ALL-STAR PERFORMANCES AT THE WINTER SUMMITPosted on February 24, 2021 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE
“ALL-STAR PERFORMANCES AT THE WINTER SUMMIT”
Taking a look at some powerful takeaways from the Winter Summit!
By: Ryan Luong
Dear Faithful Readers,
Last week the NSF team wrapped up our third Summit Series event, the Virtual Winter Summit. It was an amazing opportunity to connect and learn from the best and brightest in the industry!
On this edition of the Selling It feature, we take you through (just some of!) the highlights of the Virtual Winter Summit. If you want to join us for a future Summit Series event, register HERE to attend the Virtual Spring Summit coming up on May 19-20, 2021!
Marketing and Communications Manager
“ALL-STAR PERFORMANCES AT THE WINTER SUMMIT”
Round Three was a homerun! After two successful (virtual) summits, (…the Fall Summit and Holiday Summit), the NSF returned this past week to bid adieu to the winter season with its third edition of the NSF Summit Series – the NSF Winter Summit.
Representatives from over 135 different pro teams, colleges, sporting events and associations joined together with executives from 160 different brands, agencies and product/service suppliers for a wide-ranging series of business panels, workshops and breakout sessions. Finishing off both days of programming were two evenings of networking at the Budweiser Networking Lounge. Read on to hear some highlights from this past week’s event.
Teeing off the event was the Opening Super Panel: “From the Top Down – What’s in Store for the Sports Industry as We Dive into 2021?” Moderator Josh Young, VP, Ticket Sales & Service for the Miami Dolphins led a top-level group of senior sports executives as they discussed what they expect to see from sports business in our new year.
When asked what the fan has to look forward to when venues reopen, Amy Latimer, President of TD Garden, said that “[the pandemic] gave us the opportunity to reset, we had to go back and look at our experience for our guests. The street to seat experience, from our cleaning to our security, how do we bring those back and do those things right really well? And then bring in new, digital ticketing, mobile ordering, cashless transactions.”
On the topic of the rapid pace of content and streaming, Burke Magnus, EVP of Programming & Scheduling for ESPN explained that “we want to be every place that a fan is …or wants to be.” Magnus continued on by explaining that “ESPN+ and streaming services make for a really great moment for the fan. “It’s going to transform sports without question.”
It’s indeed an understatement to say that sports gambling is a hot topic in the sports industry today. Tom Glick, President of the Carolina Panthers bore that out when he shared his view on sports betting by stating, “The emergence of sports gambling …goes hand in hand with engaging fans, finding new fans, finding young fans and with the media. The different ways to bet while watching will provide different opportunities.”
Following up last week’s Opening Super Panel was a group of workshops led by industry experts. One, the Social & Digital Media Workshop drew a large crowd of virtual attendees as they broke down the current events and trends encompassing sports.
Kicking off the workshop was a discussion on social justice. Dustin Godsey, the Chief Marketing Officer of the Milwaukee Bucks, broke down the Bucks’ decision to boycott the NBA playoff game and the media following it when he said that, “These are real issues, we can’t just wait for a moment in time for it to be a hot button issue. We have to do this all year round.”
Also discussed during this workshop were trending platforms that organizations should look into. As you might imagine, one “hot topic” social media app was TikTok.
Nick Hayden, the Founder of Sports Biz Group said that “TikTok is, from what I’ve seen, the fastest growing platform that I’ve been a part of in my personal brand and for clients I work with.”
Diving into TikTok deeper was Isaac Rochell, an NFL Player from the Los Angeles Chargers. Rochell has a large following on TikTok and stated that, “For me it was an opportunity to expand my brand.” He went on to explain that, “From what I’ve seen, [TikTok] engagement and those followers convert really well into Instagram and other followers.”
Later that same afternoon was the NSF’s second super panel entitled: “That’s the Ticket – What’s in Our Ticket Sales Future for the Coming Year?” This interesting panel provided an in-depth look at ticket sales with the wishful thinking of fans in stadiums this upcoming year.
Speaking of fans and their experience, Laura Meyer, VP of Business Intelligence for the Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx explained an interesting initiative that the Timberwolves/Lynx have implemented, “One trend that we are seeing is the popularity of in-seat mobile ordering. To capitalize on this, we provided a “Bud Button” where it opens up three Budweiser products and a vendor with an iPad gets the request and brings the beer with immediate transactions through the app.”
When asked how her team has fostered fan engagement during these unorthodox times, Dionna Widder, the Chief Revenue Officer of Houston Dynamo F.C. & Dash said that “with the National Women’s Soccer League championship, one of my favorite things we did this year was the reverse parade. We couldn’t host a traditional championship, so we set up a great stage with our partner Budweiser, with music and their fans got to decorate their cars and go through the stadium.”
On the topic of member experience and sales, Marc Jackson, VP of Ticket Sales & Service for the Denver Broncos gave everyone a sneak peek of Broncos Plus which runs through the Broncos 365 app, “It’s a robust plan that will allow us to give targeted, scaled customized fan experiences.” Jackson says that “It will take our fan engagement and our overall service with season ticket members here in Broncos country to the next level.”
Mark Plutzer, SVP of Ticketing for Major League Baseball discussed teams keeping premium services during the pandemic when he explained how teams, “…gave fans the option of refund, but we tried to create reasons or stories on why you should keep the money on account credit. Most teams were pleasantly surprised and pleased on the amount of fans that kept the money on account credit. One of the reasons we were able to achieve a pretty decent number was by implementing some bonus credits if they keep their money in the account or give a little bit more to customers and enhance their experience when they’re back.”
Day Two of programming presented the opportunity for attendees to tune in to their choice of 16 different breakout sessions as well as the first ever NSF Sports Gambling Super Panel. “Betting to Win – What’s Next in the World of Sports Gaming?” featured an all-encompassing discussion on all things sports gambling.
When asked about revenue potential with sports betting, Jim Van Stone, the President of Business Operations & CCO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment said that, “We think it’s an incredible fan engagement opportunity. We look at it overall for us and what we’re able to do here in the district and at Capital One Arena”. Van Stone went on to say that their Sports Book is connected to the arena itself and that, from what they’re seeing, Monumental is estimating that their live sports book will bring, “…about 1 million annual visits to the complex”.
While discussing team sponsorship and sports betting, Adam Davis, the Chief Commercial Officer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment said, “On the team level, we can directly engage fans and drive conversions specifically with our fans.”
While on the topic of trends she’s seeing in different states and their progress with sports betting legalization, Sara Slane, the Founder of Slane Advisory said that, “It’s F.O.M.O (Fear Of Missing Out). Every state hates seeing the money flowing over the state lines and not being able to recapture that revenue and bring it back. So typically you see states move in clusters.”
When asked the “crystal ball” question of whether we would see federal legislation on sports gambling or if would be done by states, Senator Joe Addabbo Jr, the Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming & Wagering explained that, “You would think that federal legislation would be warranted or looked at because of the inconsistencies throughout the states, but I hope not! I think the competition between states is good for mobile sports betting. It’s good for consumers. I certainly hope that the federal government stays out at this point and lets the states thrive.”
Wrapping up both days of programming was the Budweiser Networking Lounge, where the Forum Family was able to connect once again. Despite being virtual, the conversations, connections, and camaraderie were very much real!
Next up in the NSF’s Virtual Summit Series will be the NSF Spring Summit – May 19-20, 2021. We encourage all of you to take advantage of our “Early Bird” pricing discount. (Click HERE to register!) Companies interested in getting out in front of our audience of teams/events are urged to reach out to Mitch Heimbach (Mitch@Sports-forum.com) to learn about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.
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