Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Countdown to Kickoff --- Super Bowl XLI will be Peyton’s Place

Sunday’s Super Bowl will be all about Peyton Manning. If the Indianapolis Colts win Super Bowl XLI Manning will have finally won the big game, led his team to a championship. If the Colts lose the game the biggest story after the game will be how Peyton Manning can’t win the big game. His series of “failures” in high school, at Tennessee and in his eight previous seasons with the Colts will come full circle. There may be 83 other players suiting up Sunday, but when all is said and done Super Bowl XLI is all about one player and one player along – Peyton Manning.

Manning earned more than $11.5 million in endorsements last year from a half dozen companies that included, Sony, Reebok, Sprint, DirecTV, ESPN, MasterCard and PepsiCo's Gatorade brand. Manning also was the spokesman for Xbox's NFL Fever 2002 and 2003 and 2004, and was featured on the cover of all three games.

He earns more from endorsements than any other football player. Having turned 30 physically Manning is nearing the peak of his athletic career. At $14 million his salary made him one of the highest paid players on the field in 2006. But more than one of the best quarterbacks in a generation, Manning is the prototype athlete of the 22nd century. He’s become the face of the National Football League, at ease in one of his many commercials or on a football field leading the Colts.

"From a marketing standpoint, his upside is a little bit limited," David Carter, the executive director of the University of Southern California's Sports Business Institute, said of Manning in a globesports.com report. "He's already pretty much the gold standard for the NFL endorser. He really can't get much higher."

None of companies Manning currently endorses have plans to be a part of CBS’s Super Bowl XLI coverage Sunday, but you had better believe once the game ends, if the Colts win and especially if Manning is the MVP there will be an avalanche of Manning commercials early next week. Manning seems to love the camera. From his series of MasterCard commercials that parody Manning praising everyday people doing their jobs to Peyton fooling around with his brother Eli (the quarterback of the New York Giants). Peyton Manning is a natural and very much at ease in front of a camera when a commercial is being filmed.

"The fact is the guy's a good actor," said Bob Dorfman, vice president of Pickett Advertising and the creator of the Sports Marketers' Scouting Report, which tracks athletes and their endorsements. "The MasterCard spots are very good. He's persuasive, he's funny and he delivers a line very well. The only question is what categories are left for him to pursue."

Chris Jogis, vice president of U.S. brand marketing for MasterCard, told CNNmoney.com’s Chris Isidore that while Manning’s current advertising campaigns with MasterCard focus on sports programming that could change if Manning and the Colts win Sunday.

"The advertising and marketing to date has been focused on the more avid football fan," said Jogis. Jogis said his appearance in the Super Bowl only adds to his appeal to sponsors, no matter the final score.

"He'll be better known to more people," he said.

Jogis said MasterCard, one of Manning's first national campaigns, isn't worried about his deals with other sponsors.

"His personality and sense of humor really resonates with people," said Jogis. "As with someone like Michael Jordan, people can't get enough of him."

There are those who believe too much Peyton Manning isn’t a good thing (present company not included)

"There is such a thing as too exposed, and he's close," said Matt Delzell, senior client manager for Davie Brown Talent, who negotiates with athletes on behalf of sponsors. "There's a lot of clutter. At the end of the spot, if you can say, 'I don't know which of the seven it was,' that's a problem."

That may be somewhat true but if you look at the athletes who dominate endorsement opportunities they all share in their ability to sell themselves and whatever products are linked to their name. Tiger Woods and LeBron James both generate more money annually than Manning. The three men present themselves well and each excels on their respective playing field. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady earns about $9 million annually in endorsements (second in the NFL to Manning).

The NFL has been refereed to as the National Felons League from time to time, a moniker well deserved. During the Chicago Bears media opportunity Tuesday at Dolphins Stadium as part of Super Bowl XLI media day Tank Johnson attracted the most attention. Nine members of the Cincinnati Bengals were arrested during the teams’ recently completed season. Manning and Brady offer a safe secure image that companies seek. The greatest fear companies have in working with NFL players on endorsement contracts is that they’ll have to enforce the morality clause included in their contracts. There isn’t much chance Peyton, son of Archie Manning, is going to embarrass himself, the Indianapolis Colts, the National Football League or any of the seven companies he works with. If Manning is overexposed it’s due at least in part to the players who have done damage and harm to the reputation of the National Football League. Peyton’s Place is a safe place for any company to be, as are Tiger Woods and LeBron James.

"He represents what's good in sports," said Ben Sturner, president of Leverage Sports Agency, which has offices in New York, Phoenix and Charlotte.

"Brands are making a significant investment in guys like Peyton Manning," said Bill Glenn, who helped create the Davie Brown Index and is vice president of Dallas-based The Marketing Arm in a USA Today report. "First and foremost they want people to recognize him without needing help."

According to CNNmoney.com Marketing Evaluations, which surveys consumers to create the Q-score ratings used by advertisers to judge the appeal of celebrities, and Davie Brown Talent, which has a comparable survey, both put Manning's awareness in the general population a bit above 50 percent, well below the 85 to 95 percent recognition for Tiger Woods.

Bob Garfield, a columnist for Advertising Age (the single best source for Super Bowl advertising information) wrote a column in December on Manning suggesting, that Manning is "the greatest sports endorser ever. Not the most successful; Michael Jordan, after all. But his delivery, poise and comic timing make Michael look, comparatively, like an extra on 'CSI.' "

Sony who worked first with Jordan believe in the power of Manning to deliver key and important market demographic, men aged 30 to 40 a key age group for Sony’s high end electronic product line.

"When we first asked Peyton to join our team he was second only to Jordan in consumer recognition of athletes," said Kevin Berman, senior marketing manager for Sony Electronics, which uses Manning to pitch high-definition televisions in a Los Angeles Times report. "That's a nice camp to be in."

"We really don't need to tell him much or brief him. He seems to be ready for everything coming at him," said Todd Krinsky, a vice president for Reebok.

Manning is known to think on his feet during commercial shoots. "If you're asking if he calls audibles during the process, yes he does," Berman told The Los Angeles Times.

"He transcends football," Jogis said. "He has a great sense of humor, he's really down to earth for such a great athlete and people can relate to that."

Two and a half years ago Manning did an interview with Business Week that focused on his relationship with IMG (his agents at the time). One interesting question Manning was asked, was if the business side of his career (the commercial endorsement opportunities) are in anyway a distraction from what his football career?

“Some guys lose their focus. They get caught up in the business deals or the endorsements, and they lose their focus. For me, it's always about football. I've never lost sight of what's making all these other things happen.

“IMG has done a good job of letting me concentrate on what's important. I don't do appearances during the season. On Tuesdays, some guys are jumping on a plane. I'm trying to meet with coaches or lift weights or work on my game. That's what matters. And IMG respects that.” Manning told Business Week in July 2004.

Manning is represented by Tom Condon, who has been named the most powerful agent in football by Sporting News, heads the Football Division of Creative Artists Agency with fellow super-agent Ben Dogra. CAA represents over 120 NFL players, including Peyton Manning, Matt Leinart, Marvin Harrison, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Gonzalez, Steve Hutchinson, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Chad Pennington, Alex Smith, Marc Bulger, Chris Simms and Byron Leftwich.

Manning for his part told the USA Today in November he loves the chance to show everyone that he’s much more than just a football player.

"Some people have this impression of me: 'Boy, he's always so serious on the field. Football. Football. Football,' " Manning said. "I'd like people to understand that I do have some personality. It's a commercial, not an Oliver Stone movie."

And if football fans bump into Manning, they’ll often recite word for word the lines used in the MasterCard spots.

At the end of one popular MasterCard spot, Manning asks a grocery clerk to autograph a loaf of bread for his younger brother, Eli. MasterCard's advertising agency had written another line, but Manning decided to mention his brother. "It was his impromptu idea on the set," said Chris Jogis, MasterCard's vice president for U.S. brand development. "It ended up being one of the best lines in the spot. He definitely has a good sense for what's humorous."

"That one's ingrained in people's minds," Manning said. "And the sequel was, 'Will you sign this loaf of bread? ... Sign this melon for my little brother?' Eli was mad because he didn't get any royalties off that spot."

