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Top Passion Marketing Forecasts for 2017 and Beyond

1. Properties Move to Protect Sponsors

Media companies will continue the trend of bringing brands closer and closer to the edge of “sponsorship” without official property sponsorship rights. Through owned events and live TV integrations, media companies are not only able to drive significant advertising revenue through their reach, but also through the way they frame brand placement. Perhaps not in 2017, but soon, we see properties beginning to take back name and likeness rights in negotiations to protect official property sponsors. As an example, the NFL may restrict their media rights partners (FOX, CBS, ESPN and NBC) from using the word “sponsorship” in relation to brands that aren’t official NFL sponsors if the word NFL is used in the name of the segment.

2. Video Games Over eSports

eSports was the talk of early 2016 and it remains an important avenue to connect with consumer passions. But we view video games and the casual video game enthusiast as a bigger opportunity. The attention that eSports brought gave new openness to playing video games across gender, age and income, but not all of those gamers are interested in the competitive side of gaming. In 2017, we see the more integrated partnerships between brands and publishers to leverage key video game titles, not necessarily around the eSports side of the game.

3. Revival of Daily Fantasy Sports

2015 was the coming out party for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), as illustrated by a bombardment of TV advertising that couldn’t be ignored, along with a slew of sponsorships at the league and team level. 2016 became the year of regulation and a calming of the storm. In 2017, with a merger of the two largest players in the space, we see a revival for DFS as it sees more consistent activity among a passionate, moderate sized audience. While national advertising may never increase back to 2015 levels, we see DFS becoming a niche avenue for brands to connect with millennials though integrated partnerships. And don’t rule out the emergence of additional DFS brands entering the space.

4. Sports Experiencing Tailwinds

In 2017, we see potential “tailwinds” behind the following sports:
• Men’s golf – with a hugely successful Ryder Cup in 2016 and Tiger’s re-emergence in 2017, men’s golf is back in the spotlight
• Skiing – Lindsay Vonn is passing the torch to new American superstar Mikaela Shifrin and Killington hosts hugely successful World Cup, heading toward 2018 Winter Games in Korea
• Lacrosse/Rugby – passionate bases help these sports continue their slow burn growth; don’t ignore them

5. Sports Experiencing Headwinds

In 2017, we see potential “headwinds” ahead of the following sports:
• Women’s golf – no doubt a great product, but popularity in the US will continue to suffer without a bona fide American star
• Drone racing – with the word “racing”, it must be a sport, right? Interesting side show, but don’t count on scale anytime soon
• Soccer – yes, MLS continues to deliver a solid product and the US Women are world champs (but they are embroiled in a salary dispute), but there are a few considerations to watch out for; the US Men are at risk of not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1990 and the NASL and USL continue to fight for viability

6. League Title Sponsorships

With jersey sponsorships being considered, we’ll soon hear rumblings of entitlement of a mainstream US league or property beyond the recent Monster Energy and NASCAR announcement.

7. Focus on the Grassroots

As media costs around sports continue to rise, we see a continued return to leveraging consumer passions at the grassroots level. While there are many sports and entertainment pursuits in which the average consumer simply cannot participate (football, polo playing, rock star), there are many opportunities to leverage sponsorship directly to those who love to actually participate – country clubs, tennis centers, soccer facilities, health clubs, even community theatre. We see these smaller scale, yet longer lasting connections as becoming a bigger piece of sponsorship strategies in the near future.

About Advantage

Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Advantage is a multi-disciplinary agency with four focus areas: Sponsorship Consulting, Experiential, Hospitality and Creative Content Creation. Using an “Art and Science” approach, Advantage provides brands with both the insights and creative solutions to authentically breakthrough the intersection of consumers’ passions and consumption, whether through sports, entertainment, lifestyle experiences or worthy causes.
Advantage is a part of the Interpublic Group (IPG-NYSE).
For more information, visit us or contact:
Andrew.Cohn, Advantage
203.354.7564