12/16/19: Ready Nutrition CEO maps out success for his brand

 

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Monday December 16, 2019
Buzz sometimes tops actual business success in the eyes of investors , especially in the startup space. However, a relatively young, disruptive and cash positive brand in the health and nutrition space has been raising eyebrows recently. Pittsburgh-based Ready Nutrition is flush with news of Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald coming aboard as the company’s first outside investor, and last week announced that the brand displaced Gatorade as the Official Water of the AAU and its audience of over 200,000 athletes. Cynopsis asked former University of Pittsburgh basketball captain Pat Cavanaugh, who founded and runs the company (which will eclipse $100,000,000 in sales in the coming months) about cutting through the clutter and competing with some of the biggest brands in a space like water and health.
 
Cavanaugh on the inspiration to build Ready Nutrition: Ready was built to provide athletes with a strong body and mind platform that combines a mentality to focus on what you can control – effort and attitude; with all-natural sports nutrition products designed to support a relentless work ethic.  We love athletes that take more pride in their effort and attitude than their talent. We know that proper nutrition can be an advantage for all athletes at any level and what inspires us to be a trusted resource for them.
 
On going against the big brands: We feel one of our selling points is our proprietary combination of functional ingredients that are free of artificial colors and sweeteners, sugar alcohols and don’t contain all the sugar. We are well known for our great taste and we understand if a product doesn’t taste good, people won’t buy it again.

On how Aaron Donald fits into the marketing mix: Aaron epitomizes our brand because he focuses on what he can control, he only wants clean sports nutrition products and he’s always trying to get better. He is relatable to athletes in any sport because he’s had to continue to work hard when people may have doubted how good he could be and he stays laser focused on his goals. This is something 99.9% of all athletes can relate to and his humble personality makes him extremely approachable to talk about the Ready brand and our products.
 
On managing a creative marketing spend: A good portion of our marketing spend has been aligned with our collegiate, high school and youth programs both during competition and non-competition venues. Sampling and trial is a very important part of our overall awareness strategy where our athletes are competing and preparing. You’ll see an even higher level of activity in these areas during the next year.
 
On lessons learned on the field that brought business success:  First, always be prepared; sooner or later you’ll get your chance. Second, know your craft inside and out; it’s always about the little things – always. And third, focus on what you can control – effort and attitude. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.
 
PROGRAMMING

Words between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball continued to escalate as Minor League Baseball released a memo accusing MLB of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations while Major League Baseball threatened to cut ties with Minor League Baseball completely. The arguments stem from the pending end of the Professional Baseball Agreement with MLB proposing the elimination of 42 minor league teams when the PBA expires next year. After a four-page memo was released by Minor League Baseball blaming MLB for “repeatedly and inaccurately” portraying MiLB’s stance in PBA negotiations, MLB issues its own statement reading, “If the National Association has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”
 
Major League Soccer locked in details for the 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, slated for Jan. 9 at noon and conducted during a jointly produced MLS and ESPN show streamed live on Twitter. The SuperDraft will be conducted across four rounds with 26 players selected in each round. The first two rounds will take place during the stream, while Rounds 3 and 4 will take place on Jan. 13. To streamline the process, clubs now will be permitted three minutes — down from four previously — to make their selections, and there will be no intermission between rounds. The live stream will feature cameras embedded with players and club decision-makers for real-time draftee reactions, live look-ins on club draft rooms, and instant engagement from fans on Twitter during the first round. Additional content and analysis will be provided across MLS league and club digital and social channels.
 
Thursday Night Football saw the Ravens’ win over the Jets deliver an average audience of 15.4 million viewers across FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Yahoo Sports. The Nielsen-measured audience averaged 15.0 million viewers and an 8.9 HH rating – up 4% and 2% respectively versus last year’s average. Digital streaming across Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital and Yahoo Sports platforms this season produced an average minute audience of 1.1 million – up 44% versus last year.
 
Meanwhile, Golf Channel reports that the Presidents Cup hit a Total Audience delivery of 841,000 average viewers per minute on Golf Channel for day three of the event, as the US continued its march to victory. That is up 47% over the 2015 Presidents Cup four years ago.

ESPN serves up Roger Federer: Everywhere is Home
on Tuesday at 8p, offering auds access into his recent five-exhibition tour of Latin America. ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi hosts the half-hour show, travelling through Latin America with the superstar and his entourage, and conducting multiple interviews during the week-long journey.
 
On the local front, FOX Sports South and FOX Sports Southeast cemented a multi-year contract extension to serve as the exclusive regional television rights holder for Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United. The networks have televised all regionally available matches since the inaugural season in 2017 and will now continue to do so through 2022. Historically the networks have televised 15 to 17 matches per season and a pre- and postgame show per telecast, along with select postseason play and the team’s 2018 MLS Cup celebratory parade.
 
In international waters, CCTV, China’s primary broadcast network, pulled a scheduled match between Arsenal and Manchester City on Sunday following a player’s criticism of the government. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil had made comments about the internment of Uighurs in China. In addition, streaming services in China, PPTV Sports and Migu Sports, also pulled their coverage of the game, according to Deadline.
The Cynopsis Best Of The Best Awards Gala Luncheon
Thursday, Feb 6th at Tribeca ThreeSixty in NYC
 
Register your team and join us as we celebrate outstanding achievement over the past year in content, campaigns and more. Last year’s event sold out quickly, so save your spot soon!
 
