By Rick Horrow
Podcast editor: Tanner Simkins
LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE
- In its eighth consecutive installment, The POWER 100 , Horrow Sports Ventures’ proprietary annual ranking of the most powerful athletes in sports, uses a complex statistical model to accurately compare performance and influence through on-field (50%) and off-field (50%) attributes. Athletes are then ranked based on POWER to find the TOP 100. Among interesting results: Serena Williams is not ranked for the first time ever. Her performance slowed after taking some time to start a family, and some controversial moments may have hurt her brand. Expect a strong bounce back once she’s back on schedule. Tom Brady (14), in the cusp of playing in yet another Super Bowl, has hit his highest ranking in recent memory, a nearly 54 place increase since last year. And the stellar play of NBA’er Giannis Antetokounmpo continued on the court and has paid dividends off the court as well, as he placed 8th. Top endorsement earners were Roger Federer (12) taking home $58 million in off court sponsorships and LeBron James (10) with $56 million. The highest place rookie from any sport is quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who finished 20th in the rankings and came within minutes of reaching the Super Bowl on Sunday.
- More brands are “tangling with political and social issues in their advertising campaigns.” However, most Americans “would rather they don’t try the same thing during the Super Bowl,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Viewers are “likely to get what they want.” The WSJ poll shows two-thirds of consumers “call the Super Bowl an inappropriate place for advertisers to make political statements.” Baby boomers in the poll “disapproved of political Super Bowl advertisements more, at 77%, than younger cohorts such as millennials (55%) and Generation Z (43%).” Only 35% of Generation Z respondents “called political Super Bowl ads ‘very’ or 'somewhat’ appropriate.” The Super Bowl has “featured political ads before, most notably” in Super Bowl LI, which “took place soon after President Trump’s inauguration.” A year later, Super Bowl LII was “less overtly political, but still included” a Coca-Cola ad promoting unity, a T-Mobile USA Inc. diversity theme, and a Dodge Ram Trucks spot using audio of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in an ad that promoted public service. Marketers have not "shown any inclination to charge into hard-core politics or social controversies” during Super Bowl LIII. However, with the country as divided as it is, themes imploring diversity, unity, and inclusion will no doubt make their way into the February 3 broadcast.
- Golf also got some encouraging news this week from the market research firm NPD Group, which reported that the golf market “has not only recuperated but experienced a significant uptick in sales” in the past 12 months, resulting in an 8% year-over-year increase up to $2.6 billion. “The macro environment for golf has been in a turbulent state, fueled by Golfsmith’s bankruptcy, major brands cutting back on their golf business, and courses closing. But today, we’re starting to see normalization in the market as those deep holes are now being filled,” said Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor of the NPD Group. The industry saw increases across every product category. Clubs, which make up 50% of the category, grew by 7%, while equipment accessories such as balls (6% increase), gloves (7% increase), accessories (21% increase), and training aids (13%) also made positive strides in 2018. Callaway, Titleist, and Wilson were the fastest-growing brands among the top-10, joining TaylorMade and PING as the other two members of the top-5. With Baby Boomers retiring every day, great opportunity exists to introduce thousands of new retirees to golf. Combine that with a good economy, Tiger’s resurgence, and thrilling up and comers in the game and you have the makings of a stable industry.
With days to go until they open the 2019 AFL season, the Washington Valor finalized its opening day roster and Josh Norman's older brother, Marrio made the cut, the team announced Monday.
Norman came over from the Albany Empire, where he was second in the league in tackles with 68.5. He had his best game of the season last against the Valor, in which he racked up 10 solo tackles and two interceptions - one of which he returned for a touchdown.
“Marrio Norman is a proven, impact defensive back and plays a style of football that fits what we want to do on the defensive end of the ball,” Valor head coach Benji McDowell said in a statement last month. “Marrio provides an immediate upgrade to a position that saw a lot of injuries for us last season. We’re excited to have him here.”
Along with Norman, the Valor added defensive lineman Leon Mackey, who is in his third season in the AFL after spending 2014 and 2016 with the Arizona Rattlers.
Quarterback and ArenaBowl XXXI Most Valuable Player Arvell Nelson, defensive lineman James Atoe, who has appeared in 17 games over the last two seasons and offensive lineman Anthony Parker, who started all nine games last season and was named First Team All Arena in 2017 all return to the Valor this season. While wideout Dezmon Epps, defensive lineman Malik Forrester, defensive back Jadar Johnson and offensive lineman Kasimili Uitalia will see their first action in the AFL this season for the Valor.
The Valor open the 2019 season on the road against the Baltimore Brigade on April 26.
MORE AFL NEWS:
By Rick Horrow
Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins
TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE
- Heads up! This year, Minor League Baseball fans might notice new digital screens and displays at their favorite stadiums. Together with ISM Connect, over 25 MiLB teams will be adding new smart displays to their ballparks. But beyond delivering unique stories and creative ads to fans during each game, these displays are also equipped with smart cameras to measure audience engagement. These smart cameras will help keep ads and content fresh. The cameras record anonymous interactions – how long someone watches the screen or their age range – not individual images of specific people. By measuring foot traffic and engagement, MiLB teams and ad sponsors can better understand who their fans are, what resonates with them, and how they’re experiencing each game. The result is a better, more engaging experience for fans, and a better way for teams and partners to learn how to best serve their loyal audience.
- The Boston Marathon passes $200 million in economic impact, and welcomes seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to its field. This year’s Boston Marathon, held Monday April 15 and carried on NBCSports Network, will be the 123rd running of the race that winds its way 26.2 miles from the town of Hopkinton to the finish line at Copley Square. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon, starting in 1897 after the successful debut of the marathon at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The Boston Marathon is traditionally held on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April. The Boston Red Sox also have a traditional home game on Patriots Day with an 11:05 a.m. first pitch against the Orioles this year. Boston is among the six largest marathons, along with Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. A special prize purse is given to runners who accumulate the most points in the majors. Here’s a bit of trivia: Just five national sporting events were held during the two World Wars, and the Boston Marathon was one. The others? The Kentucky Derby, Penn Relays, Rose Parade, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
- La Liga, Spanish soccer’s top-flight league, has been named the eighth biggest brand domestically, according to a report by valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. The report places La Liga above major Spanish brands such as the insurance provider Mapfre and telecommunications company Movistar. Using its brand strength score metric, a figure based on calculations regarding emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, Brand Finance gave La Liga a score of 80.7 out of 100. Fashion retailer Zara topped the Brand Finance list overall, with the likes of Santander and Iberdrola also featuring inside its top ten. The new 2019 report marks the first time a sports league has appeared in Brand Finance’s top ten, highlighting the continued growth of La Liga. Brand Finance values the league body at $548 million. Based on monetary value along it occupies 50th place on the list, a considerable drop. However, taking into account the value of participating league clubs – which includes the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – La Liga’s overall value jumps to $4.5 billion, which would place it sixth on that list.