• Kristi S. Atkins, CEO  a|i|m MARKETING SOLUTIONS

    "The Softer Side of Sponsorship"

    Throughout history, women have been criticized for allowing emotions to play an important part of their lives. The criticisms have ranged from “ignore her , it just her emotions” to “she cannot possibly be correct, she is reacting to emotions”. Today, however, women have become a dominant force in sports marketing, and making great strides, by acknowledging the fact that creating brand loyalty with the consumer stems from making an emotional connection and tapping into passion points.


    Strong women are confident with the fact that their emotions control a major portion of their lives. They do not think it is a sign of weakness or complacency. They accept that despite their best intention, emotions will impact major and minor decisions in their life. As a women's role evolves in sports marketing (as athletes, marketers, etc.), it is imperative that we maintain the balance of sports popularity, attributes and brand alignment with the sponsorship equities that can be used to make an emotional connection with consumers and fans alike and meet business objectives.


    When you consider the devotion fans give “their” sports team or idol…from the apparel, the flags, the cost of tickets to attend games/races to the overall unwavering devotion, you hit at the core of emotion marketing. The thing, the person, the thought, or even the dream that makes someone say “I will support that” or “I will believe in that” is an example of emotion marketing that can be best achieved through the utilization of sports and entertainment properties . Being able to ignite the inner passion that gets someone's heart pounding, or gets someone's emotions racing allows a brand to break though the marketing clutter and create a bond with consumers. Consumers make buying decisions based on emotion and use logic and reason to back-up the decisions.


    Emotions such as devotion, commitment, and loyalty, are okay, and when kept in balance are attributes to be praised. As CEO of a female owned business, I run my business with a devotion to my employees and commitment and loyalty to our clients. It is my role and responsibility to make sure that my team understands that an emotional connection, is okay. Emotion is only a negative thing when the results of a particular emotion are out of control, and cloud sound decisions and direction. I harness the positive results of emotion, both in marketing and in life, without letting emotions rule my thinking or decisions.


    So if you ask me what is different today from 13 years ago when I started in sports marketing, I would have to say it is the influence that women are having on the sports world…from the athletes, to league commissioners, corporate marketers and agency executives, the effects can be felt everywhere.


    •  Danica Patrick, IRL driver and personality


    •  Carolyn Bivens, LPGA Commissioner


    •  Lesa France Kennedy, President International Speedway Corporation


    •  Delana Harvick, Co-owner Kevin Harvick Inc


    •  Bea Perez, VP of Sports Marketing The Coca-Cola Company


    •  Dockery Clark, Director of Sports and Alliance Marketing, Miller Brewing Co.


    These are just a few of the women that are positively impacting the sports industry and controlling millions of dollars that are spent each year. The industry as a whole has embraced this transition and is benefiting from the evolution of sports marketing from being a “big shrimp” hospitality occasion to being a tivo proof, one-on-one dialogue platform legitimized by tapping into the emotion and passion points fans have for their favorite pastimes.


    Kristi S. Atkins, CEO a|i|m MARKETING SOLUTIONS


    Kristi's favorite fishing hole is the Nieman Marcus shoe department…OK…I am a girl!

  • Rob Temple, ESPN ABC SPORTS

    "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 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.

  • Coach Kay Yow

    Coach Kay Yow – lost her battle with cancer January 24, 2009.

    "Life Coach"

    A coach is not necessarily someone shouting along the sidelines during a game or drawing up plays in the locker room during halftime, but someone who motivates and encourages others positively. Our parents are coaches. Our siblings are coaches. And our friends are coaches. Each coach instills confidence that helps us gain perspective and appreciation for our own characteristics and talents. We learn from these coaches, some impacting our lives more than others, and pass their knowledge on to others.


    I am a daughter, sister and friend who has also had the opportunity to coach in the public setting for over 40 years. In these years as a basketball coach I have been both a teacher and student to some of our nation’s greatest athletes and coaches.


    Parts of life, like some basketball seasons, are not always the easiest and pose challenges that test our determination, strength and character. It is during these tests that coaches truly see the effects of their mentoring, see where an emphasis might shift or where extra drills are needed. Sometimes, however, life can throw something unexpected in the mix that, no matter how much or how hard you practice, you’re never prepared for. My personal example is battling breast cancer.


    After my initial diagnosis in 1987 and experiencing two recurrences of the disease, I have decided that now is the best time to step up as a coach, not only for my North Carolina State Wolfpack family, but for everyone dealing directly or indirectly with breast cancer. I normally shun the spotlight, but I don’t mind being the platform for bringing coaches together to raise money for cancer research.


    In late 2007, in partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund was launched to raise awareness and funding for research of cancers that affect women. I had the opportunity to work with the ultimate optimist, the late Jim Valvano, for 10 years at NC State and his phrase, “don’t give up, don’t ever give up” has become an immortal slogan both on and off the basketball court.


    The fight against cancer looks past all rivalries and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund has provided coaches of all levels the opportunity to come together through different projects to raise money for cancer research that can make a difference for everyone. When you see pink jerseys, pink shoelaces, pink anything on the court February 13-22, 2009, the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund is behind it creating not only awareness but raising money for cancer research. The battle is tough but we are all on the same team persevering and on a mission to find answers.

