Connect with us

Marketing

How a Strip of Bacon Can Showcase the Power of a Rebrand

A one-night rebrand for a Minor League Baseball team can be a powerful profit generator, according to a seminar at the 2019 Baseball Winter Meetings.

Avatar

Published

on

Photo credit: Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Minor League Baseball teams are leaders in their ability to rebrand. 

In fact, the practice of rebranding, even for one night, led to a whole seminar at this last week’s Baseball Winter Meetings, led by Jason Klein of the marketing company Brandiose. Klein went through several rebranding trends with some explanations so other interested teams might be able to roll out similar efforts.

“Theme nights used to be, ‘get the jersey and have a ’90s night,’” Klein said. “But it’s blown up in this huge profitable way.”

Klein emphasized several times how collectors, baseball fans or not, are quick to purchase cool rebrand efforts.

The rebrand trends were also broken down in profit potential. MiLB Deputy Legal Counsel Robert Fountain was also on hand, to provide legal counsel in the tricky efforts — such as every jersey being submitted to the league for approval, and ensuring those jerseys still have some form of the main logo branding.

Food Identity 2.0 

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs struck it big by replacing its normal logo with a strip of bacon — a hat they still sell.

Meanwhile, the Staten Island Yankees went with a viral sensation and became the Staten Island Pizza Rats for multiple games. Other teams pay homage to their region’s celebrated food items too, like the Vermont Maple Kings. 

All in all, more than 40 teams participated in the trend, and more are expected in 2019, Klein said. Among the tips he provided were switching up materials in the uniform and sending out media kits with a local food vendor.

READ MORE: Golden Knights President Takes You Inside the Team’s Culture

Celebrating Hometown Identity 

While the convention and visitors bureaus generally take the lead on celebrating a hometown, Klein said teams have a unique merchandising opportunity the CVBs do not.

“They don’t have the merchandise power or distribution,” he said. “You are creating a sub-brand that celebrates the hometown.”

He showcased, for example, the Rochester Red Wings wearing Flower City uniforms, honoring Rochester, New York’s moniker — the Flower City.

Hero Identity 

The use of the term superhero is off the board — it is co-trademarked by Marvel and DC Comics — but with a little imagination, everyday mascots can turn into heroes, or other movie and show-inspired characters. Fountain said to be careful in trademark issues and to consult him, but generally using lingo without being too explicit is acceptable.

Klein showcased the Greenville Swamp Rabbits becoming the Hyper Hoppers, as well as nights inspired by “Jurassic Park” and “The Walking Dead.”

Reboot 

As the seminar quickly wrapped up to stay on schedule, Klein sped through the last trend, but specifically brought up the Rochester Red Wings and their reboot to a Rochester minor league team from 1889, the Rochester Hop Bitters.

Working well with modern branding and the current trend of craft beer, the Hop Bitters were a success, he said. “Take an old concept and think, ‘What would it look like if it never folded and existed today?’” 

Klein and Fountain quickly went through a rundown of keys to success with temporary rebrands.

READ MORE: Minor League Baseball’s Merchandise Enjoys Major League Sales

Teams should order at least 500 caps and think of the rebrand beyond a one-day promotional stunt. Teams should plan to sell indefinitely — like the Lehigh Valley bacon strip hat — and have inventory ready when the night is announced.

“The worst thing is if it goes viral and they don’t have the ability to impulse-buy,” Klein said.

Fountain said it’s also important to search and clear trademarks for peace of mind. Also, if the rebrand becomes a success, protect the mark. Fountain joked trademarking a strip of bacon wasn’t something he’d ever think he’d do.

Pat Evans is a writer based in Las Vegas, focusing on sports business, food, and beverage. He graduated from Michigan State University in 2012. He's written two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer. Evans can be reached at pat@frntofficesport.com.

Marketing

NHL Keeps Running On Dunkin’ With New Deal

Dunkin’ became an NHL league-level sponsor in 2017, which was the company’s first-ever national sports league partnership.

