Final Blog Post of the Semester

As the semester dawns to an end we reflect back on the class. Over the course of the semester I chose to blog about sports in the media. I chose this because I have always been a lover of sports and an athlete as well. Just doing these blogs over various sports was very worthwhile and I learned some things about the media and the sports industry that I didn’t know. Things such as the significance of advertising during games for big companies. Companies spend millions and millions a year alone just on advertising. Something that we generally don’t think about. My knowledge of how the media promotes certain events and games in the sports industry was increased as well. Even though I didn’t cover the UFC, the class inspired me to look into how the media affected their respective sport and without advertising the UFC would be much different and much less valuable.

I also learned how US sports league are trying to expand internationally and with that have done thorough research on the cultures of the country. This is a trend that we see across multiple industries, not just the sport industry. I vividly recall talking about how Coca-Cola had a brand blunder when they first entered the Chinese market. The translation for “Coca-Cola” in Chinese meant “Bite the Wax Tadpole”. They later fixed the problem but it just goes to show you that every industry that enters a new or foreign market faces these cultural and language challenges and most adapt to the culture that their marketing their product. For the NFL, they have played games internationally in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico. Obviously the UK and Canada speak English so it was easier to market to those countries but in the case of Mexico, they speak Spanish. In an attempt to attract more fans and adapt to their culture, the NFL has created a an extension of the actual NFL site and called it ‘NFL Mexico’. The site is 100% in Spanish. The NFL airs 9 games every week in Mexico with Spanish broadcasting. Due to their efforts to adapt to the foreign culture of Mexico, the NFL has an estimated 20 million fans in the country. Below is a link relating to the NFL internationally. The first is a short video describing how the NFL is aggressively chasing an international expansion team and looking into the fan bases that exist outside the US borders. The second is NFL Mexico and the preview trailer for the Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders game that was played in Mexico City the 21st of November:

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=18079088

 

One of the big things we noticed about advertising in foreign markets is that the music is generally a little different. In the second ad for the game between the Raiders and the Texans, if you listen to the music in the background music you notice that it’s very different from the ‘NFL Primetime’ music that we hear when we see the commercials here in the US. This further explains the NFL’s attempts to relate to the market there. To adapt like this shows there is no ethnocentric behavior that takes place in the brainstorming rooms of the top officials for NFL International..

There were other aspects that related to sports in the media but the most meaningful one was advertising.

I also learned about the NBA and the massive TV deal they struck with Turner Sports and ESPN. The value of the deal was massive and the amount of money involved in the TV deal was unbelievable to me at first. To me that was the most interesting thing I learned from the blogs. Before the semester started I thought the media consisted of biased reporters and corrupt corporations. And even though that is true to an extent, there’s a reason behind all of that. Cultures and being competitive in the market can be attributed to the biased reporting, among many other things. I was oblivious to this prior to the semester and I can thank this class for the knowledge I gained in the field of media.

If I were to continue to blog about sports, I would look further into the different styles of advertising in different regions of the world. I would also look into the history on adapting to foreign cultures and the successes and the failures. I always wondered how advertising on live streaming games compared to traditional TV commercials so I would also look into which is more profitable and the different techniques used and whether companies approach those two ads differently or not. Maybe the length of the ad is different, or the visuals or audio has different benefits to each platform that advertising is done on. I have no idea, but that would be something to look into.

Below are a few pictures that depict how sports are crossing international borders and how the challenge of adapting and being successful in these markets takes much more work than meets the eye.

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Sports in the Media: Basketball

Behind fútbol (American soccer) you can make a case that the next most popular sport played world-wide is basketball. The game that was created by Dr. James Naismith in 1891, as he took a job as the Athletic Director of the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. During that time the game was played with a soccer ball being tossed at a couple of peach baskets with the bottom cut out. He had a set of thirteen rules that originally kept the game disciplined. As the game he created slowly started to spread to other YMCA’s in the northeast part of the country, we saw a growing interest in organizing the competition by amateur leagues. Some YMCA’s eventually banned the game because of the rough style of play that came with it. The amateur leagues picked up the slack and slowly we started to see more and more pop up. In 1896, the first professional game was played and 4 decades later the game was being played in the Olympics. In 1946, the NBA was formed. Of course the NBA is the largest and most prestigious league in the world, based here in the USA. In 1932, the Federation of International Basketball Associations (better known as FIBA) was created.

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Pictured above is Dr. James Naismith and the soccer ball and peach baskets he first used for the game; and the early game in action.

Today, players in leagues all over the world are mandated to speak to the press throughout the course of the year, much like most other sports. One of the most popular press conferences given in basketball history and even sports history is Hall of Famer (and one of my favorite players ever) Allen Iverson’s “Practice” rant: https://youtu.be/L29cuziRazU . A reporter questioned Iverson’s practice habits after his MVP-winning season came to a screeching halt and his response was one for the ages. 

