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Guest Angler II: "What's Now, What's Next?"

A great deal of advertising is competitively secured by ESPN and ABC Sports through delivery of a strong, young male audience and the compelling (some would say ‘TiVo-proof’) environment of live sports. But the most interesting trend is the increasingly sophisticated aggregation of media platforms and sponsorship rights designed to deliver more impactful results for clients.

It’s not news that integrated advertising platforms are proliferating industry-wide and within ESPN’s family of branded media properties. What’s news is that the most successful initiatives are developed to deliver against the broadest possible range of a client’s targeted constituencies and objectives and are inclusive of intellectual property rights as well as on-air and off-channel delivery.

To better understand the direction in which the industry is clearly heading, look no further than what ESPN ABC Sports are doing today with college sports.

1. The Cingular ABC Sports All-America Program: Integral to this initiative is reaching Cingular’s target consumer (the young male) with active and interactive opportunities to engage them in the unique passion that is college football. This initiative exists on nine different media platforms, including Cingular’s leading wireless networks, and includes integrated media elements on ABC Sports, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine. What’s unique about this asset, is that ESPN and ABC Sports worked closely with Cingular to jointly become the ‘rights holder’ in creating the Cingular ABC Sports All-America Team.

With fans watching, listening, reading, texting and going online to consumer college football throughout the day, Cingular and ESPN have created a compelling reason for them to interact with the weekly debate that consumes college football fans:

Who’s the best player of the week? And of the year?

The synergies of ESPN’s branded media platforms are utilized to drive this debate among fans, while providing an environment that facilitates their receiving broader communication messages. At the end of the season their passion and involvement pays off when they vote to determine the Cingular and ABC Sports crown the Cingular ABC Sports Player of the Year.

2. The Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Football Game: In close partnership with the ACC, ABC Sports and ESPN developed a comprehensive, season-long, multi-platform initiative culminating in the inaugural ACC Championship Football Game. This is an excellent example of working quite closely in partnership with an independent rights holder, in this case the ACC, to more fully develop a sponsorship platform that achieves bigger results for all of the partners.

Dr. Pepper, with its entitlement positions within the Big 12 and SEC Championship football games, and many conference partnerships, stepped up to make this partnership a reality. Integrated across eight ESPN branded media platforms, the initiative launched this year with the Dr. Pepper Kickoff Weekend on ABC, highlighted by the high-rated FSU vs. Miami game in primetime on ABC. Throughout the season, fans will be consumed with Dr. Pepper conference updates and promotional opportunities communicated on-pack, in-store, on-air and online.

With this partnership, Dr Pepper stimulates a tremendous, passionate response through its sales force, bottler network and channel partners to activate their largest promotional and media efforts of the year.

3. The ADT National Championship Trophy & BCS Spotlight Game of the Week: ADT Security Services was looking for a major branding initiative that could also drive call-center sales leads. To achieve these objectives, they partnered with ESPN ABC Sports, the BCS and the American Football Coaches Association to develop a multi-platform, season-long media and sponsorship solution. Now in its third year, the ADT Trophy and the BCS Spotlight Game of the Week have become fixtures throughout the college football season. What some say is the future of these types of media-based sponsorships, this one is a case study in delivering relevant, organic integration of a client’s brand within content that passionately connects with their target audience.

The solution utilizes the targeted frequency of ESPN’s branded media platforms and delivers significant branding and in-program exposure. Platforms include ABC’s top game each week branded and presented by ADT, the ADT Trophy appearing on ESPN’s College Gameday Built by The Home Depot shows, ABC pre and half-time shows and on the sidelines of major games.

All of this culminates at the National Championship game with ADT’s CEO presenting the ADT Trophy to the winning coach and team at the conclusion of the hard-fought victory.

4. ESPN College Gameday Built By The Home Depot: One ESPN’s most well-known and highly-regarded programs and sponsorship platforms, this partnership has risen to new heights through the cooperative efforts of all parties involved. Again, this is a great example of ESPN working with our client to actually create an asset where we are the rights holder, and our partnership client can fully utilize this asset in the most comprehensive manner with its constituencies.

The Home Depot enjoys enormous return on objective each fall by connecting with passionate fans via a timely, comprehensive strategy. Highly visible across eight ESPN branded media platforms and through substantial consumer marketing and tune-in campaigns, The Home Depot is top-of-mind with its target consumers as they start their weekend and consider their home improvement purchase decisions.

This initiative is utilized as a 360 degree media and marketing program delivering vehicles for:
• efficient and effective media targeting
• brand building
• employees and supplier partnerships
• high-value customer and trade promotions
• hospitality
• consumer promotions

Rob Temple is Senior Director of College Sports and ESPNU for ESPN ABC Sports, based out of New York. His experience includes 15 years in sports media and marketing, including properties such as the Olympics, BCS, Rugby Union, Aussie Rules Football, NBA and the NCAA. He also handled ESPN’s 25th anniversary celebration – ESPN25. Rob’s favorite fishing spot in the world is Bather’s Pavilion in Balmoral (Sydney) Australia, where long days, great mates and buttery Chardonnay’s reigned and the Barramundi is King.

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