Ian Thomas

Published

on

NHL Dunkin' Deal
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Dunkin’ has signed a multi-year extension of its deal with the NHL, continuing its position as the official coffee, donut and breakfast sandwich of the league in the U.S.

The deal, expected to be announced tonight prior to game five of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston, marks the twelfth major partner that the NHL has signed or renewed its deal with in recent months.

Dunkin’ became an NHL league-level sponsor in 2017, which was the company’s first-ever national sports league partnership. Over the course of the last two seasons, the partnership has seen Dunkin’ become one of the NHL’s most active corporate sponsors in terms of its presence at major NHL events, partnerships with local teams, marketing campaigns and other fan-facing efforts.

READ MORE: Following NBA’s Lead, NHL Taps Massive Chinese Market for Fans

NHL Group Vice President of Partnership Marketing Evin Dobson said that since becoming a sponsor, Dunkin’ has ranked at the top or in the top three of the league’s internal metrics regarding fan awareness or engagement of its partners.

Dunkin’ has been front and center this Stanley Cup Final as well, as its national advertising campaign starring Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has been heavily featured during NBC’s television coverage of the playoffs. The campaign was created by BBDO Worldwide, which was named Dunkin’s new agency of record in April 2018.

“When you have an advertising campaign that even the broadcast talent is talking about on-air, you know you’re creating great fan engagement with what you’re doing,” Dobson said.

Tom Manchester, Dunkin’ U.S. senior vice president of integrated marketing, said much of the deal with the league will be similar to how its current deal is structured – it will continue to hold exclusive rights in those U.S. categories, it will activate around the partnership at NHL league events and it will have a presence across broadcast, digital and social media channels throughout the season, which includes a multi-million dollar partnership with NBC Sports for custom in-game features during games. Dunkin’ will also activate alongside the NHL’s esports tournament, the NHL Gaming World Championship, which will hold its final in Las Vegas later this month.

However, the new deal will see Dunkin’ adding two new local team partnerships in the deal, with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vegas Golden Knights. Dunkin’ now has 15 NHL team-level deals.

READ MORE: NHL Turns to Corner Ice Placements to Grow On-Ice Ad Revenue

Dunkin’ will also launch a new activation around the league deal ahead of next season, Manchester said, declining to comment further as those plans have only just started.

“Over these last two years, the idea that coffee and espresso is a big part of the hockey world and hockey family’s lives has only been reinforced for us,” Manchester said.

Dunkin’s NHL deal also serves as “the centerpiece” of that outreach to hockey families, Manchester said.

In addition to its league-level NHL deal in 2017, Dunkin’ has also made additional investments into hockey, signing a deal with USA Hockey in 2016 as well as the NWHL in 2015, becoming the women’s league first corporate sponsor.

While both of those deals have since lapsed, Manchester said that on the NWHL front, the company is in talks with the league about renewing it. He noted that Dunkin’ views “women’s hockey as just as important as men’s.”

However, Dunkin’ is not planning on more broadly renewing its partnership with the U.S. governing body. Manchester said that while Dunkin’ had activated heavily around the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team and players like Meghan Duggan during the 2018 Winter Olympics, it had nothing in place with USA Hockey at the moment – although he said Dunkin’ could potentially do something around the team or its players heading into the next Olympic cycle in 2022.

Both Dobson and Manchester declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, other to say the multi-year deal’s investment level is in line with the previous deal. Fenway Sports Management, who is Dunkin’s sports marketing agency of record, negotiated the deal on behalf of the company.

Continue Reading

Marketing

Concacaf Unveils First-Ever Women’s Soccer Plan

In August, Concacaf appointed its first-ever head of women’s football – former Canadian women’s national team player Karina LeBlanc.

Ian Thomas

Published

on

women's soccer
Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of the start of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Concacaf has rolled out its first-ever strategic plan to grow and develop the game of women’s soccer.