Peyton Manning is someone people not only seem to like but they also trust. CNBC’s Darren Rovell reported that a polling company called E-Poll said their stats on Brady vs. Manning. 20% saw Manning as a sincere person versus 15% for Brady. Say whatever you want about being recognized, at the end of the day if you’re trusted and respected you can build a long term relationship with a solid group of companies. As big as Peyton Manning is four days before Super Bowl XLI, if Dolphins Stadium becomes Peyton’s Place Sunday his endorsement potential will head into a new stratosphere

For Sports Business News this is Howard Bloom. Sources cited in this Insider Report: globesports.com, CNNmoney.com and The Los Angeles Times

ISI Unveils Hooters-Themed Sports Betting Kiosks in Time for Super Bowl Sunday

Leroy’s Race and Sports Book and ISI, Ltd. (ISI) officials announced today their sports gaming kiosks (the iSports Stand) are now on the gaming floor of Hooters Casino Hotel, offering bettors a faster, more convenient method to place sports bets.

The two orange iSports Stands, which display a photo of Michelle Nunes – Miss Hooters International and a blackjack dealer at Hooters Casino Hotel – are the first specially designed kiosks in Las Vegas. The iSports Stands are expected to be fully operational in time for the busiest sports book day of the year – Super Bowl Sunday.

“Hooters is a unique, world-famous brand with a very loyal following,” said Bill Stearns, president of ISI. “We designed the kiosks to attract curious guests to take a look and try this new technology. It’s very simple to place bets, and the kiosk can be open practically 24 hours.”
Stearns compares the machines to using the ATM at a bank instead of dealing with the teller.

“We believe once legal bettors experience the additional features like receiving special offers from our advertisers, checking weather during events, obtaining advice from a professional sports handicapper, booking show tickets or making golf reservations, they will prefer the kiosks,” he said.

ISI co-developed the iSports Stand with AWI Manufacturing, Inc. (AWIM). Acting as a stand-alone sports book, the iSports Stand provides the same services as an in-casino sports book.

Also unique is the ability for local and national businesses to advertise on the kiosk’s video screen, side panels and through on-screen banner ads. This is the first time companies and products outside of the casino can reach guests on the gaming floor.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Countdown to Kickoff -- At $2.6 million, there had better be a big bang for your Super Bowl buck


CBS has been selling 30 second commercial spots for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLI for $2.6 million. If CBS managed to sell their complete commercial inventory for the game (47 minutes or 96 spots) CBS would generate $244.4 million.

It’s not quite as easy as it would appear. Firstly CBS commits a fair percentage to promote their network programming (in a typical Super Bowl, one-fourth of all commercial time is a plug by the network for its own programming. The value of that air time in 2006 alone exceeded $52 million), there’s the commitment to local programming and CBS has yet to sell out their available inventory. Nonetheless Super Bowl Sunday remains the biggest single advertising day of the year. And why? In an increasingly cluttered media universe, the Super Bowl remains the highest rated TV program every year and more importantly the offers the highest guarantee in the industry, you’ll reach an audience.

The average cost of a commercial for the 2000 Super Bowl cost between $2.1 and $2.2 million. It may have been seven years ago, but the 2000 Super Bowl represented the beginning of the end for the tech boom (at least the first internet driven economy). Among the dot.com’s that rolled their financial future on a 30 second Super Bowl spot: Monster.com, HotJobs.com, Pets.com, OurBeginning.com, Oxygen Media, Kforce.com and Computer.com. Online brokerage firm E*Trade sponsored the half-time show and purchased numerous spots during the game.

OurBeginning.com's chief executive Michael Budowski (the website and Mr. Budowski are no longer online) told the media seven years ago that he was spending about $4 million of his $15 million 2000 marketing budget on the Super Bowl.

"If we wanted to catapult ourselves to the forefront and shorten the branding curve, the Super Bowl represents the ultimate opportunity," Budowski said. "We researched different media buys, and we realized that the Super Bowl is really the only media buy throughout the year."

Given that OurBeginning.com, Oxygen Media, Kforce.com, Lifeminders.com and Computer.com (and that’s just a few) are no longer operating, the 2000 Super Bowl was an advertising disaster of Titanic proportion. 17 dot.com’s advertised during Super Bowl 2000 a clear understanding of what was wrong with the first dot.com boom – those involved didn’t understand the industry they were a part of.

"People are in a different place with their Internet experience and understanding of the dot com world," said Anne Hollows, senior vice president of global brand strategies at Monster.com seven years ago. Her company saw its traffic spike about 450 percent after the game last year. "I would be surprised if we see that kind of a surge this year--the novelty has worn off," she said.

Monster.com is still around, but no longer a part of Super Bowl Sunday. As of Monday night only one dot.com, careerbuilder.com will be a part of Super Bowl XLI. Careerbulder.com have purchased two thirty-second spots one in the second quarter and the other in the third quarter. Godaddy.com is back once again this time with three spots and salegenie.com will be a first time advertiser at Super Bowl XLI.

The historical numbers linked to Super Bowl advertising is mind-boggling. According to TNS Media Intelligence, advertising during the Super Bowl game has accounted for 682 minutes – over 11 full hours – of commercial time throughout the past 20 years (1987-2006). Those 11 hours represent 221 different advertisers, more than 1,400 commercial announcements and translate into $1.72 billion of network advertising sales.

The top five Super Bowl advertisers of the past 20 years have spent $613.4 million on advertising during the game, accounting for 35 percent of total advertising dollars spent in the game. Anheuser Busch and Pepsico, advertisers in every Super Bowl game since 1987, continue to lead the pack, followed by General Motors and Time Warner.

While last year’s report (covering 1986-2005) listed FedEx Corporation as the fifth top advertiser, the company was replaced in this year’s report (covering 1987-2006) by Walt Disney. This is especially interesting as FedEx Corporation has advertised with the Super Bowl for 19 years, while Walt Disney has only advertised with the Super Bowl for the past seven years.

Each year, about 62 percent of the network TV ad money invested in the game comes from incumbent marketers who ran commercials the previous year. The major exception to that was the 2000 Super Bowl

“While that’s a very high retention rate, it’s actually lower than the comparable rate for two other showcase TV events. Over the past 10 years, the average dollar retention rate has been 78 percent for the Academy Awards and 67 percent for the World Series,” said Jon Swallen, senior vice president of Research at TNS Media Intelligence.

The cost of an advertisement in the Super Bowl has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years, reaching $2.5 million in 2006 for a 30-second unit. For the 2007 game, CBS is reportedly fetching over $2.6 million for each 30-second spot.

The biggest single advertiser for Super Bowl XLI is Anheuser-Busch. The beer company has purchased 5 minutes or 10 spots. If AB didn’t get a discount for buying as many spots as they did, they’ll be writing CBS a check for $26 million.

"It's fragmentation-proof, or least fragmentation-resistant," said Jason Maltby, president of national broadcast for MindShare, a media-buying firm owned by WPP Group. "You are reaching almost 1 out of every 2 Americans. Nothing else in any media even comes close."

In addition, "there is a much higher level of attention and engagement with the commercials," he added in a marketwatch.com report

The real question remains – does it make sense to invest in a Super Bowl spot?

"It's a much, much bigger risk than it is reward pay-out," Julie Roehm, the former communication's chief at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said at a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York.

To make the multi-million dollar commercials worthwhile, marketers need to look to tie-in advertisements, such as using the same character or theme on an Internet campaign.

"It's not worth it if you just look at the numbers," said Jon Bond, Co-Chairman of advertising agency Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners. "You've got to have something I'll call the 'X factor'."

Joann Ross, president of network sales for CBS (hosting this years ago and knowing they’ll be televising the game in three years time again) needless to say is a big believer in the power of Super Bowl advertising.

"The Super Bowl is the one event where people do pay ... more attention to the commercials," she said. "The recall of the commercials is greater than spots that don't run in the Super Bowl."

Ryan Schinman, CEO of Platinum-Rye Entertainment agreed.

"I look at the Super Bowl as a big, almost, premier," Schinman said. "The Super Bowl, like the Academy Awards, is something special."

