Tag Archives: sports

Francis Tiafoe, 14 Year Old Tennis Phenom… And Potential Marketer’s Dream

Francis Tiafoe is a 14 year old tennis phenom who, if he isn’t already, should be on corporate sponsors’ radars.

The obvious reason: he’s got skills. As the nation’s top-ranked boys player in his age group, Tiafoe has the potential to become the next star in men’s tennis at a time when the game is going through a greatness drought (it’s been almost a decade since a U.S. male won a major).

But Tiafoe didn’t become a rising star in a conventional way. It’s his underdog story that will really attract sponsors and fans.

Tennis is an expensive sport. Those who play at a professional level usually come from privileged backgrounds, allowing them access to top-notch coaches, exclusive tennis clubs, and the best equipment. But Tiafoe wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. There is no Jr., III attached to his name. If it weren’t for the fact that Tiafoe’s father was employed by the Tennis Center at College Park, a private tennis club in Maryland, Francis may never have had the means or the resources to hone his talent.

Francis’ father was the Tennis Center’s janitor for more than a decade. During that time, he lived on the grounds with Francis and his twin brother, Franklin; the family slept on massage tables in a 120 sq. foot space that became their makeshift home. Mr. Tiafoe earned less than the club’s $27,000 annual membership fee, but because Francis lived on the grounds it was as if he was a member. He had access to the courts, the coaches, and the equipment.

Francis spent much of his early life watching his more privileged peers learn the game. Eventually, he would begin to practice with his brother, early in the morning, before lessons started. He quickly fell in love with tennis. After years of practice, the Tennis Center coaches noticed his talent and took him under their wings. And now he’s winning prestigious international tournaments — Les Petits As 2012, for one.

While Tiafoe’s tennis chops are impressive, it’s his inspiring rags to riches tale that has the potential to grab all Americans, who have always had a soft spot for talented athletes with Cinderella stories.

Wilson and adidas already have endorsement deals in the works. And we’re betting it doesn’t stop there.

Image source.

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Are you all excited?!!

This week represents one of the biggest and most diverse sporting weeks on the planet!

Last night we had a great kick off with the Super Bowl in Miami as New Orleans took the win over the Indianapolis Colts.  Then today launches the start of the Americas Cup race in Valencia, Spain, followed by the Winter Olympic opening ceremony from Vancouver on Friday.  Sunday caps off the week with the 52nd running of the Daytona 500 down in Florida.

Does it get any better for sports fan of all types?

Check out the links below for more details about each event:

The 33rd Americas Cup starts Feb. 8th

www.americascup.com

2010 Winter Olympics live from Vancouver on Feb 12th

www.vancouver2010.com

52nd Running of the Daytona 500 on Feb.14th

www.daytona500.com

Super Bowl Recap

www.superbowl.com

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Where’s the pizza, Little Ceasar?

Amongst all the college football bowl games going on this month, one in particular is standing out in my thoughts.  This game, the Little Ceasar Pizza Bowl, took place last week in Detroit with a battle between Marshall and Ohio.

Little Caesars, who took over title sponsorship for the first time this year, was hailed in the Detroit local press as a savior for the city, and a good sign that Detroit is still a viable option for major sporting events amidst economic crisis.  While this positive press and media coverage is a good thing for Little Caesar, perhaps there was another area of their sponsorship that the QSR chain could have focused on.  I am referring to the fact that no Little Caesars pizzas were available inside the stadium.  On top of this, one of their competitors, Hungry Howie’s, was present and for sale.

Right off the bat one would begin to question this issue. Why not provide / sell your product at the game?  It offers a perfect opportunity for a fan that is already at “your game” to try the exact product that you are there to promote.  Not only would you benefit from name recognition, but you would tap into other senses via the pizza.

On the other side of the spectrum is the reality that selling Little Caesars pizza would infringe on the agreement that Hungry Howie’s and Ford Field already have in place.  I don’t imagine Howie being too excited about letting Caesar cut into his pizza sales.  Did Little Caesars consider this before signing on as a title sponsor? Is there anything they can do next year to avoid this same awkward issue?

