Monthly Archives: February 2010

Vancouver crowd cheers for Joannie Rochette

Of all the outstanding and emotional performances that have highlighted the Winter Olympics thus far, one of them seems to be standing out as “the moment”.  This past Tuesday night, Canadian skater Joannie Rochette admittedly forced herself onto the ice for competition just two days after the death of her mother.  The 24 year old then went on to compete and win a bronze medal on Thursday evening.

Check out the video below for the heart felt response from the crowd after her inspiring Tuesday night performance.

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Sponsors “Wrap Up” Vancouver

After Canada’s 7-3 victory over Russia last night, it is no surprise that Canadian pride is running at an all time high on the streets of Vancouver.   While it is always good to see a country’s spirit lifted by a great athletic performance, I was curious about how the sponsors were working to do the same.

These picture received today answered my question:

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Live from Vancouver

Last night while watching the Providence College Friars get picked apart on the basketball court by the Syracuse Orangemen I was anxiously awaiting any excuse to look away.  Luckily for me I started recieving transmissions from Performance Research execs Jed Pearsall and Bill Doyle.

Bill mentioned how the presence of sponsorship activation was considerably less than previous Olympics.  He also mentioned how the ever present Coke and Visa were both bright spots and well activated outside the venue.

I also received some great pictures and video highlighting the Olympic atmosphere.  You can see the pics  posted below and make sure to check back for video footage of the last night’s inspiring performance by figure skater Joannie Rochette.

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Olympics and Scandal – What’s the real opinion?

It seems every time the Olympics roll around there begins to be a debate revolving around the purity of the event and the money being exchanged behind the scenes.  While many different opinions exist regarding the business side of the Olympics and how it may aide in a tarnished image, this is not always the case.  I suggest you take a look at the Performance Research Independent Study regarding the Salt Lake Olympic Scandal.  This independent study conducted in February 1999 really breaks down how the public perceives Olympics scandal and how it affects their opinion of sponsors.  You should  find the results quite interesting.

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Sponsors Still Live Dream Despite Scandal Nightmare

In a time when it seems that Olympic ideals might have been bought and sold, a new study suggests that the Olympic spirit remains alive and well with the American public, and consumers are no less willing to support sponsors which support the Games.

The controversy that is raging in Salt Lake City has left 40% of those responding to a nationwide poll believing that, “Their overall impression of the Olympics has been damaged”, according to a study by Performance Research of Newport, RI. Moreover, 57% agreed that “The Olympics have become all about big business and money”, and 62% feel that, “The Olympics are becoming just like big professional sports, filled with strikes and controversy”.

But is the damage all that severe? Only a minority (26%) indicated that they, “Have lost trust in the Olympics and what they stand for”, and 61% believe that, “The problem has been handled appropriately up to now.”

Despite the growing scandal, the majority seem to separate the Olympics (as a sport) from the business side of the Games. This is generally good news for corporate sponsors, which draw upon the image and aura of the Olympics to market themselves as leaders in their fields. Respondents were split on the issue, “My overall impression of Olympic sponsors has been damaged or lessened by the scandal” (31% agreed/ 51% disagreed/ 18% no opinion), but only one-in-five (22%) indicated that they were, “Less likely to support Olympic sponsors because of the controversy”. A majority (57%) believe that the current level of commercialism is “Acceptable”, and nearly all (85%) indicated that they “Welcome corporate sponsorship if it keeps the Olympics going”. The best news for sponsors: Nearly one-third (30%) indicated that, “A company’s involvement with the Olympics has a positive impact on my everyday purchasing decisions”– a figure which is almost identical to “pre-scandal days”, as compared to data previously collected by Performance Research following the Lillehammer, Atlanta, and Nagano Games.

Just 17% of those surveyed placed blame for the controversy on corporate sponsors, and surprisingly, only 23% believe that the Salt Lake Organizing Committee is most at fault.

So who is the anger directed at? The majority (59%) believe that the IOC is at the center of blame, and almost half (49%) believe that His Excellency, Juan Antonio Samaranch, should resign amid the allegations.

Performance Research  tested the awareness and attitudes towards the Olympics and the Salt Lake City scandal among 200 respondents by telephone interview in a nationwide sample during the first week of February 1999. The margin of error is + 5%.

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Naming Rights, Naming Wrongs : A Performance Research Independent Study

While only one football team has called a certain stadium in Miami home over the past 23 years, the stadium itself has been home to six different names.  Now while having your brand attached to something as grand as a stadium does offer a certain level of attention, how effective is owning these naming rights if  they are going to change often?  Also, shouldn’t you  make sure to benefit the club and its fans in some way?

Check out the Performance Research Independent Study below for a detailed look into the ups and down of stadium naming rights.

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Naming Rights, Naming Wrongs

An independent telephone study conducted in the U.K. and U.S. by Performance Research tested consumer awareness and attitudes toward corporate sponsorship of stadiums and arenas. The research revealed that sponsors must consider the needs of the fans, understanding an unwanted name change may do more harm than good.

