosh.

Never one to stand idly by, long-time Nike rival adidas invested in a lucrative endorsement deal with this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III.  RG3, as he’s also known, is expected to go second overall in the draft to the Washington Redskins (the Indianapolis Colts have reportedly already told Andrew Luck they plan to select him with the number one pick).  You can bet adidas will be doing all they can throughout the draft to maximize the brand’s exposure via their relationship with the popular QB and that of Ryan Tannehill (from Texas A&M), who adidas also recently signed and is expected by many to be the third quarterback selected.  A commercial featuring RG3 is already posted on YouTube…expect to see it many times during draft coverage.

Under Armour, recognizing the potential challenges in gaining prominent exposure for the brand during the draft, focused its efforts to gain consumer attention by building buzz at the NFL combine.  To do so, the brand developed an extensive social media campaign to support its sponsorship of the event.  That strategy allowed the Maryland-based company to effectively promote the brand without getting lost in the draft-day hype of Nike’s new uniforms or the adidas relationship with RG3.

Coverage of the 2012 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 26th at 8:00 ET on ESPN and on the NFL Network (Verizon Wireless users will also be able to tune in on their mobile device).

Side note:  Click here to see footage of the 1981 NFL Draft on YouTube…it really is amazing to see how far the event has come.

Around the Horn: April 9th

A few newsworthy items relating to the Masters Sunday from a sports business perspective:

* ESPN Radio reported that Bubba Watson earned just over $5,000 per golf shot for the tournament for a total of $1.44 million

* Despite a dramatic playoff finish, television ratings for this year’s Masters suffered a significant drop off, falling 22% from last year’s tournament.

* Sunday’s win helped propel Bubba’s personal brand, particularly from a social media perspective as the number of people following Watson shot up nearly 60% less than 24 hours after Sunday’s victory. (via @DarrenRovell on Twitter)

* According to a story that appeared online today at forbes.com, Watson’s N-Score (measures a sports figure’s overall endorsement potential based on appeal and awareness) suffers low awareness scores, but his appeal scores are “off the charts” (68% of respondents said they like Watson while 52% like Phil Mickelson)…obviously winning the Masters will give Bubba a very significant bump in awareness scores, meaning he now stands to gain much more than the $1.44 million in prize money thanks to the huge victory on one of golf’s grand stages.

* Many attribute the drop in ratings to the fact that Tiger Woods was not a threat to win…according forbes.com story, just 17% of respondents said they like Tiger, a testament to how polarizing Woods remains.

* Watson’s current golf-related endorsement deals?  Clubs (Ping), balls (Titleist), shoes (Footjoy), socks (Kentwool)…one would assume the asking price might increase at next round of negotiations.

Rare is the athlete who manages to land an endorsement deal for a non-sports performance product, but Robert Griffin III is certainly not the average QB prospect.  It was announced today that RG3 signed a deal with Castrol, news that certainly speaks to his potential both on and off the field.

There is a lot of excitement surrounding tonight’s debut of Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish.  How much excitement?  According to the analysts at Front Row Analytics, just wearing a Nike glove and cleats will provide Nike with over $28,000 in exposure on Fox Sports Southwest’s broadcast of tonight’s game. (via @FRAnalytics on Twitter)