The Super Bowl is the one event that transcends sports. Ross is correct in suggesting it’s the one event people take the time to watch the commercials. One interesting feature to this years’ cavalcade of Super Bowl spots – most if not all of the spots will be available at youtube.com immediately following the game Sunday night. Ironically while the biggest disaster in Super Bowl advertising history was the dot.com 2000 Super Bowl debacle, seven years later the internet offers Super Bowl XLI advertisers an opportunity to leverage their $2.6 million 30 second investment.

As well Doritos and the NFL Network are among the advertisers who are actually allowing their customers to create what ad will run. A total of four Super Bowl XLI spots collectively worth $10.4 million will air Sunday.

"User-generated content is the hottest concept in marketing today," said Fran Kelly, president of ad agency Arnold Worldwide. "Trying an idea that people are going to talk about and look forward to seeing during the game is using the Super Bowl the right way."

"You're trying to get people engaged, and it's hard to argue that they're not engaged if they're actively involved in the making of the commercial," said John Condon, chief creative officer of ad agency Leo Burnett USA in a Cnet.com report

Amateur advertising videos have been around for a couple of years. Shoe company Converse was the first to run television ads created by customers. The concept was developed in 2004 by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, the Sausalito ad agency. The 24-second Converse videos were exhibited on www.conversegallery.com, in addition to television.

"What marketers are increasingly finding is that they can't control it,'' Stern said.”And, in fact, letting go and ceding absolute control is a major part of this new marketing model.''

And at the end of the day what matters most – regardless of whether or not your ad has been put together as part of Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour (an old TV program) or offers the creativity of some of the legendary Super Bowl spots of yesteryear, the spots better stand and deliver.

"You have to create spots especially for the game and that can double the price. You have to pay $2.6 million or so to get in the game and to produce a spot could easily cost you another million or two," said Fran Kelly, president and chief executive officer of Arnold Worldwide, a leading advertising agency. "It is a challenge for marketers. If you wind up with one of the poorly rated commercials you wonder if it's worth the money."

Anheuser-Busch’s will focus on fun and entertainment this year, moving away from their series of post 9/11 spots that featured ads with a patriotic theme. AB will also be using the internet to help get their message out. With 10 different spots on Sunday’s telecast AB will allow fans to vote for their favorite Anheuser-Busch spot on the companies website and encourage fans to use their cell phones to text message their favorite.

“What you have to recognize is where the consumer’s going,” said Robert Lachky, executive vice president for global industry development and chief creative officer at the Anheuser-Busch division of Anheuser-Busch in a New York Times report.

“Half the people in the United States watch the Super Bowl, but half don’t,” said Steven R. Schreibman, vice president for advertising and brand management at Nationwide Financial. “How do you reach them?”

“The Super Bowl is the only media property where the advertising is as big a story as the content of the show,” he added, “so you want to see how much you can leverage it.”

Garmin, a maker of G.P.S. navigation devices made it clear to The New York Times they couldn’t be more excited about their first chance to be a part of a Super Bowl game. There 30 seconds of fame is set for the second quarter.

“To look at the Super Bowl as ‘30 seconds and gone’ was never a part of the plan,” said Jon Cassat, director for marketing communications at Garmin. “We think a great audience out there responds to traditional media like television,” he added, “and we think there is a great audience out there we will reach through viral means.”

“It’s not right for everyone,” said Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“Some of them, you scratch your head,” he added. “In the hype of the Super Bowl, they get carried away.”

But for “the right marketer, the Super Bowl makes wonderful sense if you think of it as a springboard to other things,” Professor Calkins said, adding: “Put the ads on the Internet. Get all the P.R. you can. Make the most of your media investment.”

Several of the websites who plan on streaming the Super Bowl commercial inventory immediately after the game ends are selling sponsorships for their post game Super Bowl connection.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal; USA Today's Web site and Viacom Inc.'s IFilm site have both sold pre-roll ads on their Super Bowl poll pages, while Time Warner Inc.'s AOL has sold advertising for its viewer poll. Google Inc.'s YouTube, which is mounting a Super Bowl poll for the first time this year, is offering advertisers in the big game the chance to buy marketing packages aimed at reinforcing the message of their Super Bowl spots on the video-sharing site.

"Super Bowl ads have taken on a life of their own," says Neal Scarbrough, editor and general manager of AOL Sports. "When folks see these big numbers, they go, 'You know, you think we can advertise there.' "

For example, traffic to IFilm increased 157% during the week after the Super Bowl to 2.6 million unique visitors from 1 million the week before, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, a Web monitoring company.

"Ten years ago you looked at Nielsen numbers and then day-after recall," said Kate Sirkin, exec VP-global research director, Starcom Mediavest Group. But now it's about more than just eyeballs. "You can look at online buzz, online traffic, people talking about your brand and searching online."

And that is the bottom line;’ if you’re spending $2.6 million for a 30 second commercial spot not only had that commercial be outstanding but it’s essential that you look to leverage that opportunity in as many different ways as possible. Advertising remains what it has always been, you’re selling an intangible, and you hope you’ll reach an audience but you’re never quite sure.

For Sports Business News this is Howard Bloom. Sources cited in this Insider Report: The New York Times, CNNmoney.com, AdAge and Marketwatch

Super Bowl XLI Week Kicks Off With a Game of 'Financial Football'

Visa USA Monday announced it is releasing a free, first-of-its-kind cell phone game that helps teens learn how to manage money wisely. Developed in conjunction with the NFL and PLAYERS INC, "Financial Football" equips parents with an innovative tool to help their children learn important financial life lessons.

"Cell phones are the screen of choice for today's teenagers and parents know all too well just how much time their children spend talking, texting and playing games on their cells," said Michael Rolnick, director, Visa USA. "Creating a financial management cell phone game allows parents and educators to harness the popularity of the cell phone and put it to good use in teaching the vital life skill of money management."

Demonstrating the connection teenagers have with their cell phones and the growing popularity of gaming on mobile devices, a new study of parents released by Visa USA shows that 38% of teenagers play a cell phone game more than once a week. The survey also showed that 10% of teenagers are "super cell gamers," playing games on their cell phone five times a day or more.

Sprint and Cingular customers can access the game by texting the word VISA to 24421. Unlike many other cell phone games, which can cost up to $20, Visa is not charging a fee to download "Financial Football." Additional information on the game is available at http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/CellFootball.

Before being developed for cell phones, "Financial Football" already scored points with parents, teachers and teenagers as a computer-based video game. At the Super Bowl XLI NFL Media Center, Visa USA was joined by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown to help coach students from Miami Beach High School in a game of "Financial Football."

"It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers, and mentors within the community to give young adults a strong background in personal financial management," said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. "A few months ago, I joined Visa in bringing this message to students in Louisiana. Now I have the chance to coach another game of 'Financial Football' here in Miami and to tell these students how imperative it will be for them to learn how to make good, smart, informed money decisions, as they plan for college and beyond."

"Teaching the fundamentals of money management in school gives young people a real advantage in today's financially diverse society," said Ronnie Brown of the hometown Miami Dolphins. "I'm glad for the opportunity to teach these Miami Beach students how to manage their money because it is such a vital life skill."

"Financial Football" puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a player needs to answer various money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a player yardage.

The free, computer-based version of "Financial Football" has already been downloaded and played over 100,000 times. The game and corresponding financial education curriculum are the centerpiece of a major educational initiative, now in its second season, between Visa, the NFL and PLAYERS INC, to get young people engaged and excited about their financial futures.

In addition to being a game, "Financial Football" is also part of a one- week, five-part financial literacy program designed for high school instruction. In December, Visa teamed up with West Virginia State Treasurer John D. Perdue to announce the first-ever statewide roll out of "Financial Football" that brings the computer-based game to every high school and library in the state. West Virginia is one of a growing number of states making financial education a mandatory high school graduation requirement.

"Financial Football" is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/), a comprehensive financial literacy program -- available in English, Spanish and Chinese -- that teaches young adults personal finance skills.

This free, educational resource provides teachers with lesson plans (kindergarten through college) mapped to their state education requirements. For students, there are interactive games and calculators designed to teach responsibility and important concepts such as earning, saving and budgeting money.

"As part of Visa's longstanding commitment to financial education, we are constantly developing new and creative ways to get students to learn how to budget, invest and save for their futures," said Rolnick. "Cell phones are the perfect way to reach teenagers and have them learn about financial responsibility."

