Monday, July 15th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, July 15, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Believe it or not, Octagon is turning 30. Interpublic Group’s global sports, entertainment, lifestyle marketing and talent representation agency now stands as the world’s largest sponsorship consulting practice. Octagon’s roster includes more than 800 athlete & personality clients, and they now manage more than 13,000 events per year, as well as influence around $3 billion in sponsorship-related spending annually, with nearly 1,000 employees around the world.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Octagon Worldwide President and CEO Rick Dudley about the company’s 30 years in the marketplace, how its tactics have evolved and where we can see its imprint in the future.

Dudley on 30 years: I believe that over the past three decades, our biggest accomplishment is that Octagon pulled together different businesses, business models, cultures and the like from a number of acquisitions and made it thrive. In the last ten years or so, we’ve decided on what we want to be and how we are going to accomplish that. We’ve decided that we want to be a client-centric company; we want to provide the best professional marketing services we can to our clients, whether they are individuals or companies. I think the results have validated that strategy, we have great client roster growth, we have great tenure in terms of the clients that we have, with some working with us for more than 20 years. We have a lot of stability in our senior management; we are the most veteraned agency in the business as well as the most reputable. All of that supports that fact that we made the decision of what we want to be. I’d say that we’ve become pretty good at it.

On content: The whole idea of content is our bread and butter. We approached it with a marketer’s understanding of why people like certain kinds of content, why they are passionate about it, what drives their interests, and how to trigger their passion. So we’ve spent a lot of time and effort in understanding fans and whether that content is sports content, or music, film, culinary or the arts, all of that is content and leveraging it to the marketers gain is what we do best. So you have to start with why fans are fans.

On how clients’ needs have changed: I’ve seen this business evolve from the days when the CEO likes golf so let’s go sponsor a golf tournament to more of a hospitality orientation-which is still very important where you put a keg of beer in the parking lot and bring your customers to a game- to now being a very strategic and disciplined marketing effort where we are part of the overall marketing mix. The clients at the same time are coming in our direction because they are constantly trying to break through the clutter out there, the fragmentation of media, the way the people consume content has increased, and the digital world has evolved. How do you break through all of that and use it to your gain? That engagement is what we are all about. Our mantra is passion, engagement and results. So we engage people through their passions.

On new areas of growth: Geographically, our priorities are in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand; we see great promise over there. We are also obviously interested in Brazil, in spite of some of the recent issues they have been having, they are still an unbelievable market and we are seeing fantastic results there. We have currently six World Cup sponsors and with the Olympics right after that in ’16. We also think there is still great opportunity in Europe. They don’t have the best economy in the world, but we think there is still some opportunity there and we are investing in it and moving some people into that market.

On future evolution: I think as we evolve, we will be more of a full-service offering if you will. We are constantly adding things from creative to digital to merchandise to experiential to mobile marketing and I think we will fill out those services that we can take to marketing and our clients.

On the Air

Tennis Channel hasn’t given up and is asking a DC appellate court to a rehearing on its fight with Comcast. The network’s appeal will continue to claim discrimination on being placed on a lower tier than its Comcast-owned rivals. In May, a three-judge panel found that there wasn’t enough evidence of discrimination and overturned FCC rulings that Comcast should put Tennis Channel on equal footing with Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. In a statement, Tennis Channel writes that “As stated in the petition filed by the network today, the ruling departed from well-settled anti-discrimination law, ignored congressional intent and erroneously rejected extensive findings made by the FCC. Comcast’s programming business benefits from weakening the independent Tennis Channel’s ability to compete for programming and advertisers. This is exactly what Congress sought to prohibit when it adopted the Cable Act.”

The UFC was handed its own prize with Chris Weidman’s surprise win over Anderson Silva as the promotion will now host the middleweight rematch between the pair on Dec. 28 at UFC 168 in Las Vegas. The co-main event at the PPV will be Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate.

Golf Channel hits the season’s third major championship with more than 25 live hours of news programming surrounding The Open Championship this week. Programming will be led with news program Live From Muirfield tonight at 7p. The Golf Channel broadcast team will host from a dedicated set on the golf course, as well as from the network studios in Orlando while Morning Drive offers expanded shows. Reporting from Muirfield will be the tandem of Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo, who will be joined by Tim Rosaforte, Ken Schofield, Todd Lewis, senior writer Rex Hoggard, and contributor Alex Miceli.

