Today’s guest columnist is John Brody, Learfield’s Chief Revenue Officer.
Timing is everything in life.
Currently, the college sports industry is in the midst of a historic and mind-blowing transformation, as it is developing at breakneck speed, accelerated by COVID-19. Timing is important, as is one’s ability to take advantage of the opportunity they can present.
How has timing played a role in my career? I have been very fortunate to have learned and grown in wonderful places at turning times in their history. Whether it’s America’s obsession with the McGwire/Sosa home run and the creation and execution of the All-Century team in Major League Baseball, or the historic sale of the Boston Celtics franchise to a group of excited local kids. This pattern was also reflected in my football experience, which included securing the iconic MetLife stadium naming rights partnership for the jets and giants and positioning the Microsoft Surface on these sidelines. In WWE, I had the honor to be a part of the epic global ascent of the women’s division, heralded by Rudy Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair.
Throughout this trip, I’ve found it’s best to have a plan and focus on the core principles that really matter. For me, the most important factors include: 1) Is the content relevant to the consumer now and in the future? 2) Is the leadership committed? 3) Can I make a real difference in my league? As I begin my role as Learfield’s Chief Revenue Officer, I believe this is the most impactful opportunity of my career. Why Lairfield, why college, and why now?
Over the past year, we’ve seen a disastrous transformation of the college sports landscape. There has been a change that will have lasting effects for decades, from the NIL to the distribution of content to the reorganization of the conference to the new rules associated with moving portals. We’ve also seen a global pandemic, forcing fans and collectors alike to adjust their habits and lifestyle. While fans’ passion for their school is timeless, what is contained and off limits and how they consume content has changed.
The power of compelling content shapes how we look at the present and the future at Learfield. Not only are more games in more sports for women and men, it’s new areas like esports and greater access to what it really means to be a student-athlete. Cameras, or iPhones, are everywhere, and fans want them that way. They want to see downtime as well as play time, providing full access to their school and student-athletes.
College sports marketing is no longer limited to revitalizing traditional games. He is now connected 24/7/365. Thanks to today’s technology, fans can get what they want, when and where they want.
College is authentic and touches us all in deep and wonderful ways. Where else can you find passion and a true fan base from cradle to grave? Where else is a bumper sticker, face painting, or fight song a reality instead of a marketing manager’s dream? Pep parades and big game parties were invented in college, and perfected on campus. College sports fans represent the largest fan base in the United States, boasting more fans than the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL with 180 million worldwide. To view the data, I encourage you to read the Learfield Intercollegiate Fan Report compiled by our team.
Learfield is well located, serving as the “front door” for college athletics. Our company is not only the multimedia rights holders of Georgia and Alabama, who will compete in the college football game for the title Monday night, but we also play the same role for Montana State and North Dakota, the FCS finalists on Monday. Saturday.
While we are known to make our mark in traditional multimedia rights, not many realize that we are helping unlock the powerful fan data that has enabled universities to better understand the habits and behaviors of more than 30 million well-known fans, and more than 100 million others browsing official athletics websites and apps. for us fan base The solution—a fan-focused data and analytics platform—enables partner schools to increase engagement and unlock ways to generate more revenue. fan base It was so successful in its first year that our schools saw a threefold increase in participation and thought and intent to buy doubled.
What a time for brands to join college sports. Nothing, digital/social transformation, and access to the country’s most rabid fans have led to more creativity and innovation. We were at the center of the historic football stadium naming rights deal between cryptocurrency brand FTX and Cal. We’ve created new assets on the field for Dewalt, the world’s largest instrument brand, which entered the college sports space for the first time this season with co-branded in-stadium football seating at 25 top schools across the U.S.
I am passionate about creating and implementing branding programs that interest consumers and reflect positively on our university partners. The level of development, opportunities, and access to college have evolved, and now it’s time to really compete against other sports leagues. I’m looking forward to the challenge, because of course timing is everything.
Prior to joining Learfield, Brody held executive positions with WWE, NFL, Major League Baseball, Wasserman and Boston Celtics.