The Gamblers

Fair to assume that both fantasy football and bracket “office” pools are forms of gambling, no?  And as the numbers illustrate every year, March Madness and the Super Bowl are two of the biggest sporting events in the World.

I’m not sure there is a real metric in place that could provide an accurate measure of the value both fantasy football and bracketology carry for each respective mega event, but there is no question they have helped fuel the explosive growth over the years.

The American Gaming Association estimates that 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets, more than the number of ballots cast (nearly 66 million) for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.  According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 41.5 million Americans played fantasy football last year.

In the grand scheme of things, for as much as we love the cinderella story, the dominant brands continue to end up on the winning side.  In the NFL, the New York Giants and New England Patriots have appeared in the Super Bowl 9 times in the last 12 years.  Since 1992, only SIX teams have won the NCAA men’s bball championship that were not seeded number one.  Of those six, two teams were a two seed, two were three seeds, one was a six seed and last year’s UConn team was the real outlier as a seven.

So, that leaves us to wonder, would the Super Bowl or March Madness enjoy the same remarkable success without a little push from the gambling U.S. public?  Just food for thought as you fill out your brackets…

#BeFrank Player of the Year Campaign

The Wisconsin Badgers have a done a great job all year promoting Frank Kaminsky as a NCAA Wooden Award candidate (given to the nation’s top player each year).  The marketing efforts along with his play have helped solidify him as the leading candidate to win the award.

The Badgers athletics program has been updating a unique microsite (promoted through their various social channels using the hashtag #BeFrank) linked to their athletics homepage all season long (http://www.uwathletics.com/befrank).  Adding the social element has given the campaign more legs as it enables brands and media outlets to get involved (see the screenshot featuring tweets from Champs Sports and Sporting News below).  It also, allows them to maximize fan engagement such as their efforts on Instagram to congratulate Kaminsky on being named as a finalist for the award and share Vines featuring highlights throughout the season.

The site itself includes a brief video, media clips, accomplishments throughout the season, including his academic achievements and commentary regarding his character.  There is no question that having a player from your program win any award, particularly something as prestigious as the Heisman or Wooden award.  It certainly gives the program’s brand a big boost, especially on the heels of having another player from the program finish as runner up in this year’s Heisman race in Melvin Gordon (the Badgers used the hashtag #MelvinMoment to promote his campaign).  It is always interesting to see how an Athletics program promotes individual success but this particular campaign, to be frank, looks to be a winner.

 

Leveraging Free Agency (DeMarco Murray Edition)

After withstanding a firestorm of criticism for their free agent moves thus far in free agency, the Eagles made a major splash on the FA market with the signing of rival Dallas Cowboys’ RB DeMarco Murray.  To maximize the publicity generated by the move, the team naturally took to almost all of their social platforms with Murray related posts.  The only omission was Pinterest (screenshot below).

Interesting to note that the team now carries three explosive running backs on the roster and they parlayed that into the hashtag “Legion of Zoom”, a spinoff of the nickname for the Seattle Seahawks defense who is dubbed the Legion of Boom.  At the time of this blog post, that Instagram image alone had already received 28,500 likes and nearly 1,500 comments.

All in all, pretty well measured campaign to cap off an exciting free agency for the Eagles as they continue to overhaul the entire team…they have easily been the most talked about NFL franchise in the last week…both in the media and through social channels.  Check out the gallery below for more…

 

Leveraging Free Agency

How are teams leveraging their moves in free agency to generate excitement with their fan base?  Look at the Bills’ trade for LeSean McCoy as an example.  Look how many times these posts have been favorited and shared.  Notice the push to sell jerseys already.  No doubt they’ve seen an uptick in ticket sales as well, depending on available inventory.  Curious to see how other teams respond after a wild first day of free agent signings…