During research in the U.S., Performance Research found nearly 90% of sports fans in Chicago, Boston, Indianapolis and Minneapolis were able to correctly name (unaided) stadium / arena sponsors, and 20% of the U.S. sports fans questioned reported they personally benefit from corporate-named stadiums / arenas.

So how would fans in the U.K. compare, when the same study was conducted here? Firstly the level of stadium sponsorship is much lower, and this was reflected during spontaneous sponsor recall questioning. Less than one-fourth (23%) of U.K. respondents were able to correctly recall sports stadiums named after a company, brand or product. Bolton’s Reebok stadium was recalled most frequently (54%), followed by Huddersfield’s McAlpine stadium (48%).

Can sponsors benefit from stadium naming? Well, one-fourth (25%) of fans in the U.K. indicated that stadium sponsorship ‘Has, or would increase purchase consideration’ of that brand or product. Moreover, roughly one-half of fans reported a ‘More positive’ opinion of a company sponsoring a sports stadium, and 25% reported a sports stadium named after a sponsoring company holds positive connotations, implying the team must be good.

However, before sponsors rush out and sign naming right sponsorship deals there are some reasons to be cautious. Despite nearly one-half (47%) of U.K. respondents reporting they were ‘Very’ or ‘Moderately’ in favour of a new sports arena named after a corporate sponsor, fewer than one-third of U.K. fans indicated they would be ‘Very’ or ‘Moderately’ in favour of changing the name of an existing stadium. Moreover, one in five U.K. sports fans reported just because a company was a sponsor did not make it right for them to change the name of the stadium, and unlike fans in the U.S. the majority (88%) of fans in the U.K. reported stadium naming would be of no benefit to them, indicating that stadium sponsorship was unlikely to result in lower ticket prices.

According to Mark Knight, Project Manager, Performance Research Europe, a company which undertakes sponsorship naming of a stadium without considering the needs of the club or fans is guilty of ‘brandalism’ of the worse kind and is only going to harm their brand image. “A stadium can be a national icon or community focal point, an un-necessary name change may be seen as little more than a cold-hearted attempt to buy their way into a sport they ultimately don’t understand”.

During February 1999 staff from Performance Research randomly dialed and interviewed, a total of two hundred and sixteen (216) sports fans.  The margin of error for this sample is no more than + 7%.

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Danica makes a splash in NASCAR

Go Daddy Team Rider Danica Parick not only helped to break gender barriers this past weekend by racing in Daytona, she helped to break television records as well.  “The Danica Effect” caused 4.2 million people to tune into Saturday’s NASCAR second-tier Nationwide Series Race.  The race had the highest cable viewership ever experienced by the series.

Here at Performance Research we have always stood behind platforms that embrace uniqueness. On several occasions we have recommended to clients that supporting the first viable female NASCAR driver would push significant attention to their likeness.

With her multiple Super Bowl ads and high profile NASCAR start, Danica should expect to reap great rewards.  Now that all this attention is on Danica and her race car, I wonder how traffic on Go Daddy is fairing?

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Value of the Olympic Seasons

Although the Olympics, regardless of the year or location, create a huge stir in both sports and business, it is apparent that the Summer Games and the athletes that compete in them are the clear bread winners.

The Summer Olympics not only have a longer history, more sports and more recognizable athletes than the Winter Games, according to a recent Forbes article, they also have a lot more value.  Coming in second on the list of the worlds top sports events, the Summer Olympics are valued at $230 million dollars in comparison to the $93 million dollar value of the Winter Olympics.

Besides Forbes offering these measured values for the Olympic Games, a recent Sports Biz article on MSNBC.com offered some insight into the value gap between summer and winter.  Using examples of sponsorship dollars for summer athletes and how their likeness is being used even in Winter Olympic ads (e.g. Michael Phelps), the article illustrates how much the Summer Olympics has a greater draw, with better paid athletes, more competitions and higher visibility.

MSNBC cites viewership ratings and audience numbers as a primary example of what the article identifies as a “comparative lack of exposure” between the two games.  The last Winter Olympics held in Torino had the lowest ratings for any winter games, trailing the viewership of the Bejing Summer Games by 7.4 million (both broadcast over a 17 day schedule).

The article raises all valid points when comparing the two events; however there may be another factor in play.  While most people consider the Winter and Summer Olympics to be two years apart, in actuality, the summer games are competed 2.5 years after the winter games, while the winter games are competed only 1.5 years after the summer games.

Sure the Summer games have had it’s fair share of super stars, Michael Phelps being a record-breaking (in all senses) example, but exposure and stars may not be the only reasons the summer games are more profitable for sponsors.  It may also be the longer you have to wait, the more you appreciate what you experience.

Check out the MSNBC article here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35085223/ns/business-sports_biz/

And for the Forbes Sports Values:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/02/03/most-powerful-sports-names-tiger-woods-nike-cmo-network-sports-brands_slide_14.html

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