Snickers Offers a 'Sneak Peek' at New Super Bowl Ad

SNICKERS(R) announced today that the brand is leaping into the Super Bowl fray with an ad that's sure to satisfy fans' desire for laughter and being a part of the action. In the ad, two mechanics share a Snickers Bar that will change both of them forever. Consumers can preview the first portion of the spot at http://www.snickerssatisfies.com/ , and then see the full ad on Super Bowl Sunday, February 4.

The spot, which was created by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, will air during the first half of Super Bowl XLI on CBS. The ad represents Snickers' return to the "big advertising game" for the first time since 2001.
After the story unfolds during the Super Bowl, consumers can log on to http://www.snickerssatisfies.com/ to see the full ad and three alternative endings that were created for the spot. Fans can cast their vote for their most satisfying ending, and the resulting favorite ad will be the next version to air.

The advertising has been closely guarded by the Snickers team. The only "outsiders" who have previewed the ad -- and the alternative endings -- are select players from the Chicago Bears including Rex Grossman, Robbie Gould, Desmond Clark, Alex Brown and Muhsin Muhammad; plus Indianapolis Colts players Marvin Harrison, Dwight Freeney, Joseph Addai and Cato June. Their reactions speak for themselves:

-- "In this commercial there is a significant 'bam' that's the moment.
People are going to scream and laugh!" - Rex Grossman, quarterback,
Chicago Bears
-- "This commercial is gonna catch you off-guard." - Muhsin Muhammad,
wide receiver, Chicago Bears
-- "Definitely one to talk about the next day." - Marvin Harrison, wide
receiver, Indianapolis Colts
-- "Definitely something you'll always remember. I mean, you've seen
nothing like this anywhere!" - Dwight Freeney, defensive end,
Indianapolis Colts
-- "You're definitely crowding the line, it's one of those that's gonna
be remembered!" - Cato June, linebacker, Indianapolis Colts

"The players never get the opportunity to see the ads because they're on the field," said Michele Kessler, vice president of marketing at Masterfoods USA. "So we thought it would be fun to preview the spot and the endings with some of them. Their reaction was exactly what we anticipate on game night -- lots of laughs and a lot of people seeking the satisfaction of a Snickers bar!"

"The Super Bowl is the perfect environment for Snickers and for this spot because of the brand's icon status and its relationship with the NFL. We wanted something that would get people talking during -- and after -- the game," said Gerry Graf, executive creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York.

USDA Offers Food Safety and Nutrition Advice for Your Super Bowl Party

U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing consumers with food safety and healthy eating recommendations in anticipation of Super Bowl parties that will held around the country.

Super Bowl Sunday is often recognized as the second biggest single day of food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving. Like other holidays where food plays a prominent role, food safety should be a prime consideration to ensure that gatherings are healthy and happy events.

“Football, food and friends are great American traditions and the Super Bowl brings them together on one day,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard A. Raymond. “Whenever you combine large amounts of food with a large gathering of people, there are some important items for the host and guests to remember.”

Because Super Bowl parties can last for several hours, certain foods left at room temperature for too long enter the so called "Danger Zone," between 40°F and 140°F. Raymond noted that the “Danger Zone” is the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow and multiply.

To combat the risk of foodborne illness, Raymond encouraged those who are hosting parties to learn the four key messages that are part of USDA’s Be Food Safe campaign:

Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often
Separate - Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods.
Cook - Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked. Steaks should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145°F, ground beef should be cooked to 160°F and all poultry should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Also remember to keep hot foods hot. If hot food has been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours, do not eat it.
Chill - Refrigerate or freeze promptly. Keep cold foods cold. If cold foods have been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours, do not eat it.
USDA is also encouraging football fans to make sure there are healthful and nutritious foods on the menu. While a one day splurge isn’t likely to have long-term negative health consequences, USDA reminds consumers that a healthy diet and regular exercise are the keys to good health.

“You can have a great Super Bowl Party while eating foods that are healthful, nutritious and strike the right balance,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez Johner. “What is important is to choose the foods and physical activities that are right for you.”

Montanez Johner encouraged consumers to learn more about healthful diet and exercise by visiting www.mypyramid.gov. Here you can get a quick estimate of what and how much you need to eat and the amount of physical activity you need to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Sun, Sand and Soup Bring All-Star Quarterbacks to Miami for Super Bowl XLI

All-Star quarterbacks Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles and Matt Hasselbeck of the Seattle Seahawks are known as “Campbell’s Chunky” soup “Hungry Boys” for their determination and drive on the field and their “big-hearted” spirit off the field. McNabb and Hasselbeck will be joined by their moms in Miami to announce a soup-er donation on behalf of the “Campbell’s Chunky/NFL Tackling Hunger” program – one million cans of soup to food banks nationwide! As a part of “Chunky” soup’s ongoing commitment to tackle hunger in NFL communities, Campbell will also donate 1,000 cans of “Campbell’s Chunky” soup on behalf of the Miami Dolphins to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Miami.

Super Bowl XLI marks the completion of the ninth season that Campbell and the NFL have partnered together to raise awareness about the ongoing issue of hunger in America and make direct donations to food banks across the country.

“We are honored to have Donovan McNabb, Matt Hasselbeck, and their moms, represent the ‘Chunky’ soup brand to help make a difference in the fight against hunger and finally get to do a little tackling of their own, for a good cause,” said Doug Johns, Senior Brand Manager, “Chunky” soup. “These players truly exemplify the Chunky brand - bigger-than-life, hard-working guys who are always looking out for others, especially their moms.”

The “Campbell’s Chunky/NFL Tackling Hunger” program’s road to the Super Bowl began in April at the NFL Draft, where 1,000 cans of soup were donated to Bread of Life, Inc. in Houston on behalf of Mario Williams, the first overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft. During the regular season, “Campbell’s Chunky” soup donated 1,000 cans of soup on behalf of each NFL team to a food bank in each NFL city across the country.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia weighed in, literally, to help raise important food donations for their local communities. Ben Roethlisberger and Max Starks of the Pittsburgh Steelers took part in the “Campbell’s Chunky” Soup Spoon Weigh-In with their moms, where they were all weighed in soup on an oversized soup spoon-shaped scale to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Darwin Walker and Philadelphia Eagles team mascot, SWOOP, also hopped on the scale in Philadelphia to generate donations for Philabundance. Both of these organizations are affiliated with America’s Second Harvest, which receives corporate support from Campbell.

“Campbell’s Chunky” soup also sponsored an on-line competition, “Click for Cans,” which enabled NFL fans nationwide to join in the hunger relief effort and help make a difference in their local community by casting votes for their favorite team on www.chunky.com. Green Bay Packers’ fans were crowned the “Chunky” soup “Click for Cans” champions for the fifth consecutive year, generating a soup-er win for Wisconsin area food banks – a donation of the official roster’s total weight in “Chunky” soup. The Indianapolis Colts continued their winning ways online, grabbing the “Most Improved Clicks” title and 2,006 cans of “Chunky” soup for Gleaner’s Food Bank in Indianapolis.

Hunger continues to be a very serious problem in the United States, affecting more than 38 million Americans, including nearly 14 million children, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since 1997, Campbell and the NFL have partnered together through the Campbell’s Chunky/NFL “Tackling Hunger” program to help fight hunger in America by generating much needed food donations. Now in its ninth season, the “Campbell’s Chunky/NFL Tackling Hunger” program remains committed to battling hunger and has donated more than 34 million cans of soup to hunger relief since its inception.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Countdown to Kickoff – the Great Super Bowl Economic misnomer


Super Bowl XLI is six days away, the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears is set for Sunday evening at Miami’s Dolphins Stadium. HB’s Insider Report along with Sports Business News will focus the shift of our content this week to the Super Bowl. We’ll remain on top of all the latest sports business news, but this week the world will be looking towards South Florida. Just how big an economic impact will Super Bowl XLI have on South Florida businesses? If you have NFL officials they’ll suggest a Super Bowl game generally has a financial impact of $350 million on the local economy. If you ask an economist, they’ll make one issue clear regarding the economic impact – if you ask event organizers they’ll suggest money is falling from heaven.