In a world where we see the ratings of the NFL declining for several reasons, the NBA is undergoing a huge increase in ratings and as a result the league signed a 9-year, $24,000,000,000 deal with ESPN and Turner Sports. The deal was signed back in 2014 by league commissioner Adam Silver and this season (2016-2017) is the inaugural year for the mega deal. Now although fewer people are watching television than every before and seems to be a continuing trend, the live streaming of sports is still very relevant and may even be on the rise. Fans can now watch games on their mobile devices, tablets, and laptops. For companies who depend on their commercials and advertising to reach these viewers, they will still be able to launch their advertisements on the live streaming. This deal, which is a massive increase of 180% of the previous 2007 deal, will be an opportunity for companies to get their product name out there more than ever.

Another topic that has helped contribute to the increase in ratings of the NBA in the recent years is the embracing of social media and lessening the restrictions on copyright infringement of photos, videos, memes, and all other forms of media. After Adam Silver took over the title of NBA Commissioner in 2014 from David Stern, he took the mindset that “Any publicity is good publicity”. Today we see social media apps and sites such as Facebaook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, and Snapchat using traditionaly”unauthorized” videos of the league’s game and property. Since the league decided to not take legal action against these media platforms and individuals, we see a growing fan base. We see the NBA nearly everywhere on the internet nowadays. Personally, I feel if every pro league adopted this mindset they would see similar results, especially leagues struggling to find a fan base.

 

nbamemes

Sports in the media: Football

cropped-sb-media-day.jpgWe can trace the roots of the game all the way back to 1869, when Rutgers and Princeton played the first game. But it wasn’t until 1909 that the game of American football was recognizable to the game that we see soaring in popularity across the globe and especially here in the United States. “America’s Game” has drawn the attention of the media from all over the world and every level of the organization are impacted by the media, whether it be from stories written by analysts or through post-game press conferences and media days. For the most part, NFL athletes have a portion of their contract that mandates them to speak to the press during scheduled times (generally before or after a practice or game). Coaches and GM’s deal with the same attention. These responses help to create story lines that attract more viewers. One famous example is when Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, guaranteed that his New York Jets team would defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. These created a lot of hype for the most highly anticipated game in all of sports, the Super Bowl. Namath’s Jets won the game and as a result the media responded by calling him the greatest quarterback to play the game, and at the time they were most definitely right.30-second-ad

Yes, I did say that the Super Bowl is the most highly anticipated game in all of sports because it is. Earlier this year, the Denver Broncos played Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers and the game was the 3rd largest televised program in American history (114.4 million people). On a global scale, the amount of spectators that tuned into the game are estimated to be anywhere between 800 million and 1 billion viewers. Oh by the way, that does not include the millions that joined to watch the game in sports bars/restaurants across the country. CBS also set a new record for having the most viewers per minute with a whopping 1.4 million tuning in each minute. The game also consisted of 49 minutes and 35 seconds of advertising and promotions, accounting for 22% of the entire program. Of these ads, 43% of them contained a hashtag to urge participation of the ad by viewers via social media.the-social-bowl-infographic And in today’s ever-expanding world of globalization, social media is one of the most prominent ways that news and ideas can spread around the globe. Trends on these social media platforms reach millions of people every day and on Super Bowl day, it’d be asinine to think that people “across the pond” were oblivious to the event.

It’s also worth mentioning that the reason why American football has a growing interest on an international level is due to the expansion of regular season games in foreign countries. Eleven years ago, the Arizona Cardinals were able to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in a 2005 matchup in Mexico City, Mexico, deeming it as the first NFL game to be played on international soil. After a break in 2006, the NFL has decided to play at least one international game every year since. This year, there are 3 scheduled international games. The Indianapolis Colts lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a week 4 matchup that was hosted at Wembley Stadium in London England. This Sunday, the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants will play the first game in an international rugby stadium, as the prep for battle in the English national rugby stadium Twickenham in London. Next week, the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals will collide at Wembley stadium again. A month from this Monday we’ll see Mexico City host it’s first game since the inaugural game in 2005, as the Houston Texans battle the Oakland Raiders in the first ever international Monday Night Football game. Coverage of the first Mexico City game back in 2005 were dominated by Hispanic journalists that work for ESPN Deportes, a sub department of ESPN.

The global media has an increasing role on the game of American football, as we continue to see games being played overseas and advertisements and social media promoting the events.

Zack VanDusen

WORKS CITED

Swallen, John. “Super Bowl 50: The Numbers.” Home. Kantar Media, 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

Game, The. “Super Bowl 50 Audience Is Third Largest in TV History.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.