“At the end of the day, everyone is trying to figure out what the next big thing is,” said Natan Cohen, corporate vice president, brand marketing, New York Life, at a panel at Thursday’s Sports Marketing Symposium titled “Media Mix: What’s Moving the Needle for Sports.” “There is no set of rules for how we try to effectively drive engagement.”

Fragmentation in media remained in the forefront of conversation on Thursday, as it did throughout this week’s conference, due to the resulting erosion of advertising pricing (also known as cost-per-thousands or CPMs), according to Jeff Garrant, senior vice president, Publicis Media Sports. Garrant believes streaming and over-the-top services are making sports more engaging for consumers and offering them more opportunities to consume content. Garrant and his fellow panelists also were quick to defend the sports landscape.

“A live event is still going to draw a major audience and it is still a place you want to be. What has changed is the ability to tell a deeper story in sports because there are so many initial touchpoints, particularly now in digital,” said Garrant, whose company creates value for clients across investment, strategy, insights and analytics, data and technology, performance marketing and content. “So when you talk about fragmentation, you have to remember the time when everyone said baseball was down, dying and dead. And then came The World Series. And now the finger points to the NFL.”

“But take a look at any weekly ratings ranking report and you will always see football at the top of the list,” he added. “The value of sports—for the fan, for the outlet running it, and for the sponsor—still goes without saying. Erosion based on the traditional ratings is a reality for all categories, not just sports.”

Maximizing Media and Marketing Dollars

“Traditionally, a successful media buy was determined by the number of people watching and what the demographic breakdown was,” said Eileen Masio, senior vice president and group content director. MediaVest/Spark. “But with digital and social assets now key components, we look at scroll rates and bounces rates, time spent on a website, comments made by the users and much more. And social gives us information about our fans, their likes and dislikes, that we may not have known elsewhere. Overall, that gives us a far bigger picture and it can create a positive media buy.”

“In today’s world, there really is no definition of what a successful campaign is,” said Garrant. “With so many variables, and more ways to consume content, the key is diversity, mixing the traditional with digital and social. And the future is anyone’s guess.”

“That’s what makes our jobs so challenging and so exiting at the same time,” added Masio.


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