In August, the confederation appointed its first-ever head of women’s football – former Canadian women’s national team player Karina LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, who presented the plan in Paris this week to all confederation’s 41 members that includes all of the soccer federations across North and Central America and the Caribbean, said that even with two of the top five ranked women’s soccer teams globally coming from this region in the U.S. and Canadian national teams, there is still an opportunity to do even better.

“The mission we’ve set out on is to improve the lives of women and girls throughout our region through the sport,” LeBlanc said. “We need to change perceptions, grow participation and build a sustainable foundation so that we can do just that.”

Concacaf has designed its strategy to grow the sport of women’s soccer around three main pillars – communicating the importance of women’s soccer and advocating for key issues affecting women, development of the sport and creating pathways to develop and empower players both on and off the field, and through commercial means that will build a self-sustainable growth model for the sport.

LeBlanc said Concacaf’s vision for growing the game somewhat mirrors FIFA’s, who launched its own first-ever global strategy for women’s soccer in October. FIFA is holding a two-day women’s soccer summit in Paris, featuring executives and federation officials from across the globe aiming to “make the most of this new era of women’s football,” which FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in his opening remarks at the summit on Wednesday morning.

Other goals for 2019 set by Concacaf include leveraging the hopeful success of the region’s national teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, creating a women’s coaching mentorship program and develop a commercial strategy around the confederation’s women’s soccer brand, which is called Concacaf W.

“We believe we can hit some of these targets very quickly, but it was important to create something like this plan so that everyone is on the same page,” LeBlanc said. “We all agree it is critical that we create growth and opportunity for women in the sport.”

LeBlanc said some of the long term goals include creating new women’s soccer competitions across the region, assisting in the creation of women’s soccer-specific digital and social channels for all the federations to help inspire fans, and encouraging the launch of more women’s clubs across the region.

READ MORE: Budweiser Signs On as Presenting Partner of Women’s International Champions Cup

“From our standpoint, we are looking at ways to influence clubs to take a leap of faith and if they already have a men’s team, to also have a women’s team,” LeBlanc said. “Our goal is to change the mindset that women’s football is just a cause.

Continue Reading

Marketing

MLSPA and REP Worldwide Teaming Up to Promote MLS Players

The Major League Soccer Players Association has taken back control of the MLS players’ group licensing rights from the league, signing a new agreement with REP Worldwide to serve as the exclusive partner and strategic advisor for those rights.

Ian Thomas

Published

on

MLS players group licensing rights
Photo Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Soccer Players Association has taken back control of the MLS players’ group licensing rights from the league, according to industry sources, signing a new agreement with REP Worldwide to serve as the exclusive partner and strategic advisor for those rights.

The PA had reclaimed those group licensing rights in the league’s first CBA in 2004, but had since licensed them back directly to the league. In the past, MLS has marketed the rights for both the league and the PA, with proceeds of licensing deals split on a percentage basis that varied by category. Now – the PA will take a more direct management in the marketing and administration of those rights, with REP Worldwide as its exclusive partner and advisor.

REP Worldwide – an acronym for Representing Every Player – was launched in 2017 as a first-of-its-kind group licensing representation business offering licensing and brand management services to athlete-driven sports properties. The NFLPA is the majority shareholder of the company, working in collaboration with its founding partners the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA).

This new partnership will see REP Worldwide structure and manage MLSPA licensing partnerships on behalf of the MLS player pool across categories that include digital, apparel, experiential and hard goods, which typically includes things like toys and sports equipment. those MLS group licensing rights cover instances where four or more players appear on a single product or within a brand or product line. That can include the usage of their names, numbers and likenesses, but not team names or logos – rights held by the league.

READ MORE: Budweiser Signs On as Presenting Partner of Women’s International Champions Cup

The aim for the MLSPA is that this new arrangement will not only open new revenue for the MLS player pool, but also serve as a brand builder for all of the players, collectively and individually.

All of the other player associations in the major North American professional sports have control over their group licensing rights, with the NBPA being the last to do so in 2017.

Continue Reading

Trending