It’s Starting to Add Up

The Tuscaloosa News reports that the net gain to the city during the sports-filled weekend (including the U.S. Olympic men’s triathlon trials and the USAT collegiate national championships, along with several other big events) was in the $3-5 million range — left behind by about 10,000 visitors.

While an Alabama football homegame can crank out up to $13 million, multisports are getting on the radar.

Check out the full story.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20080422/NEWS/941315759/1007

The Ultimate Business Accolade?

And the word from General Mills is:

MINNEAPOLIS – (Business Wire) Jarrod Shoemaker is being honored by Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions,” with a new, limited-edition package featuring the 25-year old triathlete from Sudbury, Mass. The Breakfast of Champions® continues its tradition of honoring elite athletes and celebrates Shoemaker’s outstanding triathlon achievements, adding yet another honor to his impressive list of accomplishments. [.....]

“It’s a great honor for me to be on the cover of the Wheaties box and to join the remarkable list of great athletes who have appeared on the package,” Shoemaker said. “Every athlete dreams about one day seeing themselves on the cover of the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ package.”

The new 15.6-ounce Wheaties package is now available regionally in Iowa and Boston. This marks the first time Shoemaker has appeared on a Wheaties box, and the second time a triathlete has appeared. Hunter Kemper was featured on the box in 2007.

Look out NBA — multisport has arrived.

Saatchi Arrival Confirms the Sports Business Model

In the worlds of advertising, public relations and modern art, the activities of the brothers Saatchi are always the gold standard.

Let it be noted that the arrival in the USA of M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, in the form of an office of the UK-based sport/entertainment sponsorship and public relations agency, confirms the sports business model. It will be headed by U.S. veterans selectively recruited for their sports business backgrounds (Sandra Carreon-John and Jonathan Schecter), and already has Reebok as a client, which they will serve as the company’s sport and lifestyle PR resource.

Sports and lifestyle? Sounds like a match for multisport. Keep watching

http://www.mcsaatchi.com/sportandentertainment/3/index3.html

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Follow the CEO Challenges Ad Campaign

CEO Challenges has started a three-part advertising campaign in Business Week.

Click HERE for the first installment.

The Olympics — Does Multisport Business Hold the Key to Their (Non-) Future?

This morning’s New York Times offered up a very thought-provoking Op-Ed piece by Buzz Bissinger, entltled Faster, Higher, Stronger, No Longer. Briefly, the gist of the commentary was that the crescendo of negative events and counter-events/actions in the runup to the Beijing Games serve to point out the increasing frequency and magnitude of trials, tribulations, and geopolitical catastrophies that have beset the Olympics for the past generation or more.

The conclusion offered is that perhaps it is time to call it quits and retire the Olympic movement.

While each of the cited failings of the movement, and the world community, seems to be addressable and remediable, together they invite the reader to consider whether things can only get worse. Should the Games be ended?

Well, here’s the thought that struck MultisportBiz: Bissinger offered an alternative, namely holding world championship contests annually in diverse venues worldwide. This is not quite a remedy often considered — a single site for the Olympics in a well-designed and reachable location (thus neutralizing the angst engendered by certain host locations) — but it is one worth considering.

And we offer up the model of Triathlon as a pilot and exemplar. Other sports do this in various ways, but the World Triathlon Corporation’s franchise is well designed and wildly successful. The venue of Hawaii for the full race is magical, the marketing is first class, the competition is excellent, and the legal battles are fought by pros, and are invariably won.

WTC has expanded this to the 70.3 series, with its own World Championship in Clearwater, Florida, and the results seem to be positive (notwithstanding the thoroughly forgettable NBC coverage of the event — a pale echo of the Kona show, and no grass skirts).

This is a business activity that uses sport to make lots of money. But then, so is the Olympics. The difference is that WTC doesn’t deny this and hide behind “the sanctity of sport,” worldwide bonding, and the importance of team competitions (i.e., medal counts).

WTC is certainly on to something that can grow as the Olympics sink under their own weight.

The Times piece is highly recommended.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/opinion/13bissinger.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Multisport SuperBiz? And the Winner is USA Triathlon

The wakeup call came in the form of the press release of 8 April (forwarded by InsideTri.com):

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – April 8, 2008 – USA Triathlon and Competitor Radio have partnered to help promote the triathletes who will be representing the U.S. at the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

As an Official Radio Show of USA Triathlon, Competitor will produce a series of interviews and other shows dedicated to the multisport lifestyle and featuring the rise of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team. The programs will air on Mighty XX (1090 AM in Southern California) and at www.competitorradio.com through September 2008. [There’s more …]

OK, we’ve been asleep at the wheel while USAT has been out growing those relationships (aka sponsorships and advertisements) and pumping up those memberships, as well as enhancing merchandise sales and Triathlon Life circulation figures. Big time.

Well, there’s no denying that they got the Mo, and they’ve certainly embraced the capitalist ethos (note the .com). Still a 501(c)(3) (i.e., public charity), but that is quite cool, as the current zeitgeist in the business school community and elsewhere is very pro-Social Enterprise. USAT is among the best in class.

Anyway, we had intended to update this listing of USAT’s business links every time something new came up, but the thought of the magnitude of the undertaking killed that idea quite early on. Better that you check in with them from time to time and review the scorecard:

http://www.usatriathlon.com/sitecore/content/Secondary/SponsorshipAdvertising/CurrentSponsors.aspx

Vive l’AFP — Multimedia Explanations of Sports at Your Fingertips

Agence France-Presse (AFP) has just rolled out a lush package of multimedia tools, for use by a wide range of organizations that deal with big-time sports. The Beijing Olympics and EURO 2008 are targeted in a timely way, but dozens of other sports are covered.

Where to start in describing the offering?
Why not just draw from their presentation ….

FLASH APPLICATIONS for customers’ Websites, offering full live coverage of the competition, with ad functionalities and customization features, and 35+ embedded videos.

34 SPORTS ANIMATIONS showing the processes and procedures of each sport, operating on the Web or televsion, and available in many languages.

FULLY DEDICATED WEBSITES, including live matches and results, top stories, athlete bios, historical information, and photos in a real-time, ready-to-publish format.

VIDEO SERVICE: EURO: 35+ VIDEOS- Featured content, on-site reports, fan interviews and more; BEIJING: 60+ VIDEOS – delivered in Web-ready or broadcast format; 4 languages available.

RAW XML CONTENT FOR WEBSITES – All the content from AFP’s ready-to-publish Web applications is available in raw XML feeds, allowing the building of unique EURO & BEIJING websites with AFP’s Web content. Also available: team presentations, illustrated biographies, full live results feeds, etc.

LIVE TICKERS, in the form of live Flash modules which deliver the latest results and standings, calendars of the matches/competitions, and real-time results.

TRADITIONAL PRODUCTS, e.g., Euro: 500-700 photos per day, and Beijing: 800-1400 photos per day, 80 to 100 dispatches per day, and 60 to 75 graphics throughout the competition.

Check out AFP’s Sports Web page for a complete and integrated look at this, along with some links to the real thing; it is very impressive.

Which, of course, makes us look forward to the day when all of the high-cost development investment will be recouped through the cash floods of EURO 2008 and Beijing, and these tools will be available to multisport federations and race/series directors.

Take a look at the demo on swimming and let your mind wander to the day when the complexities of triathlon will be explained through a downloadable package supplied by USA Triathlon, or your favorite race director. Or when any given Ironman event within WTC’s universe can be enjoyed 24/7 before, during, and after with immense amounts of historical context — along with, of course, clear explanations of what is going on and why.

This is good stuff.

http://www.afp.com