Why Stadium Connectivity Presents the Best Sponsorship Opportunity for Teams & Corporations

Why Stadium Connectivity Presents the Best Sponsorship Opportunity for Teams & Corporations
by Angelina Lawton – January 2015

The second screen in sports

The ongoing conversation is how to integrate the second screen into the sports industry. More and more, fans spurn attending games to watch events from the comfort of their own homes. As teams and leagues seek to increase  revenue, the time has come to fully integrate the second screen into the stadium.

In order to fully integrate the second screen into the stadium experience, stadiums must present fans with seamless Internet connectivity. The data usage at some of the sporting world’s biggest events demonstrates the reliance fans have on the second screen, even while they’re inside of a stadium attending an event.

The Super Bowl of data usage

At the 2014 Super Bowl, fans used 3.2 terabytes of data. This amounted to fans uploading over five photos per second onto Instagram throughout the game. More recently, at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, fans used 6.34 terabytes of data–nearly double the amount of data that Super Bowl attendees used! This amount of data corresponds to 18.1 million social media posts with photos being sent during the game held at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.

In order to attract fans to events, teams and venues must have reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. In fact, in a recent survey of 3,000 college students and young professionals, Cisco found that one in every three believes that the Internet is as important as air, water, food and shelter!

What teams and corporate partners must ask themselves is: If one of the most important parts of the game experience is what fans are holding in their hands, how can we build our brand and improve our bottom lines by providing reliable Internet connectivity?

Finding partners

One way teams and venues can maximize revenue by providing reliable Internet connectivity is to partner with corporate sponsors to provide or upgrade connectivity. This year, the Dallas Cowboys did just that when the team partnered with AT&T to fully upgrade AT&T Stadium’s connectivity to maximum potential. Doing so ensured that fans attending the College Football Playoff National Championship Game wouldn’t hit any snags when posting on social media during the game. Fans attending games at AT&T Stadium can access mobile devices with exactly the same reliability they get at home.

seahawks field wifiOther teams have likewise made seamless connectivity a priority in their venues. One team that has also successfully done so through a corporate partnership is the Seattle Seahawks. In October 2014, the Seahawks announced that along with Verizon, they would make significant enhancements to CenturyLink Field’s Wi-Fi network by having Extreme Networks install high-density Wi-Fi and Purview analytics systems.

Given that every team needs to maximize connectivity capacity to ensure fans connected to the second screen continue to attend games, it’s critical that teams look for sponsorship partners to help provide connectivity upgrades. Sponsors can serve not only the important role of helping pay for the upgrade costs, but can also help publicize the improvements through their networks.

Corporations should be attracted to the possibility of partnering with a team for a connectivity upgrade, because of the goodwill created among fans–if the partnership is strategically articulated in a campaign that links the WiFi provision for the team’s fans with the providing sponsor. Every digitally savvy fan will celebrate a corporate partner who ensures seamless communication on their social media channels while attending a game.

In the digital age, robust connectivity should be one of the top priorities for every team. As teams look to cut costs and create revenue streams, it becomes apparent that partnering with sponsors for the upgrades provides the best solution for making robust connectivity a reality.

Why the new AT&T Stadium is win-win for everyone

Why the new AT&T Stadium is win-win for everyone
by Kirk Wakefield – August 2013

Since AT&T and the Dallas Cowboys have been great supporters  of the S3 program since its inception a decade ago, apparently DFW reporters figure I might have some insight into the financial deal between the two on the naming rights. Although I’ve been quoted as saying it’s in the $18-20 million range, that’s purely an educated guess. That guess could be off by millions for all I know.

What I do know is that this deal is a win-win for everyone. Why?

  1. Technology: Setting the standard. AT&T & the Cowboys can set the standard for in-stadium experiences with AT&T’s wifi service and exclusive content. If AT&T provides flawless service with 80,000 fans at NFL games, as well as large crowds at 3rd party events, then they can do it anywhere. AT&T Stadium will be the tech showcase for the NFL, much like AT&T Park is for MLB.
  2. Branding: Image transfer. Brands sponsor teams in part for the image of the team to transfer to the brand. Teams are also careful (or should be) to partner with brands that enhance the team’s image, because image transfer can work both ways (cf., Enron).  In this case, matching leading brands in telecommunications and pro sports makes sense. Both will benefit.
  3. Activation: customer conversion. Utilities such as electricity and telecommunications directly benefit from sponsorships because customers can decide to switch services on the spot. TXU Energy (Dallas Mavs/Stars), Reliant Energy (Houston Texans), and Amigo Energy (Houston Dynamo jersey sponsor for 3 years) all benefit from the ability to activate the brand in-venue and other media communications to get customers to switch. Same goes for the wireless category. What’s more, my research shows passionate fans are unlikely to switch from the sponsor to a competitor. They stick with the sponsoring brand.
  4. Partnership: compatibility. The people who work in sponsorships at the Cowboys & AT&T are very smart people. They are professionals who know how to reach corporate objectives through sponsorships. Both parties are committed to excellence in the things they can control. Both know they can count on the other to fulfill the intent of the agreement. In short, they trust each other to seek mutual benefit and to work together.

