Tonight’s a dumpMichael Jordan-backed 23XI Racing opened its third season in NASCAR with fresh faces behind the No. 45 Toyota and countless leadership roles—and plans to start work on a new NC HQ.
- USA Triathlon chose Nix Biosensors as their water sensor partner
- The Dragon Seats-ARZ marriage brings the NFL closer to sideline union
- The Vixi Live platform from The Famous Group is headed to the Super Bowl
- Oni Studios strives to be a one-stop solution for aspiring streamers
- Editorial: Are sports doing enough to meet the needs of modern sports?
- NASCAR signs license deal with Hurley
- American football is heading for a big change
this morning buzzcastSBJ’s Abe Madkour loves how the Padres’ spending on a star player is paying off in season ticket sales and notes about the White family’s continuing college legacy.
23XI Racing plans to go live in its new headquarters near Charlotte in the coming weeks, and it’s one of several moves the team is making off the track as it begins its third season in NASCAR, Adam Stern SBJ reports.
The two-car Cup Series team is owned by Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, and Curtis Polk. Among the offseason plans it implemented moved Director of Partnership Management Craig Robinson to the newly created position of Director of DEI, Affiliation and Merchandising Director of Marketing and Brand Development Jimmy Ruiz to Vice President/Marketing. The team also appointed Hendrick Motorsports, 4Front, and Tepper Sports & Entertainment CEO Shannon Hooper to the position of Vice President/Strategic Partnerships.
23XI also introduced a new logo, Forward Together, as well as some updated branding of its logo.
The team maintains a high degree of sponsorship for two cars, one with Bubba Wallace and one with Tyler Reddick, who replaced Kurt Busch in the No. 45 Toyota. These include McDonald’s, DoorDash, Dr. Pepper, Monster Energy and Draft King.
Nix Biosensors has partnered with USA Triathlon to become the official water sensor partner for NGB through 2024, SBJ’s Andrew Cohen reports. The Nix wearable consists of a reusable Bluetooth-enabled pouch and single-use adhesive patches that are typically worn on an athlete’s arm to analyze perspiration and recommend the amount and type of fluid the athlete should drink to stay hydrated.
The wearable measures the wearer’s intake and sweat, with recommendations sent via the Nix app to the athlete for how much fluid they need to replenish and what type of electrolytes to target. USA triathletes will be able to use the Nix app on their phone, smartwatch or bike computer to view their customized hydration strategy.
The Nix has been nominated for Best Sports Performance of the Future Sports Business Awards: Tech.
Dragon Seats’ acquisition of the Sports Recovery Zone puts the side bench bench industry one step closer to the holy grail: consolidation, Brett McCormick writes at SBJ.
Dragon Seats and ARZ completed the deal during the busiest time of the year, a whirlwind football season. Brian Cothren, and all of his intellectual property, will join Dragon Seats, but ARZ will retain its Jacksonville headquarters, giving Dragon Seats a southern location to help serve customers and reduce shipping costs.
Following the deal, Dragon benches will be located at 22 NFL stadiums, as well as a handful of teams taking Dragon benches on the road. The company will also be a step closer to providing the NFL with side consolidation. Dragon Seats is not an official partner of the NFL (it works for teams, not the league). But in its talks with the NFL’s league office, it was made clear to the Dragon Seats that the league would like the sidelines to be more consistent in appearance and function.
Based in Cleveland, Dragon Seats has cornered the football seating market in the Midwest and Northern half of the United States, counting dozens of Power Five college football teams and nearly two dozen NFL teams as customers. Many of its college fringe seats bear DeWalt signs, a marketing deal born of Dragon Seats’ relationship with Learfield. In ARZ, Dragon Seats has gained a much stronger position in the southeastern United States, where ARZ has significant college and pro football customers, such as the Alabama and Bucs.
The Famous Group provides every professional league — and more than 150 websites and companies — with a variety of creative services for mixed-reality media production (think sticky gameplay for Nickelodeon NFL broadcasts) — and it’s bringing its Vixi Live platform to the Super Bowl, SBJ’s friend Tom writes.
One example of her work comes from the Ravens, who asked if Famous could use first-line tracking technology and “do something creative with it,” asked Jay O’Brien, Ravens vice president of production/gameday.
Set out to create an augmented reality crow, Famous has hired technology partner TruePoint Laser Scanning to laser scan an entire lidar stadium for M&T Bank so the bird can become a mixed reality asset. SMT, the company that designed the first yellow down line, has run tracking data that the photographer will use to follow the virtual crow on the viewfinder. It will all be powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to display a real-time display on the stadium video board. ESPN couldn’t believe its eye and put the virtual crow on “SportsCenter” that night.
And later this year, The Famous Group hopes to incorporate AI into its proprietary mixed reality storytelling.
