Jeff Katz is the General Manager of GumGum Sports, a division of the artificial intelligence company helping brands unlock the value of visual content. In this week’s Agents of Change soundbite, Katz discusses why NBA jersey patches are a social-first sponsorship asset, how different sports are better suited for different mediums, and new ways rights holders can unlock value for brands on digital channels.
Read or listen below to learn more about how social media is impacting sports sponsorship and the implications for both brands and rights holders.
On the NBA jersey patch being defined as a social-first sponsorship asset…
What’s really interesting about the [NBA] jersey patch is that it’s a social-first asset so when sponsors and rights holders were looking to set price points on the patches, I don’t know that anyone really anticipated the amount of exposure that we’ve been able to surface from social media.
In fact, 76% of the media value we saw came from social media compared to just 24% from the TV game broadcasts. The jersey patch is just such a unique asset. Especially because during a game, the gameplay is so fast that it might be tough to pick up the jersey patch in a clear way, but on social media, typically when you’re posting about players, you include a photo that has a player wearing a game jersey, and those are often showcasing the jersey patch. Then with highlight clips as well, they often have slow-motion and close-ups of players doing spectacular things. It’s a tremendous asset that is really defined by social.
On stadium signage becoming a truly multichannel asset…
Fundamentally what has changed is that traditional sport signage is now omni-channel; it’s now truly a multichannel asset. When walking through the entire valuation process with brands, they feel comfortable with all of the metrics that we bring to the table.
In a traditional sports environment, signage tends to be a TV conversation and then social is kind of an afterthought, but the jersey patch has really shifted that conversation. And if we look at the non-owned accounts and how much they drive versus the team-owned accounts, you’re looking at 88%.
On the value brought to brand sponsors by images versus video on social media…
One other stat that is really interesting about the jersey patch is that typically videos are driving the lion’s share of value on social media when it comes to most TV-visible signage, but for the jersey patch it’s 64% being driven from images. It’s kind of flip-flopped a little bit. The way that games are played, they’re so fast-paced so it would make sense that when photos are posted about the NBA, almost all of the time, it features a player in a game jersey.
On the difference rights holders see in impressions generated for brands on owned vs. earned media…
For the NBA, we’re seeing anywhere from 70% to 90% of value coming from those non-team accounts. If we open it up to the rest of sports, I’d feel comfortable saying that on average, you’re looking at 50% or more of the value coming from those non-owned accounts. So just from a market standpoint, if we’re not scanning the longtail of social, there’s just a ton of value that’s being left on the table.
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How different sports generate different value on social media for brand marketers…
What are the factors that contribute to overall value? One is signage inventory. How much signage inventory is available that is TV-visible which can become highlight clips? In a league like the NFL, there’s not a lot of sponsorable inventory that’s either on the field or near the field; its kind of limited. The NBA is the other extreme where now you’ve got the jersey patch, you’ve got the basket stanchion, the press table, etc.. I’d say the Premier League is pretty good as well in that they have the entire perimeter and a very prominent jersey front.
Another factor is on average, how many compelling highlights per game are there? In the NBA because of the way that the game is setup, you can have a highlight once per minute because they are scoring almost every minute. It’s a very fast-paced kind of game and a high-scoring kind of game versus the other extreme of hockey or Premier League where you might have anywhere from no goals to up to ten less compelling highlights than the NBA.
The last factor is media distribution rights and their enforcement or lack of enforcement. How protective is the league of their content? Are the distribution rights, especially on social media, restricted to very few social media accounts, or are they distributed more evenly? Then beyond that, let’s say you have fans who love the sport and love the content, do they get slapped? Does the content get removed when they try to post it on their own even though they don’t officially have rights? The NBA tends to look the other way and encourage the broader sharing environment. Other leagues are generating more value from their owned and operated properties because they’re creating scarcity.
On ways to unlock more value for brand sponsors…
There’s a tremendous amount of value that could be unlocked if athletes are given more flexibility and an ability to share [highlight] clips. Something else that I would say beyond athletes is if other channels were allowed to share highlight clips more broadly. If I’m a rights owner, the question I would ask is, “Would it truly harm my business if the content was emancipated, or if it was more freely flowing?” Would you cannibalize your audience or would you potentially attract new pockets of audience that would not have necessarily tuned in?
Jeff Katz dove deeper on ways that sports properties can unlock value for sponsors through social media at Hashtag Sports 2018, an annual conference designed for digital decision makers. Learn more here.
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