More than 120,000 visitors are expected to head to South Florida this week and the NFL is sticking to their stance the game will generate more than $350 million to South Florida. True but mostly false. South Florida, the last week of January, first week of February – South Florida is pretty well filled with snowbirds and tourists fleeing northern communities for the warmth of South Florida. In simplistic terms – if South Florida can’t generate close to $350 million in tourist income during the same period each year regardless of whether or not the Super Bowl is in town, there are much bigger issues in South Florida. Most hotel rooms, restaurants and tourism related businesses will be full next year during the same dates when Super Bowl XLII will be held in Phoenix.

"If you move that $400 million estimate and you move the decimal point one place to the left you're much closer to what it is that it actually provides," said Robert Baade, an economics professor at Lake Forest College in Chicago who has looked at the financial impact of Super Bowls, Olympics and World Series in an Associated Press report

"A lot of people who might frequent, let's say, hotel areas where they know Super Bowl fans are going to be staying are going to avoid the chaos, the congestion, the peak utilization of sidewalks and roads," Baade said.

And those who don’t agree with economists like Baade and are working on behalf of various Super Bowl host or organizing committees offer this retort.

"I guarantee you that 99 percent of these economists have never been to a Super Bowl and never collected data on the ground," said Kathleen Davis, executive director of the Sport Management Research Institute, who was hired by the host committee to study Super Bowl XLI's economic impact. "They're not capturing the local spending habits and they focus on whatever factors will justify their arguments."

Thursday, PricewaterhouseCoopers released an economic study that indicated (PwC) estimates that Super Bowl XLI will generate approximately $195 million in direct spending for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. This excludes the so-called “multiplier effect,” which past studies have suggested can up to double the direct dollars by accounting for "indirect" impacts, such as a concession company's purchase of goods from local producers and manufacturers, and "induced" impacts which occur when the income levels of residents rise as a result of increased economic activity and a portion of the increased income is re-spent within the local economy.

The Super Bowl continues to act as a significant generator of economic activity for its host communities. Over the past 10 years, the game itself and a variety of additional special events and related activities (including approximately six months of pre-game planning) have generated $1.5 billion in local spending.

"The success of Miami and the entire South Florida region in realizing a greater level of economic impact from the Super Bowl reflects several factors including the attraction of South Florida as a destination, the diversity of venues available for hospitality and special events, and the higher cost of hotel rooms and other goods and services,” said Robert Canton, a director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Advisory practice focused on sports, conventions, and tourism. "Although any destination will experience a significant increase in local economic activity associated with hosting a Super Bowl, tourist destinations like Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, and New Orleans provide a unique atmosphere that is conducive to a comparatively higher level of spending and extended lengths of stay."

While some analysts have suggested that a "let-down" following the event can have a negative impact on a region's hotel performance in the week following the game, research conducted by PwC in markets that have hosted the past six Super Bowls indicates this is not typical. According to Mr. Canton: "We evaluated hotel occupancy and rates in the five weeks surrounding the game and found that the two-week period following the Super Bowl performed equally well or better than the two-week period prior to the week of the game."

According to PwC, while tourist destinations such as Miami generate higher impacts than non-tourist destinations, others including Detroit last year also realize significant impacts from the Super Bowl and invest heavily to attract the game.

“While few events measure up to magnitude of the Super Bowl, Indianapolis has a great history of hosting major sporting events, including Final Fours and the annual Indianapolis 500, and with its new Lucas Oil Stadium, expanded Convention Center, and visitor-friendly downtown, it should have a real opportunity to compete for the Super Bowl event in 2011” explains Mr. Canton. “To successfully attract the Super Bowl, a destination must not only be capable of providing the venues, hotel rooms, transportation, and entertainment environment, but must also be willing to invest millions of dollars on items including public health and safety, hosting special events, recruiting and training volunteers, clean-up, and other items. Indianapolis has a history of strong commitment by its leaders to create and sustain a tourism environment based largely on major sporting events and conventions.”

The last three Super Bowls where held in Houston, Jacksonville and Detroit respectively. None are considered warm weather tourism destinations. Miami is the perfect Super Bowl city, but again a destination that is filled with tourists from early December until late April.

Jacksonville, host of Super Bowl XXXIX, organized more than 120 special events over a 10-day period culminating with their Super Bowl on February 6, 2005. NFL officials believed Jacksonville’s Super Bowl would generate over $300 million in economic impact for Florida’s First Coast region. But the rationale for Jacksonville organizers was simple – they believed hosting a Super Bowl would validate Jacksonville as a legitimate major league/mega event city.

The host committee raised more than $12 million in private funds and the city kicked in close to $3 million, as well, with $5 million in additional revenues that came back in sales tax and hotel surcharge revenue alone. Security expenses in Jacksonville topped $6 million, with those costs split between various local, county and state governments.

In 2000, Jacksonville voters approved a $2.2 billion growth management plan that helped change the face of downtown. Among the civic improvements made in the years leading up to Super Bowl XXIX: a 16,000-seat arena and minor league baseball park were built, along with a new three-mile river walking/biking/jogging trail, a library, courthouse, equestrian center, and major improvements at the zoo.

Jacksonville didn’t have enough hotel rooms within the immediate area to accommodate the 100,000 people who traveled to the city two years ago. The Jacksonville Super Bowl organizing committee charted six ocean liners and turned the rooms in the luxury liners into the additional hotel rooms they needed. The organizing committee leveraged the cruise ships by selling dinner and overnight packages on the cruise ships to local residents on Wednesday, the day before the ships were turned over to the NFL. The cost of dinner was $239 per person; overnight is $599 a couple.

Exploiting every possible money-making opportunity, the host committee sold sponsorships to stages at the downtown SuperFest, as well as naming rights to a transportation hub.

The host committee absorbed about $1.5-million to create a downtown entertainment district to make up for the scarcity of Jacksonville’s nightlife. The rationale was easy to understand – if you’re going to spend tens of millions of dollars in hosting a Super Bowl investing an additional $1.5 million in enhancing your cities night life makes perfect sense.

The 2002 Super Bowl played in New Orleans represented a serious of monumental challenges to the organizing committee and the National Football League. The first major global sports event that followed the terrible events of September 11, 2001 forced NFL officials to move the game forward one week ahead from its scheduled date. The NFL made the change after postponing their games the Sunday following Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The NFL swapped dates with another major convention -- the National Automobile Dealers Association -- paying $7.5 million (plus an additional $500,000 to the auto dealers’ charity) to move the 30,000-person convention and its 16,000 hotel room commitments (a week ahead, the original Super Bowl dates). The league even paid $5,000 each to 11 parade clubs so they could celebrate Mardi Gras a week earlier. The league also paid to move a monster truck show and several minor league hockey games.

Zenophon Abraham of Sports Business Simulations, was in Houston for Super Bowl XXXVIII, said "The Super Bowl changes that. If the viewer comes to Houston, that's an economic impact in addition to the mention of the name in the media, but is caused by that action. It's safe to say that Houston will receive about $25 million in economic impact from this source – media exposure – alone because of the two-week Super Bowl period. Add that estimate to the base estimate of $240 million, and that's a $265 million economic impact. Media marketing is about 10 percent of that total."

Dr. Bruce Seaman of Georgia State University estimated the total impact of the 2000 Super Bowl in Atlanta to be $292 million, which is the combination of the direct and indirect impacts of the spending attributed to the event.
Seaman estimated that the average out-of-town visitor to Atlanta stayed for 3.7 days, arriving on Friday and leaving the Monday after the game.

According to Seaman, each visitor to Atlanta spent an average of $350 per day, or about $375 in 2003 dollars. In Atlanta, corporations spent approximately $11.2 million. The 2004 Houston Super Bowl Host Committee anticipated corporations spent approximately $10 million. Seaman estimated media expenditures of approximately $6.5 million in Atlanta.

If the numbers from Seaman's study are adjusted to reflect differences between Houston and Atlanta and inflation during that four year period, the direct economic impact of the 2004 Super Bowl would have been $156 million. This, combined with the indirect impacts (using Seaman's 1.08 multiplier) implies a total economic impact of $324 million.

This is only 3.5 percent less than the $336 million estimate offered by the 2004 HSHC. Therefore, the HSHC's position may not be terribly overstated.