Oni Studios was founded in 2020, and Ali was originally envisioned to help “SypherK” Hassan with his marketing proficiency, writes SBJ’s Hunter Cooke. Having risen to fame as a Fortnite gamer in 2018, Hassan has found he spends more time on meetings with potential sponsors and negotiating packages than creating content.
Now, Hassan is positioning the company as an asset for other broadcast teams and esports teams looking to create content from his Cedar Park, Texas, facility.
For many streamers, simply having someone manage sponsorship opportunities on their boards will give them time to elevate their brands in the highly competitive world of online content creation. For others, the training elements of the partnership will help them raise the bar on their content offerings. Either way, brands and customers alike will likely flock to work with one of the most successful companies ever built in the Fortnite hype era.
Jordy Gronkowski has watched his son, Rob, make a field goal before, but not since high school — and that was only once. So, when last October FanDuel asked the more famous Gronk to kick a field goal in a live Super Bowl commercial, both son and father were a little worried.
“He loves challenges, and he’s been to a lot of Super Bowls. One thing I’ve ever wondered about is the difference between being on the field with your teammates and being with the millions of people just watching,” Gordy said.
This will be FanDuel’s first Super Bowl ad. When top marketers began brainstorming this NFL season’s opening Thursday, they knew more about what they didn’t want: No mindless celebrity mix-up for an expensive creative piece that wouldn’t have a one-day shelf life.
In this week’s SBJ Marketing Newsletter, Terry Lifton Dig into FanDuel’s plans with Gronk.
Offering new services to help golf courses generate more revenue is emerging as a major theme from the World of Golf gathering in Florida. With products from more than 800 golf brands on display, Chris Hart, senior director of growth and projects for the PGA of America, sees industry professionals as being more open to new ideas than they were when he entered the field 10 years ago.
“People are becoming more sophisticated and embracing opportunities to use data, to use these systems and technology,” Hart told SBJ.
This week Hart moderated a discussion looking at the ideal golf facility with panelists such as Mike Lustallot, co-founder of golf course management service Sagacity. “We’re able to measure pricing, supply and demand data on golf facilities across the country,” Hart said of Sagacity’s benefits, such as increased spending on golf facilities. “So, we can better understand and help our members price golf tours.”
In this week SBJ Tech NewsletterDavid Rumsey also looks at:
- EP Golf Ventures blossomed in the first year
- Sports sponsorship is not affected by Crypto.com’s layoffs
The opening night article comes from Monique Benjamin, account coordinator at CSM Sport & Entertainment, who writes about math and motherhood—and whether sports do enough to meet the needs of the modern cross-functional athlete.
“With the FIFA Women’s World Cup looming as one of the biggest sporting events of 2023, we are reminded that female players rarely have the luxury of carrying the individual ‘female-athlete’ identity, but are instead tasked with the roles and demands that come with a ‘female’ identity too. .
“In recent years, we’ve seen athletes shed light on the weight of these intersecting identities. It’s worth noting that women’s soccer has become almost synonymous with activism as we’ve seen athletes like USWNT’s Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and British Champion Lionesses Demi Stokes. Social justice causes from LGBTQ inclusion and equality in Wages to improve maternity support.”
Read the full submission here.
- NASCAR has signed a new licensee deal with action sportswear brand Hurley to create a co-branded beach/surf line around the racing series’ 75th anniversary season, SBJ’s Adam Stern reports.
- Bud Light is the title sponsor of Sunday’s Asian Championship Heads and will be branded on the “Bring It Home” Rally towels given to attendees, SBJ Terry Lifton reports.
- American football is heading for a major change on the sporting side, with athletic director Ernie Stewart and the men’s national team GM Brian McBride leaving the league, Alex Silverman reports from SBJ. US Soccer retained the Sportsology Group to help conduct a complete review of the organization’s athletic department, search for a new athletic director and analyze candidates for the men’s coaching position.
- NBCU’s media unit said its advertising revenue increased 4% in the fourth quarter, “primarily due to increased revenue from the FIFA World Cup, as well as increased Peacock advertising revenue.” Hollywood Reporter notes. This included $263 million in additional advertising revenue from the World Cup on Telemundo.
- Disney+ will have Hulu ad targeting capabilities starting in April, and by July, “the full suite of tools will be available across Disney’s streaming suite, including ESPN+,” Disney’s chief advertising officer, Rita Ferro, said. TechCrunch notes.
- Derek Jeter, Sheryl Swoopes and WNBA Las Vegas Aces guard Chelsea Gray have joined the advisory board of Community Gaming Managers, an educational sports betting platform founded by sports entrepreneur Jimmy Missler and Kevin Garnett, SBJ reports Liz Mullen.