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Posts Tagged ‘sports’

lg_sprite_lebron_james_4Professional athletes have endorsement deals with an array of companies. These include restaurants, shoe brands and credit cards. Companies have used athletes to promote their products and services for over 100 years.

Athletes endorse products and services in a variety of ways. These include TV commercials, print advertisements and Web site endorsements. Athletes may also wear products or use services when they are participating in their sport and when they are in public.

Most people know that Michael Jordan endorses Nike and that Tiger Woods endorses GatoradeAccording to recent studies, consumers are more likely to purchase products and use services endorsed by athletes than products and services that are not endorsed. Kids around the world feel like they can be “just like Mike” when they wear a pair of Air Jordan’s. If I want to buy a sports drink, I may buy Gatorade because the company sticks out in my head. I’ve seen Gatorade commercials with Tiger Woods, so the product must be good. People tend to believe star athletes.

So, what would you think if you saw or heard about Michael Jordan wearing a pair of Adidas? What about Tiger Woods drinking Powerade? Darren Rovell at Sports Biz calls this endorsement fraud. Endorsement fraud is when athletes get paid to endorse one product or service but are caught using the competitor.

Athletes can obviously eat whatever they want and wear whatever they want, but they need to be careful when they endorse a product. By signing a contract, they are obligated to that brand. Athletes are in the public eye whenever they step outside their homes. Technology has also made it possible for people to publish pictures or videos of athletes online.

Brian Gainor gives an example of Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard, who endorses McDonald’s. Howard is featured in the new Monopoly game commercials for McDonald’s. While in Beijing, playing on the Olympic basketball team, Howard was videotaped eating Wendy’s with his teammates. McDonald’s paid $4 million to be the official sponsor of Team USA Basketball for the 2008 Olympic Games. It seems strange that the team would eat Wendy’s for a team meal.

People trust athletes and hope that they are being truthful when they promote a product. Will people listen to Howard and eat at McDonald’s if they see him eating at Wendy’s? Isn’t that a bit contradicting?  

Here’s the video: http://hoopsoup.com/2008/11/03/reedem-team-meal-of-champions/

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obama_basketball1Throughout the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama and John McCain used sports to reach out to people across the country. Obama did an excellent job of connecting with people through sports, which may have helped him win the election.

From the beginning of his campaign, Obama discussed his love of sports. He played basketball in high school and began playing election day pick-up games during the Democratic primary campaign. He called sports radio shows and gave interviews to sports columnists. By Obama talking about sports and showing that he’s a big sports fan, people, like Arash Markazi, can relate to him and view him as a regular person.

Obama also used sports media to reach people, especially the Republican-leaning demographic group of young white males. According to Nielsen, Obama’s campaign spent more on sports programming than any candidate in history. During the Beijing Olympics alone, Obama’s campaign spent $5 million on commercials.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 7,000 “Obama for President” commercials during live sporting events. A 30-minute Obama infomercial delayed the final World Series game by a few minutes, and Nielsen estimated that 33.7% of infomercial viewers also watched the Phillies win the World Series.

Obama had one last chance to reach the American people on Monday Night Football, the night before the election. The game was the second most-watched cable event of the year. Obama was interviewed during halftime and talked about a college football playoff system, which is an issue in the world of sports.

Connecting with people through sports was a perfect campaign strategy for Obama. He capitalized on the opportunity to reach a wide-ranging group of people, but they all had one thing in common — sports.

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We all know that our economy is hurting. The impact of the bad economy trickles down to newspapers and the sports industry. Newspapers across the country are cutting jobs and pages to save money. At some newspapers, this can result in limited sports coverage because there are fewer reporters. Newspapers also don’t have enough money to send reporters to games or events.

While looking for information on sports public relations, I stumbled upon a great sports PR blog by Christy Hammond. Christy discusses how declining sports coverage in newspapers hurts the sports industry and what can be done to make up for the lost coverage.

Many people keep up to date on sports by reading the newspaper. Sports teams, leagues and PR departments want to see stories in the newspaper. This is important for a sports team because they can use the coverage to maintain and grow their fan base. When sports coverage is cut from newspapers, people aren’t able to get the same information as they did before and may become angry because they want to read about their favorite team. If people are still interested, they will have to find information elsewhere. The sports industry has to embrace different forms of media to receive more coverage.

Reaching out to bloggers and joining the blogosphere is a great way for the sports industry gain coverage. Some hockey teams in the NHL have formed relationships with bloggers and have invited them into the press box to cover games. This is a perfect thing because teams and leagues will most likely gain more coverage through blogs.

I have been a sports fan my entire life and I’ve always enjoyed picking up the sports section of the newspaper to read about my favorite teams. Lately, I’ve been using the Internet to read about sports because there’s so much more sports coverage available online. It looks like I’ll have to continue doing this because there may not always be a sports section in the newspaper.

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