Navigate Research

Industry Insights

As the industry leader in evaluating and measuring marketing investments, Navigate has a wealth of knowledge in the sponsorship and marketing space. This blog shares our knowledge and insights on current events in the sports business, marketing and sponsorship worlds.

NFL Military Appreciation Day...For a Price

Navigate Research - Thursday, May 14, 2015
While #DeflateGate has been the face of all sports news lately, the topic of the U.S. military paying for tributes at sporting events, particularly in the NFL, has certainly not gone unnoticed. Recently, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake expressed his disapproval of using government military funds to publicly thank soldiers for their service at sporting events. When you put it that way, it does seem rather unnapreciative and disrepectful, but is that actually the case and reasoning for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to associate with an NFL team? Are NFL teams really that cutthroat when it comes to making money that they won't even honor our country's soldiers without compensation? 

When the business agreements between the military and NFL teams are broken down, that is not exactly the case. Sports Business Daily recently posted an article revealing the amount of revenue teams have received from the National Guard over the past 3 years with the Atlanta Falcons coming out on top at over $1 million. Additionally, National Guard Maj. Earl Brown said that the organization is to invest $1.266M to NFL advertising during the 2015 fiscal year alone. He states the purpose of this investment is to aid the organization in the recruitment process through advertising, signage, and website presence. 



This may be the missing piece in this issue. Teams are not being paid specifically to honor their "Hometown Heroes" or honor deceased soldiers. Atlanta Falcon's owner Arthur Blank's position in this debate mirrors the idea that this agreement is to be beneficial for both parties involved, as in any business transaction. The Atlanta Falcons, along with many other NFL teams, are paid to advertise in conjunction with the military's recruiting efforts, not to only show support to U.S. military soldiers. Many teams have argued that action would occur without being paid to do so. 

While money is being spent in order to advertise with the NFL teams, it is not used for what is to be a genuine appreciation for soldiers' service. Once people can fully understand the impact that sports sponsorships have on military organizations, the more at ease people may become with the military's decision to invest in sports sponsorship. At Navigate Research, we can assist in the understanding of the ROI and impact of sponsorships and aid in making smart and effective marketing investments. Let us help your organization or brand. 

Sponsorship Activation Monday 5.4.15

Navigate Research - Monday, May 04, 2015

As what is said to be 2015's biggest weekends in sports, this past weekend was a sport fan's dream with baseball, basketball, horse racing and, of course, the "The Fight of the Century." However, if you are involved in the sports business industry, particularly sponsorships/advertising, this weekend went beyond what was on the court, field, or ring. Some marketing ploys may not seem quite as obvious to the casual sports fan. However, sports marketers can often times catch a brand's clever product placement. So which brands really stood out in "The Fight of the Century?" 

If you wanted to partake in any Monday morning office conversation, you likely watched the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight, even if you have never watched a boxing match before. In that case, there is no way you missed Tecate's presence throughout the entire fight. As the presenting sponsor, the beer brand's logo was plastered not only all over the ring, but all over Las Vegas. Additionally, Tecate heavily activated their $5.6M sponsorship digitally with their #MyBoldOpinion Twitter campaign. While this campaign was ultimately used by fans to voice their opinions on who would win the fight, the hashtag was used by anyone who had a general bold opinion to share via Twitter.  




As sports marketers, we tend to pay closer attention to other sponsors who paid big bucks to be associated with this event including Hublot, Fan Duel, Asian Airlines, Verizon and Geico. Remember any of these? Mayweather's and Pacquiao's shorts may be a great place to start, but the others may not be as obvious. For those who follow Manny Pacquiao on Twitter, it may seem as if he loved taking selfies. Little do most fans know, this was actually clever paid advertising by Verizon, utilizing Paquiao. In his selfie posts, he used the hastag #GalaxyS6, as well as used the actual phone to take the pictures. In addition to Verizon's clever product placement, Geico made an appearance on the headband of one of Pacquiao's entourage members. Interestingly, he was was the only member wearing the Geico logo-ed headband, likely not by accident. 

You may have, also, noticed a large difference in the number of logos on Pacquiao's shorts versus Mayweather's. While Pacquiao had logos splattered across his shorts, Mayweather's had only two that most people who paid close enough attention could recall: Hublot and Fan Duel. Mayweather has been known to not allow sponsor's logos on his shorts. Knowing that, Hublot and Fan Duel likely paid a hefty sum to change his mind. Both brands even made their way into Floyd Mayweather's victory speech a couple times. While in your face advertising is sometimes the best and obvious solution, brands are smart to activate their sponsorships across several platforms in order to fully target and engage with fans. 

