Name: Ryan Eddy
Job: Director, Business Development
Company: Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing
LinkedIn: Ryan Eddy
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
I am passionate about sports, brands and creativity. I work with all three on a daily basis to help brands authentically connect with consumers and fans.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I am excited to see how brave marketers are being rewarded for taking risks. Gut-based campaigns and marketing activations are scary, but they have an ability to pay off in big ways (ex: Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” and Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaigns, etc.). I believe in both the importance and value of data-driven decision making, but I also believe that marketers need to trust their gut. You need to think like a human to connect with a human.
How do you define creativity?
I think of creativity as the act of being resourceful with what you have, or know, to create something new. Creativity surrounds people daily, but it is not always in the form of an idea–often it can be seen in the process. Creativity has always been a feeling for me. I think every great creative knows when they’re on to something–big or small.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
Soccer United Marketing (SUM) has facilitated an assortment of landmark, innovative partnerships with iconic brands on behalf of U.S. Soccer that are committed to both advancing the game of soccer across North America and authentically connecting with fans. I think particularly about partnerships with Volkswagen and Procter & Gamble, etc. as case studies of how great brands are raising the profile of the sport across North America and elevating the fan experience through their collaborative relationship.
Deloitte, for example, is the presenting partner of the annual U.S. Soccer SheBelieves Summit, a marquee event that harnesses the power of diverse thinking and empowers the next generation of female leaders. The event was the tangible way for both organizations to provide opportunities for young women, such as the opportunity to participate in the Deloitte internship program, and to elevate the conversation around inclusive cultures in the workplace and beyond. Deloitte’s longstanding commitment to supporting women in business is one of the many reasons why this authentic partnership is something U.S. Soccer and SUM is so proud of.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
2019 is an exciting year. The U.S. Women’s National Team will be defending their 2015 Women’s World Cup title and Concacaf will host the 15th edition of the Gold Cup, the official national team championship of the region, which includes North and Central America and the Caribbean. Needless to say, there is a lot of buzz from soccer fans, as well as the business community. Everything we do is focused on serving fans better – if there is a good idea, brand, or partner that helps us forge a deeper connection with the soccer community across any of the properties SUM represents, we are open to the idea, and open for business. We are very focused on maximizing our impact around these major soccer milestones in 2019, as well as preparing for a successful 2020 campaign.
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As a connected fan, what’s the most engaging piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
I view content in many ways whether is long-form, short-form, video, audio, or even just a new 30-second spot. I have watched the Nike “Dream Crazy” creative about 100 times.
Our partner, AT&T, has been incredible with their spots and integration around the March Madness coverage. They have created a humorous and relatable character that has been fun to follow.
A couple of my other favorites at the moment include HBO’s “The Shop” with Lebron James, Player’s Tribune coverage with Hennessy, Uber’s Wolfpack work with Copa90, etc.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
Working in sports is an incredible opportunity that I feel fortunate to be a part of. The subject matter is fun, interesting, and it really matters to people. We get to feel that all the time, which is the high.
If I had to give a low, I would say it’s that the landscape is complicated. There are so many unique sets of rights and property ownership that it sometimes make good ideas very challenging to execute.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
I would like to see a larger shift in how brands and properties exchange value. As someone that represents the property side of the business, I think we stand to gain a lot by enabling great activation. The more and more we are able to tangibly reward and incentivize brands to do great work the more mutually beneficial our relationships will become.
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