ESPN rounded out its roster of presenters for this week’s 2013 ESPYs on Wednesday at 9p, Host Jon Hamm will be joined on stage with presenters that include (in alphabetical order): Malin Akerman (Trophy Wife), Kevin Bacon (R.I.P.D.), Lake Bell (In a World), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Sean “Diddy” Combs, Selena Gomez (new album Stars Dance), Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons), Danica Patrick, Paula Patton (2 Guns), Maria Sharapova, Jason Sudeikis (We’re the Millers) and Chrissy Teigen (television host), with more to be announced as well as a slew of athletes. In addition, Vintage Trouble will perform as the ESPYS house band.

Speaking of ESPN, the New York Daily News reports that Keith Olbermann, who recently inked a deal to host TBS’ postseason baseball coverage, is in “serious discussions” to host a new late night series that would air on ESPN2.

ESPN2 is slated to carry the “Croke Park Classic” next year, with Penn State and the University of Central Florida slated to face off in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday, Aug. 30. The content marks the first time either team has played outside the US.

GolTV locked in exclusive broadcast rights to three pre-season summer matches and tournaments that will span teams from England, Germany, Italy and Spain this month. Matches will include Premier League team Chelsea’s Asia Tour, which starts Wednesday and features stops in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the three-team tournament for the TIM Trophy that takes place on July 23 as well as Bayern Munich’s match against FC Barcelona in the Uli Hoeness Cup on Wednesday 24th July in Munich.

Gooooooool! Join us on Aug. 14 when we present Telemundo staple Andres Cantor with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit. Cantor, of course, is an internationally known star behind the microphone, calling countless soccer matches all over the world and his goal calls have become iconic for both Telemundo and sports culture in the United States. Telemundo Executive Vice President of Sports Jorge Hidalgo will present the honor. Tickets are on sale now at


Cynopsis: Sports Presents…

Women of Action                      Sports Business Summit

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For sponsor information, please contact Mike Farina at (203) 218-6480.
For registration information, please contact Pete Romas at (203) 899-8483

Sponsorship & Promotion

Budweiser is shifting gears. The brand announced that it will switch NASCAR teams in 2014, when its moves from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas Racing when driver Kevin Harvick also makes the move to his new team The company will serve as a primary sponsor of Harvick’s car for 20 of the 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup events next season, as well as the Budweiser Duel. Budweiser will be an associate sponsor at all other events.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, presented by AT&T and BlackBerry, will perform at the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday, July 29 at 9p local time as part of a five-day fan festival in downtown Kansas City. The fest will feature live music, viewing parties and more. The league’s 18th annual All-Star Game features the 2013 MLS All-Star squad taking on Italian giants AS Roma on Wednesday, July 31 and will be televised live on ESPN2 and UniMas.

Digital & Production

Mobile engagement solutions provider Scanbuy, Inc. partnered with Topps to use the ScanLife mobile engagement platform to power NFC and QR Code technology at the 2013 MLB All-Star FanFest. Baseball fans have been able to use their NFC-enabled smartphones or QR barcode to touch or scan any of the designated giant baseball cards featuring MLB All-Stars such as David Wright, Mike Trout and Mariano Rivera. Scanbuy will provide Topps a variety of consumer insights with each scan or interaction.

ESPN is shutting down a long-time feature on its sites with the closure of its fan boards on Wednesday. On its site, the company stated that “Effective July 17, ESPN will be shutting down forums permanently. We hope you will move your communities to our game conversations, blogs and stories. A Facebook account will be required to post comments about new articles.”

Roster Moves

Online sports retailer Fanatics tapped Paul Volen, former VP Business Operations and GM of Turner Sports and VP Digital Media for the PGA Tour, to serve as VP, Business Operations for the company. The long-time digital executive brings more than 20 years of experience and be responsible for supporting new business and strategic initiatives for the Fanatics.

The Main Event
The Home Run Derby on ESPN at 8:15p.

ON THIS DAY in 1973: California Angel Nolan Ryan throws his second no-hitter.

In The Know: The movie Tin Cup featured an appearance by what Masters Champion? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the last Chicago Cub to be named MVP? Answer: Answers were divided into three camps, with lots of votes for Ryan Sandberg and Andre Dawson. The correct answer is, however, Sammy Sosa in 1998. Kudos: Keith Bielory-Andrew Jenks Entertainment/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Denis Barry-CBS Television Station Sales/NY; Greg Conner-Outdoor Channel/NY; Chad Conwell-Sinclair Broadcast Group/Dayton; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books, Inc./Glen Rock; Lisa Fikeys/-Zimmerman/Chicago; Randy Artcher-FOX Home Team Sports/Dallas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

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