Chicago Hosts the NFL's First Draft Town

Navigate Research - Friday, May 01, 2015
For those die hard NFL football fans, the time between the Superbowl in February and the first official game come September, can seem like an eternity. Thankfully, there is training camp, pre-season games, and, of course, the annual NFL Draft to get fans excited for the upcoming season. While often times the first few picks may be an easy guess, there is nothing more exciting to a football fanatic than to see some of the best college football players sign with their team. 

This year's NFL Draft is currently taking place in Chicago for the first time since 1964, as it has been held in New York City every year since. While this is not the very first NFL Draft hosted in Chicago, this year marks the first NFL Draft Town festival for not only Chicago, but the league itself. What is the Oikos Triple Zero NFL Draft Town and what can you do there? For those lucky individuals who have attended an NCAA Final Four, it will look something like a Bracket Town or Fan Fest filled with activities for people of all ages (especially kids). The NFL Draft Town is a 3-day long event with activities ranging from participating in a NFL combine activities, practicing your field goal kick, floating in a wind tunnel skydive simulator, and listening to live music and dance performances, to name a few. 


In addition to the numerous activities put on by the NFL, there are several official NFL sponsor tents and activities including the Xbox One Tailgaming where fans can showoff their video gaming skills and the Wilson Football Factory, where you can see how official NFL game balls are individually produced. As an official NFL sponsor, this first of its kind event is a must for brands to display their association to the NFL. This event allows sponsors to get a jump-start on their NFL sponsorship activations and to engage with football fans sooner. 

Will the NFL continue to put on this free 3-day event for fans? According to ESPN Chicago's, Jon Greenberg, "Spending the day in Draft Town "reiterated an immutable life lesson: The NFL, through its many trials and tribulations, is still No. 1." With a statement as strong as that, it could bode extremely well now and into the future for the NFL. But is it feasible in every city? Luckily, Chicago has the means to attract thousands of football fans from all over the mid-west to attend the event, however, this doesn't necessarily mean Chicago will come out financially on top after hosting the 1st NFL Draft Town and the NFL Draft itself. However, given it's already successful start, Chicago may have a solid shot for having The NFL Draft returning to The Windy City.

Sponsorship Activation Monday 4.27.15

Navigate Research - Monday, April 27, 2015
Each Monday, we will share some great activation practices throughout the sports and entertainment landscape. This blog will serve as a space to highlight innovative ideas and campaigns. Want to have your idea or campaign featured? Send us a note on Twitter at @Navigate_Res

As one of the most successful and globally recognized athletes in the world, Michael Jordan as been a staple in promoting the Nike brand, including, of course, his Air Jordan shoe brand. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first release of the Air Jordan brand and in order to honor this momentous occasion, creative agency AKQA, video-production company Stardust, and Nike's Jordan brand collaborated to create the world's coolest basketball court called "The Last Shot." While many people have experience playing Wii, the Kinect, or PlayStation Move and have some idea of the world of virtual reality, this experience is unlike anything ever created before.   

So how does this world's coolest basketball court work? Imagine you are in Michael Jordan's shoes back in the 1998 NBA Championship: Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz. You step onto the court in the final minutes of the game and your surrounded by thousands of cheering/booing fans. As many people know, this game ended with Michael Jordan hitting the game-winning jumper that lead to the Chicago Bulls 6th NBA Championship. With this augmented reality technology, you now have the opportunity to recreate that game-winning shot as Michael Jordan. The floor will light up, directing you where to move. You have live passers assisting you as you jab and cut across the court. 3-2-1...swish. You hit the final shot to win the game. 



This experience was only present during the NBA 2015 All-Star game and was free to local fans to try out. While there are currently no future plans for this installation, Brian Facchini, Global Communications Director for Jordan, hopes to allow everyone in different cities to experience this one-of-a-kind court. This could be music to the ears of potential partners. Associating with not only the Nike Jordan Brand, but the technological advancement itself, could be an extremely effective activation component, allowing a sponsor to resonate with a specific market. I mean...what sports fan wouldn't want to relive a historical moment of one of the best athletes in the history of the game of basketball?