With all of the press and publicity about this “new” deal, the bottom line is that the Cowboys and AT&T have been partners for a long time. These agreements don’t happen over night, but are based on years of knowing each other and finding the best solution for the partnership. I’m confident as fans and as stakeholders we will all be winners in this deal.

What are your thoughts? Good deal or no good deal?

Part 2: How to interview with the pros

by Jeannette Salas – February 2013

We covered how to get the interview here. Now you’ve made it to the face-to-face (virtual) interviews. What do you need to do be prepared?

Preparation

  1. Research. Thoroughly research the organization prior to interview.
    1. How is the team marketing and advertising?

      Insights from Heidi Weingartner, Chief HR Office at the Dallas Cowboys and George Prokos, Sr. VP of Ticket Sales and Services at the Dallas Mavericks
      Insights from Heidi Weingartner, Chief HR Office at the Dallas Cowboys and George Prokos, Former Sr. VP of Ticket Sales and Services at the Dallas Mavericks.
    2. How are they involved in the community?
    3. Who are the C-level executives and managers?
      • Know their names and positions.
      • Look up their backgrounds/bios (team website, Google; LinkedIn)
  2. Questions. Come up with at least five questions to ask about corporate culture, likes/dislikes, challenges, etc. Why? Good questions:
    1. Should be written down.
    2. Show interest.
    3. Allow you to get FREE valuable information from someone in your career choice on how to move up and be successful in your career.

The best question a candidate asked me was, “What do you like and not like about your position?” Asked sincerely, this question showed a personal interest in me and what goes on here every day.

The interview

How important is this interview to you? If you are selected from the 100’s of resumes received, I’m assuming it should be important to you. Some of these tips are for in-person interviews, but apply the same principles for virtual interviews.

  1. Attire: Dress professionally (suits). More on making the best first impression in the next column.
  2. If in-person:  Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Don’t show up an hour or two early.
  3. Turn off your phone before the interview.
  4. No, turn it off. Silent is not good enough.
  5. Be ready to go once you step outside of the car.
    1. Have your hair and/or makeup done before arriving.
    2. Put your jacket on before you exit the car.
    3. You don’t know who’s watching or who you’ll meet when or where along the way.
  6. For virtual interviews:
    1. Make sure whatever is in camera view sends the right signals.
    2. Don’t locate in a noisy room.
    3. Dress like you were doing an in-person interview (suits).
  7. Have a padfolio and pens (and extra copies of your resume if in-person).
    1. Some employers intentionally “forget” to bring your resume to the interview.
    2. Someone may forget a pen.
    3. Be prepared.
  8. SMILE!!! Everyone is watching you.
    1. That person you don’t think is watching is the person who talks to the manager right after you leave.
    2. Beware of windows – people like to observe and will give feedback.
  9. Be courteous. Yes, the receptionist counts. Double.
  10. Exude confidence.
    1. Firm handshake.
    2. Clear greeting, by last name (Mr. Smith). Do not be overly familiar until they say so.
    3. Make eye contact during interview. (But, don’t stare the person down.)
  11. Relax and be yourself, but remain professional regardless of interviewer’s professionalism.
    1. Removing jacket, unbuttoning tie, etc. is not acceptable.
    2. Be personable, but not overly excited.
    3. Keep an engaged, positive posture – no slouching.
    4. Don’t stare.
    5. Don’t fidget:  Biting nails, playing with hair, tapping pen, cracking knuckles, etc.
  12. Stay focused.
    1. Listen to what is being asked and answer the question.
    2. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand question.
    3. Don’t ramble.
  13. Be confident in your answers:
    1. Don’t answer with an upswing inflection, where the cadence of the voice rises as though every sentence ends in a question mark.
    2. Be accountable. Everyone makes mistakes!!!!! Explain what you learned from mistakes and what you did to ensure it was not repeated.
    3. Be able to explain gaps in employment clearly.
  14. Never bash former employers or colleagues. This gives a clue as to how you might view your next employer and colleagues.

Closing the Interview

If you are interviewing for a sales position, they are looking for someone who can close a deal.

  1. Close the interview.
  2. Highlight why you are the best candidate for the position based on the needs identified during the interview.
  3. Show how your strengths make you a good fit for the position.
  4. Show enthusiasm!!!!
  5. Thank interviewers for their time and again give firm handshakes.
  6. Say goodbye to the receptionist by name (s/he always counts).

Next time we’ll cover in more detail steps to success getting jobs in professional sports, including specific do’s and don’ts of professional attire for interviewing, as well as resumes, follow-up, and cover letters.

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