Selling Little Ceasar at the game could have proved beneficial to their cause, and the fact that their product wasn’t present defintely caused a few heads to turn.  This seems to be an issue that may have not been avoidable, but certainly deserves to be questioned.

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Situation Worsens for Tiger

Last week we issued the Performance Research opinion as to the Tiger Woods situation.  Since then we have seen new reports that not only increases the number of mistresses linked to the golfer, but also tie him to prescription drug abuse and the possible use of human growth hormones.  While neither drug abuse nor the use of steroids has been confirmed, the implications alone, coupled with his extramarital affairs are making this situation for Tiger and his sponsors far more difficult than originally forecasted.  While the initial accusations could be viewed by the public as a blip in his personal life, the continuance and level of controversy surrounding Woods are now sure to leave a greater impression on his career and legacy.

Woods has already lost one of his primary sponsors, Accenture, and has also had his image dropped from advertisements by sponsors Gillette, Tag Heur and Gatorade.

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“Sponsor our event, but you might have to wait five years”

Yesterday marked the 25th Anniversary of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surfing Event at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. The event featured an elite group of surfers invited to compete in 25-40 ft. surf while a crowd of thousands watched from the sand, along with millions watching live on television and the web. Along with the surf and sun, Quiksilver is able to generate a tremendous amount of media coverage and ad space by presenting this specialty event.

Seems like a perfect scenario, right? Well, here’s the kicker. Although the event has been around 25 years, it has only actually run eight times. The contest is put on call every winter and will only run if perfect conditions align. As contest director George Downing famously stated, “the Bay calls the day”, making for years of waiting and close calls. From a sponsorship point of view, I wonder how difficult this makes it for organizers and corporate sponsors, having to be ready with a solid program at all times four months out of the year. Of course this must be tough logistically, but is it not also tough to keep past sponsors and gain new ones without any guarantee that the event will happen?

However the other, potentially beneficial, side of this “problem” is that the long waiting period adds a different value to the event. Although sponsors may not receive billing every year, they are aligning themselves with one of the most mystical and prestigious surf events in the world. Understandably the wait and anticipation creates a serious buzz amongst the demographic set that a sponsor would want to reach. This anticipation and level of viewership might be dulled if the contest were to run every winter season.

Understanding that the event could go years with out running, yet has all the power and stigma of any other professional surfing event, do you think sponsors come flocking or are more apt to hold back?

For more info on this event check out:

http://live.quiksilver.com/2009/edie/live.php?btn_live=_over

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Gambling with their future?

Recent legislation attempts in Poland may begin to have a negative effect on sports sponsorship in that country. Polish lawmakers have proposed a ban of online gambling and bookkeeping, which would allow only brick and mortar casinos to carry on. This news coming at a time of economic turmoil around the world could prove devastating to the sports industry in Poland. Currently over 50 million zloties (roughly $18 million) are pumped into Polish sports each year, with soccer teams like Wisla Krakow and Lech Poznan relying heavily on gambling sponsors like Bet-at-Home and BetClick.

With this legislation on the table, sporting teams in Poland are running a risk by having reliance on these companies. Along with a ban on gambling will come a ban on any gambling related marketing and advertising, including sponsorships. This would leave teams without funding for their programs, and ultimately scrambling for cash.

In light of this situation, it will be interesting to see what plans these properties have for their future. Certainly one would believe that in moving forward they would take a more cautious approach when accepting sponsors, keeping a close eye on potential legal troubles. Also, when dealing with gambling and other companies that birth moral questioning, should these properties also be concerned with how they are perceived by the public? In the coming year we’ll keep a close eye on how this pending situation takes place.

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Football and French Fries?

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McDonald’s recently signed on as an official primary sponsor of the Football Association of Thailand (soccer), in a deal valued just below $1,000,000. including cash for equipment, uniforms and travel. The total value also included meals from the quick service chain for the athletes. Now, it’s no surprise to see McDonald’s sponsoring sports, as they have long been a supporter of sports and athletes around the world. What spurred me to write this post was their continued inclusion of in-kind goods as part of the sponsorship.