The estimated impact of the 2004 Super Bowl sounds impressive and, for some, might justify the approximately $450 million public expenditure on Reliant Stadium. However, caution is in order.

The main determinants of the estimated impact of the Super Bowl in Seaman's calculation (aside from the multiplier's value) are the length of the average visit and the per diem of the average tourist. A small change in either can cause a large change in the estimated economic impact of the Super Bowl. And that goes back to the premise made at the start of this Insider Report – South Florida would be filled with tourists this week regardless of whether or not a football game was being played Sunday at Dolphins Stadium.

That isn’t stopping some hotels from taking advantage of the opportunity. According to ESPN.com swank South Beach, the Delano Hotel is getting $1,200 to $1,875 a night for rooms, and the Setai Hotel wants $950 to $9,000 a night for suites. Spokesmen say these are their usual popular prices but acknowledge hefty minimum-stay requirements -- five nights at the Delano and seven nights at the Setai. It's becoming as much a South Florida tradition as Uzis -- the Art Basel crowd also cried "price-gouging" -- and the NFL is not amused.

The league has sued three hotels, alleging they reneged on contracts to provide the league rooms at a certain rate to pursue higher-rate customers. "There are those who see a chance to do a year's worth of business in a weekend and would like to take a shot at stepping away [from their contract]," says Frank Supovitz, who as the NFL's senior vice president for events is the league's Super Bowl honcho.

To Supovitz, it isn't so much that business execs passed up Detroit altogether, but that they passed less time there. "They came, but not necessarily for four days," he says. "A number of corporate clients came in just for the day." (One day as opposed to four dramatically has a negative affect on the economic impact).

Robert Tuchman, whose TSE Sports & Entertainment has sold about 1,000 Super Bowl XLI packages, after only selling 350 packages for Detroit’s Super Bowl XL.

"The blue-chip companies that cut back after 9/11 are starting to do more again," he says. "There's also been a revival on Wall Street, which has driven a lot of our business."

Economists Robert Baade and Victor Matheson told The Miami Herald estimates of the Super Bowl's benefits are almost hopelessly overstated. The men studied Super Bowls from 1970-2001.

Their conclusion: ''Evidence from host cities from 1970-2001 indicates the Super Bowl contributes approximately one-quarter of what the boosters have promised.''

In Miami, it was even lower. Super Bowl XXXIII (or 33) produced one-tenth the anticipated economic gain, they found.

Of course, there are non-monetary benefits. For instance, the host committee notes that much of its projected economic impact comes from ''exposure that leads to increased tourism and business relocation.''

Peter Roby, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society in Boston, told the Associated Press he believes the estimates relating to the Super Bowl’s economic impact are probably somewhat inflated "because people are trying to justify why they want to bring that particular event to the city." However, Roby stills calls the event a "major economic catalyst" that could provide benefits for the community and charities.

Organizers want to say, "Not only did we put our full face out to the public to see, but we used some of the revenue from this event to benefit some of those things," Roby said.

Is it worthwhile to host a Super Bowl, that’s a rhetorical question. Of course it’s great to host a Super Bowl event but it’s important to appreciate when a Chamber of Commerce or a local Super Bowl Host Committee extols the financial benefits of hosting a Super Bowl. It’s essential to consider all of the financial variables in determining the true economic impact of events like the Super Bowl.

For Sports Business News this is Howard Bloom. Sources cited and used in this Insider Report: ESPN.com, the Associated Press and The Miami Herald

New Survey Reveals Men’s Super Bowl Rituals

Super Bowl XLI is just around the corner and from coast to coast, men are in the final days of preparation and training – getting ready to take the field. But it’s not just the players who are preparing. According to a new Coors Light survey of more than 2,500 adult male football fans, preparing for Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most important priorities of the year. Survey results show that a large percentage (44 percent) of men put more time and energy into making Super Bowl plans than making Valentine’s Day plans. The survey also shows that more than 30 percent of survey respondents would rather see their favorite team win the Super Bowl than win a date with a supermodel, win a year’s supply of beer or win their fantasy football league for three years in a row.

The survey also revealed that the winner of the game isn’t the only thing on men’s minds – beer is also a top priority on Super Bowl Sunday. While roughly 35 percent of those surveyed said their male friends are the ideal Super Bowl companions, 24 percent said all they need is an ice cold beer, preferably at a temperature as cold as the Rocky Mountains (45 percent).

The creative ways football fans chill their beer prior to the big game include putting it in the snow outside, floating it in a stream and filling their washing machines or bathtubs with ice.

“Coors Light's sponsorship of the National Football League allows us to be part of adult fans’ football rituals from the Super Bowl to the NFL Draft to the season kickoff,” said Sara Mirelez, Coors Light brand director, Coors Brewing Company. “This survey shows that one of the most important parts of an adult fan's Super Bowl ritual is ice cold beer. With products like the Plastic Bottle Cooler Box, Coors Light makes it easy for guys to enjoy refreshing cold beer without missing a minute of the game."

In addition to revealing football fans’ feelings about the Super Bowl, the Coors Light survey also exposed respondents’ Super Bowl rituals such as playing a touch football game prior to the game, watching the commercials and voting on the best ads, wearing team colors and taking the next day off work.

Other findings from the survey include:

More than 83 percent of men cheer for the underdog if their team is not in the Super Bowl.
Football fans rarely get off the couch during the game and when they do it is only to use the restroom (67 percent), get something to eat (55 percent) or get an ice cold beer (35 percent).

If respondents must tear their eyes away from the television set, 65 percent would rather miss the commercials than the actual game.

William “The Refrigerator” Perry Sacks Las Vegas for Super Bowl

On Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 4, former Chicago Bear William “The Refrigerator” Perry and Carfax are bringing an all-out blitz on Las Vegas to raise funds for Opportunity Village. While the Bears are in Miami for Super Bowl XLI, Mr. Perry will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center with Carfax from 11:00am – 2pm. The event takes place in conjunction with the 90th Annual National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Exposition.

“Opportunity Village contributes so much to this community and this is our way of giving something back to our gracious hosts – the city of Las Vegas,” said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. “And with the Bears in the Super Bowl, having The Fridge join us definitely raises the level of anticipation for this event. We hope it’s a sure touchdown.”

Opportunity Village serves people with intellectual disabilities by providing them with vocational training, community employment and social recreation services that make their lives more productive and interesting. Since its inception in 1954, Opportunity Village has grown to become Nevada’s largest private, not-for-profit community rehabilitation program, serving more than 3,000 people annually.

William “The Refrigerator” Perry was a key member of the 1985 Chicago Bears team that won Super Bowl XX and also helped record the infamous “Super Bowl Shuffle”. Mr. Perry will be available for interviews immediately following the fundraising event. To schedule an interview, please contact Christopher Basso at (703) 934-2664.

Cingular Wireless Beefs Up Network for Super Bowl XLI

The Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears aren't the only ones preparing for Super Bowl XLI. Cingular Wireless, now a part of the new AT&T, has spent the past six months planning for the big event.

"A huge event like the Super Bowl, where nearly 100,000 people converge onto an area the size of a few city blocks, requires monumental efforts," said Rich Guidotti, vice president and general manager for AT&T's South Florida wireless operations. "Our network team has gone above and beyond to ensure our customers have the best wireless experience possible under the circumstances."

Typically, most carriers only use a portion of their spectrum in geographical areas. But AT&T's wireless unit is using its entire South Florida 70 megahertz spectrum in Dolphin Stadium and the surrounding areas, where the company anticipates a spike in network traffic. The company's network team has set up two cell sites on wheels, or "COWs", in the stadium parking lot; added dozens of voice channels to its two cell sites located inside the stadium; and maximized its high-speed 3G (third generation) capacity in the area, making it possible to process thousands of calls and data sessions with peak data speeds above three megabits per second. Capacity also has been added at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel and along Ocean Drive in South Beach where some of the Super Bowl week activities will be held.

Additionally, AT&T's wireless unit will have network personnel on site for game day to monitor the network and manually balance traffic on the cell sites at the stadium in order to maximize the ability for customers to make calls.

"We saw a 30 percent increase in usage on our Jacksonville network last year during the week of Super Bowl XL, which resulted in about six million additional minutes of usage on the network," said Mark Austin, executive director of AT&T's South Florida wireless network. "We anticipate a similar experience here in Miami."

