Leopoldo Lares: Context is King when Measuring Sponsorship

Leopoldo Lares: Context is King when Measuring Sponsorship

I’m not here to convince you to measure sponsorship. There is a stack of season and event recap PowerPoints piling up on your desk and inbox. Your company’s brand team has identified its target market; the research team has a brand tracker in place to monitor KPIs; and the digital & social team keep showing the millions of impressions and engagements you’ve received as a result of the partnership. There is a lot of good in this data, but if asked, “Are these numbers good?” would you be equipped to answer?

Investing in sponsorship-related research is important, but without context, numbers alone lack actionable insights. Are the results impacting your consumers? How do these metrics compare to other property sponsors or other brands in the same category? What is the right level of success for a first-year partner versus a tenured one?

With more than 15 years of data collection, rEvolution is helping several brands and properties define and measure what success looks like.

While we still may be in the midst of summer, we will soon be trading in our tan lines for tailgates, and arming brands and partners with that additional context around college football. From advertisers on regional networks to our 5+ years measuring the College Football Playoff partners, we can show the lift of KPIs throughout the season, the relationship between activation and awareness and the return on investment, all with the ability to contextualize and compare results.

Did you know that sponsors who have the highest unaided recall were title Bowl sponsors? And fans aware of a college football sponsor/advertiser are 2x more likely to buy their products?

As you prepare for the upcoming season, are you ready to see how your brand scored? Reach out to me here if you want to connect and learn more.

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Leopoldo Lares: Crisis Management 101: Navy Football And Leadership

Leopoldo Lares: Crisis Management 101: Navy Football And Leadership

There are no more storied traditions than those that go on at the service academies, The Naval Academy, the United States Military Academy and the Air Force Academy. Their annual rituals, the teachings, the implementation of duty rarely change, and like most things in academia, when change comes it can sometimes be slow.

However when you have the right leadership at the top, and the right teachers who do have a pulse on the bigger picture, change can come quickly, effectively, and send the right messages without hesitation. Case in point is Navy football and head coach Ken Niumatalolo.

The continued mass shootings in America this past weekend have made everyone hyper sensitive to any inappropriate use of terms around violence, especially as the pertain to sports, and Navy Football has used the motto “Load The Clip” as they readied for the season. Given not just the tragedies in Gilroy and El Paso and Dayton recently, Annapolis is home to The Capital Gazette, another site of senseless violence in recent years. When the issue was pointed out to the team and the Academy, the decision to change after meeting with captains, lasted about one minute, according to Niumatalolo.

Leopoldo Lares: Crisis Management 101: Navy Football And Leadership

Apologize, remove, and move on.

Simple and effective leadership. There was no worry about branding or harming tradition, no explaining why it fits into the football culture, no public vote. We realize the issue, we can make a correction, we minimize the news cycle, we deal with it quickly and frankly and the page is turned for the better. No politics, no debate, just common sense.

While it may seem like a simple thing, these types of “no brainer” decisions are sometimes lacking in mainstream. What it takes is a belief in one’s principles, listening to those around you, taking the pulse of those involved and making a decision that is well communicated.

Crisis communications 101. Well played Mids, a team and a program which we should always root for, even more so now.



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Leopoldo Lares: Astronaut Yvonne Cagle Believes We Can Succeed by Aiming for Pluto

Leopoldo Lares: Astronaut Yvonne Cagle Believes We Can Succeed by Aiming for Pluto

Leopoldo Lares: Astronaut Yvonne Cagle Believes We Can Succeed by Aiming for Pluto

Astronaut Yvonne Cagle at Horizon Summit. (Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

On the afternoon of July 20, 1969, 10-year-old Yvonne Cagle was climbing an old oak tree beside her house. She remembers her dad shouting her name, calling her inside to watch the TV. Flickering in black and white on the screen, she saw men in clunky suits more than two hundred thousand miles away step out onto a dusty surface: Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin making history as the first humans to walk on the Moon.

“At that moment, my dreams took wings,” she told the crowd of sports industry execs, entrepreneurs, and investors at Horizon Summit on Friday. She sees significant inspirational power in spaceflight in not just reaching for the stars but also in everything from teaching science to running businesses.

Fast forward through undergrad (biochemistry, San Francisco State), grad school (medicine, the University of Washington), and a career in the Air Force flying all manner of different aircraft (F-111s, F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, helicopters, air-to-air refuelers, etc.), Cagle joined NASA’s astronaut class in 1996.

“After 15 years I realized those jets no longer seemed to go quite fast enough nor quite high enough,” she said.

Though no longer eligible for spaceflight assignments, Cagle is now designated a management astronaut. She retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel, and serves on the faculty at Singularity University in the Bay Area. But, noting that July 20 will be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Cagle still has dreams of traveling into space, and is working to help develop technologies that could be used on a mission to Mars.