Ever since 1968 when McDonald’s had hamburgers airlifted to France for homesick U.S. Olympic athletes, the idea of providing meals as part of their sponsorship has been an integral part of their plan. This plan has taken action in many ways, from providing meal vouchers to youth leagues around the world, all the way to building a custom McDonald’s in Beijing solely for the 2008 Olympic athletes.

While these sponsorships have been in place, so has a similar menu, known best for burgers and fries. At times people have questioned McDonald’s value as an athlete food source due to this fact. However, now providing more nutritious options for their customers and athletes alike, perhaps their sports sponsorships will make more sense in the eyes of fans around the globe.

Based on what you know about McDonald’s, let me ask you all a question:

Is the fact that their sports sponsorship program gives meals to athletes more beneficial now that they take a stronger stance on social responsibilty via healthier menu choices?

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Engaged at Futbol Fiesta

caughtoureye4If you have ever been to the Futbol Fiesta prior to a Mexican National Soccer Team game then you already know that it offers a party like atmosphere including loud music, games, player appearances, and dozens of other activations presented by the sponsors. If you are a first timer (like I was last month in Dallas when Mexico played Colombia), then you are in for quite the experience. If you like to see passionate fans, engaged by equally ardent sponsors, than look no further!

Like all the events we attend, no matter how many good activations are present (quite a few in this case), there is usually one that really piques our interest. The activation that “Caught Our Eye” this time was presented by Home Depot. The Home Depot had several different booths open to fans, with multiple activities on hand. The particular aspect of their activation which impressed us the most was how they gave fans paint, brushes (items they sell) and large poster boards in order to make signs for the game. Whether you were painting the words “Let’s go Mexico!” or “Colombia Rules!”, you were able to take the sign into the Cotton Bowl for the game, and then bring the poster home with you as a souvenir.

Home Depot 3Not only did Home Depot engage fans by offering them the chance to directly participate with the soccer game, they also encouraged the use of their retail products and sent people home happy with free memorabilia. It seems to make perfect sense why the Home Depot activation was one of the busiest we saw.

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Congrats to Rio – Will sponsors take advantage?

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Rio wins the Olympic bid!

Just moments ago, the IOC announced Rio as the as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

As the first Olympiad ever to take place in South America, Rio 2016 promises to be a tremendous marketing opportunity for all IOC and USOC sponsors. Will you be ready?

Marketing success in 2016 begins now, and research is a vital part of that process. With the Vancouver Games starting in just a few short months, and London 2012 right around the corner, there is no better time to measure your existing programs as well as investigate new ways to leverage your sponsorship affiliation. Don’t miss this unique opportunity in time.

Whether it is quantitative research with casual TV viewers, focus groups with avid fans, or on-site interviews with visitors to the Games, Performance Research has studied every Olympiad since 1992, accumulating more data and insight into Olympic sponsorship than any other research company in existence.

As the world-wide leaders in sponsorship measurement, we are uniquely qualified to help you determine how well you are breaking through the clutter of Olympic marketing, and if your efforts are truly strengthening an emotional bond with target consumers and building the health of your brand.

Olympic partnerships are a long-term investment. I encourage you to contact us so that we can help you measure and maximize the value of that investment to the fullest.

We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver in 2010, London 2012, Sochi 2014, and now Rio in 2016!

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Our New Blog!

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Welcome to the Performance Research Blog!

Our blog name, “See yourself as others see you”, stands for exaclty what our company helps you to accomplish.

Over the past twenty five years, the company has conducted over 1 million on-site, on-line, and telephone interviews and more than 500 focus groups regarding corporate sponsorships of sports, leisure activities and special events. As a leader in custom sponsorship evaluation, Performance Research has in-depth experience with varied events worldwide, and is a primary research partner with many of the world’s top corporate sponsors, including: Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Citi-Financial, R.J. Reynolds, Sony-Ericsson and UBS

Find out more at www.performanceresearch.com

Also make sure to follow us on Twitter@ http://twitter.com/SponsorRX

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