AT&T invested $165 million in its South Florida wireless network last year -- $400 million statewide -- upgrading and expanding service, which included the rollout of its high-speed 3G (third generation) network. The company's 3G network allows customers to download at average data speeds between 400-700 Kbps (kilobits per second) on the downlink, with bursts to more than a megabit per second.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Salesgenie.com buys into Super Bowl XLI


infoUSA® a provider of sales leads and mailing lists, today announced a multi-million dollar advertising campaign launching its new Salesgenie.com service during television's biggest event of the year -- Super Bowl XLI, which will be broadcast on Sunday, February 4 on the CBS Television Network. The deal includes a 30 second spot to air during the first half of the game, as well as being the presenting sponsor of the pre-game broadcast: THE SUPER BOWL TODAY PRESENTED BY SALESGENIE.COM, which will air from 5:30-6:00 PM, ET.

The Salesgenie.com campaign marks the first time infoUSA has used the Super Bowl to advertise, and guarantees the new product -- a subscription service providing salespeople and small businesses unlimited access to sales leads, mailing lists and business credit reports -- exposure to more than 140 million viewers who watch the game each year.

"There is no bigger audience available to an advertiser today than the Super Bowl, and we're using this incredible platform to launch Salesgenie.com to a huge portion of the sales and small business community who will be watching the game," said Vin Gupta, infoUSA Chairman and CEO. "While we're employing a bold, creative strategy in buying time during the Super Bowl, we've got a simple and clear message that will resonate with every business owner, sales executive or entrepreneur. We're incredibly excited to be part of this national pastime, and we believe the exposure we'll get more than pays for itself."

The commercial was conceived and produced in-house, and can be seen online at www.salesgenie.com/tv. Visitors to the site can also take advantage of trial offers and discounted pricing for the Salesgenie.com service, as well as submit ideas for its next Super Bowl commercial, and the winning idea will receive a prize.

"I will read every Super Bowl idea," says Gupta.

Salesgenie.com is a subscription service providing salespeople and small businesses unlimited access to sales leads, mailing lists and business credit reports in order to find more customers and increase sales. Users can search infoUSA's 12 databases to build targeted prospecting lists, preview the names, download, create direct mail campaigns, and get driving directions and maps. In addition, they can use the built-in contact manager to store names, set reminders and manage the sales pipeline.

The must attend Playboy Super Bowl XLI party

For the eighth consecutive year, Playboy will throw the most exclusive party in town during Miami's highly-anticipated Super Bowl weekend. "P.M.: Playboy Miami After Dark" will be held at the American Airlines Arena on Saturday, February 3, 2007. The annual Super Saturday Night event will be hosted by "The King of Crunk" Lil Jon and 30 Playboy Bedtime Bunnies, and promises to be the sexiest soiree in South Florida.

Celebrities, athletes and VIPs will be treated to a dream-filled evening as Beverly Bond and DJ Reach spin the tunes on a dance floor surrounded by cabanas. Partygoers' sexiest dreams will come to life with after dark surprises that include a seductive aerialist, a stargazing lounge, midnight munchies, a bedtime story area filled with pillow-fighting models, a stiletto seduction bar, and more.

Sponsors for Playboy's Super Saturday Night event include Miller Lite(R), the great tasting, less filling, original light beer; Cuervo Black(R), a new signature blend of Tequila perfect for mixing with cola or drinking on the rocks; and PlayStation(R)3, this year's hottest computer entertainment system from Sony Computer Entertainment America. Additional sponsors include Dodge, Vonage, and Greater Fort Lauderdale. Partygoers will have a chance to challenge Playboy Playmates to a selection of PlayStation3 games while enjoying Cuervo Black beverages and Miller Lite beers. VIP guests will arrive at the after dark event in vehicles provided by Dodge. All sponsors will be integrated into the event through creative and unique decor elements.

For the sixth consecutive year, the evening will feature a silent auction to raise money for charity. Two organizations will benefit from this year's auction, sponsored by TicketCity.com: Athletes Helping Kids, a charity that funds programs with a direct impact on the well-being of our country's youth and focuses on the importance of education and substance abuse awareness; and A Touch of Braille, Inc., an organization that promotes the role of communication skills, especially knowledge of Braille, in increasing the independence and the successful employment potential of people who are blind or visually impaired. Items for this year's auction include tickets to Hugh Hefner's Midsummer Night's Dream Party at the Playboy Mansion, a spectacular array of autographed sports memorabilia from various superstars, tickets to the 2007 Florida State v. Florida game, and much more.

Last year's Super Saturday Night silent auction raised more than $100,000 for Athlete's Helping Kids and the Kanye West Foundation. Celebrities and athletes such as Kanye West, Usher, Jaime Pressly, Adrian Grenier, Niki Taylor, Marcus Allen, Matt Leinart, Champ Bailey, and Julius Jones attended Playboy's aviation-themed bash, "Eight Mile High Club," in Detroit last February.

Coca-Cola back in the Super Bowl for the first time in a long time

Big ads deserve big audiences. In an unprecedented move, the newest commercials for Coca-Cola are airing on two of television's most watched programs -- the broadcast of Super Bowl XLI on CBS and AMERICAN IDOL on FOX.

Two "Coke Side of Life" commercials, "Video Game" and "Happiness Factory," will join the ranks of television's most anticipated advertising broadcast as millions tune in to watch the telecast of Super Bowl XLI on Sunday, February 4 on CBS. "Video Game" first aired on the season premiere of AMERICAN IDOL on FOX and "Happiness Factory" makes its debut on tonight's episode of the popular show. Last week's season opener was the highest rated premiere in AMERICAN IDOL's six seasons.

A new Coca-Cola ad developed specifically for football's biggest game will also air during the broadcast.

"Both 'Video Game' and 'Happiness Factory' are larger-than-life ads, so we think it's only fitting that we share them with the massive viewing audiences that make the Super Bowl and AMERICAN IDOL television's ultimate appointment programming," said Sandy Douglas, president, Coca-Cola North America. "We also look forward to surprising viewers with a special new ad that will debut during the game."

"Video Game" offers a positive twist on traditional video game plots which often feature characters causing mayhem. In this ad, the hero spreads happiness and optimism by passing out Coca-Cola to people he encounters as he moves through the city streets. "Happiness Factory" provides a fanciful glimpse inside a Coca-Cola vending machine and follows a bottle of Coke on its surprising journey to the vendor's exit door. Both ads remind people that Coca-Cola is the world's most delicious and refreshing beverage.

"Coca-Cola belongs to consumers everywhere, and if we can make watching the world's favorite entertainment and sports broadcasts a little bit more fun with the world's favorite brand, then we will be there," said Katie Bayne, senior vice president, Coca-Cola brands, Coca-Cola North America.

Immediately after the broadcast of Super Bowl XLI on CBS, all Coca-Cola ads that aired during the game will be available for viewing on cbssportsline.com and on the homepage of mycokerewards.com.

Before their "small screen" launches on AMERICAN IDOL, both ads made their "big screen" debut in theaters across the U.S. "Happiness Factory" has also been posted online on peer-to-peer content sharing websites, generating impressive awareness in some unusual places. As an example, according to proprietary Coca-Cola research, the ad has an 11% awareness score among Belgian teens -- even though the ad has not aired in Belgium.

Both commercials will also be part of a fully integrated marketing program designed to extend their themes to the digital world. Special rewards based on imagery from each ad will be offered through My Coke Rewards, the popular online mega-rewards program. Some rewards will also connect mycokerewards.com with Mycoke.com, the online environment where Coca-Cola drinkers hang out, socialize, play games, and create their own virtual worlds in Coke Studios.

By constantly expanding the rewards pool and offering exclusive items tied to programs like AMERICAN IDOL, NCAA basketball, the Academy Awards and now new advertising, to date almost 3.5 million members have claimed more than 1.6 million rewards at mycokerewards.com.

She's back for a Pizza Hut Super Bowl spot

America’s Favorite Pizza, announced the reuniting of two stars - Jessica Simpson and Cheesy Bites Pizza®. The innovative pizza sensation returns with 28 pullable, poppable cheese-filled bites that form the pull-apart crust of a large pizza. Jessica Simpson will reprise her role in a Pizza Hut pre-game commercial on Feb. 4 to celebrate the pizza’s comeback.