 
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

International agency Infront was named as the exclusive media and marketing partner of the Champions Hockey League . The new five-year deal runs through the 2023/24 season and includes media and marketing rights, along with venue management, digital services and management of broadcast production. “Signing another five-year extension is a very strong message for fans and media – it first of all shows that Infront strongly believes in our product, but it also demonstrates the big commitment of all our shareholders and partners who will continue to work hard on establishing the CHL as Europe’s greatest hockey competition,” said Peter Zahner, CHL President. “The prolongation gives us long-term stability to develop a premium fan experience and club ice hockey in Europe in general.”
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

WWE is entering TikTok, pinning down a new partnership that includes the launch of the official WWE TikTok account with WWE making available WWE Superstar entrance themes for more than 30 Superstars and Hall of Famers including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior, Becky Lynch, John Cena and Sasha Banks, among others. The themes and original entrance music will be integrated into TikTok’s vast content library joining music from top artists like Lil Nas X, Mariah Carey, Lizzo, and emerging artists like Arizona Zervas. By offering WWE’s iconic entrances for TikTok users to play off of and make their own unique videos, the partnership provides fans a new way to engage with their favorite Superstars.
 
CBS Sports HQ reports that September, October and November now rank as CBS Sports HQ’s top three months respectively for unique viewers, with each month driving more than 100% growth year-over-year. In November, viewers streamed more than 111 million minutes, making it the second biggest month (after February 2019) in terms of time spent. CBS Sports HQ’s audience has a median age of 35 and viewers watch for more than 30 minutes per session on OTT platforms on average.
 
Apple unleashed “Ultimate Rivals” from Bit Fry Game Studios , a new sports game franchise that unites athletes across hockey, basketball, football, baseball and soccer into a single officially licensed video game, as players choose from more than 50 superstar athletes to compete in two-on-two hockey matches. Players can match up, Alex Ovechkin and Alex Morgan against De’Aaron Fox and Jose Altuve or Skylar Diggins-Smith and Wayne Gretzky. Different combinations of heroes unlock unique ways to play and win against the AI or other gamers in online multiplayer matches. The game is available on Apple Arcade across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac and will be followed by an NBA licensed basketball game, “Ultimate Rivals: The Court” in spring 2020.
 
ESPORTS

DreamHack, in partnership with the European Tour and Topgolf Entertainment Group, launched golf’s first esports series , titled the European eTour. Launching at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA in January, the inaugural season-long eTour will feature six esports contests held at European Tour tournaments around the world and feature players going head-to-head in the golf game, World Golf Tour by Topgolf. The five tournament winners, along with three wildcards qualifiers, will then contest the season-finale at the European Tour’s own season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, which takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Nov. 19-22, 2020.
 
DreamHack also named Roger Lodewick as Co-CEO of the company to manage DreamHack alongside current Co-CEO Marcus Lindmark.  Lodewick succeeds Peter Norrelund, who has been appointed CEO of the new DreamHack Sports Games, a new entity within MTG’s esports vertical. DreamHack Sports Games already has partnerships in place with the Dutch football league,  Eredivisie’s esports league eDivisie, and with Swedish Allsvenskan’s eAllsvenskan and Danish eSuperliga.
 
The World Showdown of Esports is partnering with Call of Duty: Mobile to produce the Call of Duty: Mobile Creator Challenge, a multi-region Call of Duty: Mobile tournament that will see key competitors and influencers compete for their chance to win part of a $30,000 prize pool, the largest purse the mobile game has seen to date. The event saw a draft last Friday with play slated for Dec. 21 and 22. Competition will include a four-team round-robin format featuring Team Deathmatch (TDM) and Domination game modes on Dec. 21 (US and Mexico) and Dec. 22 (Brazil).
 
The Brawl Stars Championship circuit will dangle over $1 million in prize money in 2020, with the pool set to climb as fans buy Championship-exclusive items in the game’s shop. Participants will need to compete in monthly challenges to lay claim to a spot in the regional online qualifiers all leading to the World Finals in the fall 2020.
 
Activision announced that tickets to compete in the first Call of Duty Challengers path to pro amateur tournament of the 2020 season have sold out. Taking place at the Call of Duty League kick off in January, the amateur tournament will feature 192 teams, and is composed of 960 players. Passes were made available on December 11, and within 24-hours, all were sold. Call of Duty League Launch Weekend will kick-off the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League at the Minneapolis Armory in Minneapolis from Jan. 24-26.
 
Evil Geniuses continue to stir the pot , creating a buzz with the launch of a rebrand for the organization that included a new logo and jersey design. Evil Geniuses was acquired by Chicago-based investment PEAK6 Investments in May, with Nicole LaPointe Jameson named  CEO at the team.
 
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The NBA G League and Capitanes , a professional basketball team based in Mexico City, announced that Capitanes will join the NBA G League as its first team from outside the US and Canada. Capitanes now becomes the NBA G League’s 29th team and are set to make their debut for the 2020-21 season.  The team will play its NBA G League home games at the Gimnasio Juan de la Barrera in Mexico City.
 
Eric Foote joined PointsBet as US Chief Commercial Officer. Foote most recently served as the Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships for CBS Sports Digital, where he led development and growth of the digital media assets and properties. 
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1972
The Miami Dolphins finish the regular season undefeated.
 
In the Know
Which NFL quarterback has the most 4th quarter touchdown passes in a single season?  Email [email protected]  with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
The Heisman Trophy will be awarded Saturday; who is the first defensive player to win the award? Answer: Charles Woodson, Michigan. Kudos: Ben Sturner-Leverage Agency/NY;
Michael Ritz-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Aymon DeMauro-ADM Media & Marketing/NY; Matt Laramee-Southern New Hampshire University/Manchester; Jessica Berman-NLL/Philadelphia; David Hauptman/Denver; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Dav id Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank
 
Later ~ Chris
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