  • Steve Hatchell, NFF President & CEO

    "A Higher Purpose"

    We all love sports, and based on TV ratings our country especially loves football. The drama and excitement of a game captures our imagination and certainly provides an entertainment value rivaled by few mediums.


    However, the value of football extends far beyond a form of entertainment, and this is where the National Football Foundation finds its purpose.


    There are powerful parallels between winning on the field and success later in life, and the National Football Foundation has worked hard for the past 60 years to ensure that the young people who play our game see that connection. We believe that football is the ultimate tool for teaching young people the values of leadership, teamwork, and the drive to compete in all aspects of their lives, not just on the field and especially in the classroom.


    All of our programs carry these objectives forward. The College Football Hall of Fame holds out the greatest players and coaches as a source of inspiration for future generations. Our chapters annually distribute $1.1 million in scholarships to approximately 3,300 student-athletes at awards banquets nationwide. Our coaching clinics ensure that coaches who work with our young people are not only well versed in football skills but the game’s character building attributes. The list continues with more than 1,000 annual events that celebrate the game and its unique ability to teach America’s young people the values that make our country strong.


    We recently renamed our top scholar-athlete award the William V. Campbell Trophy in honor of the former player and coach at Columbia who has gone on to be one of our country’s top business leaders with key roles at Apple, Google and Intuit. Bill Campbell, the longest serving NFF Board member, summed up the value of football in accepting the NFF Gold Medal, the organization’s highest honor, in 2004.


    “Football is the ultimate team game. There is no sport that requires so complete an understanding of your role: starters, subs, special teams, skill position, alignment, your gap, and your zone. The team doesn’t function unless everyone does his job,” said Campbell. “I believe in selflessness and ensuring that the group, the unit, the business, the team succeeds. I have learned that from this game, and I so desperately want others to have the opportunity to learn that as well.”


    Bill’s feelings echo the sentiments of the millions of people who have played the game and gone on to be great leaders in their chosen fields, and the National Football Foundation provides them a way to stay involved and give back. Campbell’s accomplishments also send a poignant message to our young people that rather than seeing their sports experiences as a way to become the next Bret Favre, Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods, the skill set that they gained on the field can provide them the tools to be great leaders later in life.


    Athletics are so deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society that they present a potent means for reaching multiple objectives. Corporations get it. They spend billions of dollars each year to reach fans and market their products. The media gets it, making sports a centerpiece of their content offerings. Politicians get it, utilizing sports metaphors in their daily lexicon. Military leaders get it, inspiring their troops with stories from “the fields of friendly strife.” The opportunity to utilize sports as a marketing vehicle is probably endless, but from our perspective there is probably no better marketing objective for football than selling a young person on the value of an education.


    Our challenge at the National Football Foundation is to capture America’s passion for football and channel it to ensure that the true value of the game remains front and center. With more and more young people playing football and more and more fans tuning in to watch games each week, the role of the National Football Foundation has never been more relevant and the opportunity for us to impact more young people has never been greater.

  • Brad Todd

    "Coach to Cure MD"

    Some of the best things about college football are the spirited rivalries, but on one Saturday each year thousands of coaches nationwide at all levels of collegiate football are on the same team, to raise awareness and research funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


    Duchenne is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during early childhood. A progressive muscle disorder that causes loss of muscle function and independence, Duchenne affects approximately one out of every 3,500 boys and 20,000 babies born each year worldwide. One of those boys was my nephew Joel, who was diagnosed with Duchenne as a toddler in November 2005. Coach to Cure MD was established in July 2008 as a way to raise national awareness and further the cause of Duchenne research to help young boys just like my nephew.


    In coordination with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), we approached The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) with a proposal to develop a signature, national charity event linking college coaches with our cause. One reason the AFCA was drawn to Coach to Cure MD was because of the unique parallels between Duchenne, a disorder which robs young men of precious muscle strength and college football, a game where young men are at the peak of their muscle strength. By the time football players pick up the game, their peers with Duchenne are beginning to utilize wheelchairs. Around the time football players sign college scholarships, our boys are using ventilators. And by the time a college football player hits his athletic peak, out boys our fighting for their lives – most young men with Duchenne typically live only into their twenties.


    This year on September 25th, 2010 you’ll see coaches across the country wearing a “Coach to Cure MD” patch on their sleeve in support of raising awareness for Duchenne and improving the lives of young men, just like they do on the field. Last year over 5,000 coaches participated, drawing attention and awareness with the patches, talking about the program in press conferences, and encouraging fans to donate through our website or directly through their mobile phone in the stadium. Many families show support by hosting “watch parties” or tailgates as fundraisers. Additionally, we run national TV advertisements that weekend through donated air time, and commentators discuss the cause and program during the televised games.


    As college season begins and old rivals battle it out on the field, be reminded of a different battle some boys are fighting. When game time rolls around on September 25th, and you see coaches with the Coach to Cure MD patch, know that it’s the symbol of commitment these college football coaches and Coach to Cure MD are making to improve the lives of young men.



Rick Jones

Office: 843-557-0535

Cell: 843-412-5605


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