Cheesy Bites Pizza was first introduced in February 2006 and became an instant fan hit. During its limited promotion, Cheesy Bites Pizza produced record sales for the world's largest pizza restaurant, making it the most successful new product introduction in the company’s history.

Pizza Hut fans voiced their desire to bring Cheesy Bites Pizza back and the creative pizza will make its comeback this year. Cheesy Bites Pizza will once again be available for a limited time, just in time for football fans to share and enjoy during the big game.

“Cheesy Bites Pizza was such a huge hit last year with customers of all ages, so we wanted to give everyone another chance to enjoy the pullable, poppable fun,” said Bill Ogle, Pizza Hut chief marketing officer. "The big game is the perfect time to enjoy our innovative pizza with friends and family, and we’re excited to have Jessica Simpson help us bring the pizza back. Pizza Hut - America's Favorite Pizza - is dedicated to giving pizza fans more of what they want."

Big Game Blitz

Throughout the day on Sunday, February 4, Pizza Hut will air two new ads that feature the return of Cheesy Bites Pizza. In the first spot, people hear a popping sound signaling the beloved pizza is back and form a herd running through the streets in pursuit of the Cheesy Bites Pizza.

The companion spot features the herd passing Jessica Simpson on the red carpet at a movie premiere. The new spots, created by BBDO, will air pre-game giving customers the chance to call in their orders before the football action begins.

Additionally, viewers can look for a hidden code in both ads for a chance to win prizes, such as a new car, an entertainment package or pizza for a year. Once the code is spotted in the ad, viewers use their cell phones to text the code to “THEHUT” (843488) and they’ll be entered for a chance to win.

Cheesy Bites Pizza - Incredibly Irresistible

The Cheesy Bites Pizza is designed to give customers the experience of pulling and popping the irresistible cheese-filled bites into their mouths before digging into the pizza slices. The 28 cheesy bites are individually wrapped in dough and lightly seasoned with garlic butter flavor on the outside, then baked to a golden brown. The cheese bites are connected to surround the pizza and take the place of a traditional crust edge.

For a limited time, Cheesy Bites Pizza is available for $11.99 for a large one-topping pizza. Customers can order Cheesy Bites Pizza as of January 29 at participating Pizza Hut locations with advertising beginning on Sunday, February 4.

Snapple heading to the Super Bowl for the first time

Snapple, maker of the Best Stuff on Earth, will showcase the metabolism-boosting powers of its Green Tea in a 30-second spot airing during the biggest game on Earth -- Super Bowl XLI. The ad is Snapple's first to air during the Super Bowl and celebrates its new super premium line of Red, White, Green and Black teas.

The commercial, created by Cliff Freeman & Partners, follows a tea-loving pilgrim on his quest for metabolic enlightenment, and highlights EGCG, the natural antioxidant in Snapple Green Tea which has been proven to help boost metabolism. It will air during the fourth quarter of the game.

"We're using this opportunity as a first-time Super Bowl advertiser to deliver the 'good for you' message in a humorous way," said Bryan Mazur, VP of Marketing for Snapple. "Consumers want teas with authentic taste, pure ingredients and real, functional benefits. Even our approach to advertising is real -- we didn't shoot our commercials on a back lot in Hollywood -- this Green Tea spot was shot on location in China, and we traveled to Thailand and Africa for our White and Red Tea spots."

Snapple is the leader in the ready-to-drink tea category, and is known for its extensive variety of delicious flavors. The new super premium line of Snapple teas brings together great taste and health benefits. Snapple Green Tea deliciously complements the Super Bowl smorgasbord by boosting metabolism. Snapple White Tea, the Lightest Tea on Earth, offers a delicate, refreshing flavor thanks to the baby tea leaves from which it is made. Snapple Red Tea, naturally caffeine-free and made from the Rooibos plant, contains protective antioxidants and Vitamin C, which contributes to a healthy immune system -- especially helpful in cold climes like Chicago and Indianapolis. Building on the success of these premium teas, the company plans to launch a new line of classic black teas in March.

"Snapple created the ready-to-drink iced tea category as it is known today," said Mazur. "Snapple super premium teas reflect current consumer desires for natural beverages with real quality and real benefits."

Snapple's super premium line of White, Green and Red Teas is available at major retailers, grocery and convenience stores nationwide in a 17.5 ounce bottle for a suggested retail price of $1.39. Green Tea flavors include regular and diet Original, Mango and Asian Pear; Red Tea flavors include Mixed Berry, Peach Pomegranate and Mandarin Tangerine; and White Tea is available in Green Apple, Nectarine and Raspberry flavors. To learn more about Snapple visit www.snapple.com.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Super Bowl in Miami May Draw Record $195 Million in Spending

South Florida businesses can expect to see a record amount of spending by the National Football League (NFL), businesses, visitors, and the media on area lodging, transportation, food and beverage, entertainment, business services, and other hospitality activities according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PwC estimates that Super Bowl XLI will generate approximately $195 million in direct spending for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. This excludes the so-called “multiplier effect,” which past studies have suggested can up to double the direct dollars by accounting for "indirect" impacts, such as a concession company's purchase of goods from local producers and manufacturers, and "induced" impacts which occur when the income levels of residents rise as a result of increased economic activity and a portion of the increased income is re-spent within the local economy.

The Super Bowl continues to act as a significant generator of economic activity for its host communities. Over the past 10 years, the game itself and a variety of additional special events and related activities (including approximately six months of pre-game planning) have generated $1.5 billion in local spending.

The following graphic illustrates the direct spending associated with the event, dating back to the 1998 Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego. Unlike Houston, Jacksonville and Detroit, which experienced declining direct spending due primarily to lower hotel room rates and/or limited room supply as well as a shorter overall length-of-stay per visitor, South Florida's appeal as a destination and established hotel market is expected to contribute to a rebound in direct spending.This year's event is estimated to generate a level of spending more consistent with prior Super Bowls in San Diego, Tampa, New Orleans, and the region's last game in 1999.

"The success of Miami and the entire South Florida region in realizing a greater level of economic impact from the Super Bowl reflects several factors including the attraction of South Florida as a destination, the diversity of venues available for hospitality and special events, and the higher cost of hotel rooms and other goods and services,” said Robert Canton, a director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Advisory practice focused on sports, conventions, and tourism. "Although any destination will experience a significant increase in local economic activity associated with hosting a Super Bowl, tourist destinations like Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, and New Orleans provide a unique atmosphere that is conducive to a comparatively higher level of spending and extended lengths of stay."

While some analysts have suggested that a "let-down" following the event can have a negative impact on a region's hotel performance in the week following the game, research conducted by PwC in markets that have hosted the past six Super Bowls indicates this is not typical. According to Mr. Canton: "We evaluated hotel occupancy and rates in the five weeks surrounding the game and found that the two-week period following the Super Bowl performed equally well or better than the two-week period prior to the week of the game."

According to PwC, while tourist destinations such as Miami generate higher impacts than non-tourist destinations, others including Detroit last year also realize significant impacts from the Super Bowl and invest heavily to attract the game.

“While few events measure up to magnitude of the Super Bowl, Indianapolis has a great history of hosting major sporting events, including Final Fours and the annual Indianapolis 500, and with its new Lucas Oil Stadium, expanded Convention Center, and visitor-friendly downtown, it should have a real opportunity to compete for the Super Bowl event in 2011” explains Mr. Canton. “To successfully attract the Super Bowl, a destination must not only be capable of providing the venues, hotel rooms, transportation, and entertainment environment, but must also be willing to invest millions of dollars on items including public health and safety, hosting special events, recruiting and training volunteers, clean-up, and other items. Indianapolis has a history of strong commitment by its leaders to create and sustain a tourism environment based largely on major sporting events and conventions.”

If Indianapolis is successful in securing the event in 2011, an analysis of the potential economic impact of the Super Bowl indicates that the region would attract approximately 98,000 visitors and experience direct spending of approximately $131 million. Assuming the "multiplier effect" from past studies, this would result in a total economic impact to the region of up to approximately $262 million.