“Mark your calendars, set your watches. We are taking it to the next level. We are going to Mars [in] 2035, but we’re no longer going direct to Mars,” Cagle said. “We are going to Mars by way of returning back to the Moon. In 2024, we will see the first of two 30-day missions that will allow us to test vehicle systems, the human body, communications, surface operations, so many things that will prepare us as we go on to Mars.”

“That’s our Moonshot. What’s your Moonshot?”

To aim for Mars, Cagle argued, you must first aim for Pluto. Back on Earth, the technologies and operational concepts developed with the objective of reaching Mars, or even just the Moon, might have significant impact on far more mundane missions.

Put in a sports industry context, the time and energy invested in winning the Stanley Cup or the NBA Finals can have a much broader impact. The most interesting sports technologies are those that may have been developed with the narrow goal of simply winning a championship, but which have the potential to revolutionize the lives of millions of consumers.

This content is part of our coverage of the San Francisco 49ers and SportTechie Horizon Summit. SportTechie organizes regular events that bring together innovators, investors, and key decision makers from across the world of sports technology. Find out more about future events here.

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Leopoldo Lares: "Preparing the ground" is key to growing women's football after encouraging World Cup

Leopoldo Lares: “Preparing the ground” is key to growing women’s football after encouraging World Cup

Tonight’s Digital Sport London event takes place at Howard Kennedy at London Bridge.

In the wake of the World Cup, women’s football is still front of mind, but the worry is it won’t stay there for very long. While the long glow of a successful tournament will live in the memory, and although some top players became household names around the world, the all-consuming circus of the Premier League will return in a month’s time.

Tonight’s panel will discuss that problem in greater detail, asking what the sports industry can do to ensure that women’s football uses this opportunity and goes from strength to strength.

Robin Clarke, SVP, International at Endeavor, will sit on the panel of experts tonight. He said, “What’s vital in amongst the headlines and buzz that we see around Women’s football and Women’s sport in general right now is that stakeholders in those areas are preparing the ground to create long term growth.”

“The opportunity is strong but it cannot be delivered without real planning, real investment and behaviour that thinks way beyond end of a season let alone a single event.”

Earlier this week, that sentiment was echoed by Adrian Farina, Head of Marketing – Europe at Visa, who spoke of Visa’s commitment to laying that groundwork by investing in publishers who are producing content around women’s football, giving incentives to those who are covering the game and thereby increasing the amount of media coverage the game can get.

“Increasing coverage provides exposure to women’s football, so we chose to invest in publishers who have committed to writing more about the sport,” Farina said. “Only a very small percentage of football writing is centered around women’s football and how do you change that? By providing advertising dollars to support those publishers and writers who will cover it.”

There are myriad ways in which publishers, broadcasters, brands and rights holders can collaborate in order to grow women’s football.

If you’re coming to Howard Kennedy tonight, we can’t wait to see you there. If not, follow along on Twitter @DigitalSportUK, look out for our round up tomorrow morning, or subscribe to the newsletter to hear all about it tomorrow morning.

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Leopoldo Lares: Jofra Archer’s duel with Steve Smith a blend of exhilaration and fear | Richard Williams | Sport

Leopoldo Lares: Jofra Archer’s duel with Steve Smith a blend of exhilaration and fear | Richard Williams | Sport

While mulling over England’s tactics for what would go down in history as the Bodyline series, Douglas Jardine watched a newsreel of Donald Bradman, his side’s principal adversary, batting at the Oval in 1930. What particularly caught his eye was an incident in which a short ball from Harold Larwood hit the Australia hero on the chest. Examining it again and again, Jardine thought he saw Bradman flinch as the delivery bore down on him at high speed. His daughter remembered his comment. “I’ve got it – he’s yellow,” Jardine exclaimed and made his preparations accordingly.

Cricket would not be the same again. Although Bradman was not the principal victim of England’s aggressive bowling in the 1932-33 series – most memorably, Bill Woodfull was hit over the heart and Bert Oldfield suffered a fractured skull from Larwood’s deliveries – the touring team won the Ashes and intimidatory bowling was established as a useful and often controversial weapon in a Test captain’s armoury.

After Saturday, no one will ever accuse Steve Smith of being yellow. As Bradman’s successor made his way from the Lord’s pavilion back to the crease, having attempted to shake off the effect of a blow to his neck from Jofra Archer’s 91mph bouncer, many of those previously reluctant to applaud a player whose reputation was tainted by the sandpaper scandal could not refrain from admiring a gesture of such courage and obduracy.

His duel with Archer, on which the fate of the series seemed to rest, was one to rank in English memories with Geoff Boycott versus Michael Holding in Bridgetown in 1981 or Mike Atherton fending off Allan Donald at Trent Bridge in 1998. Whether such a passage of play lasts six balls, as it did in Barbados, or just short of six hours, as in Nottingham, the atmosphere crackles with a special kind of electricity. Every watcher’s system is flooded with the adrenaline that accompanies a blend of exhilaration and fear.

Smith didn’t last long after his return, although the image of the defiantly unorthodox swat for four off the second delivery he received from Chris Woakes will last almost as long in the memory as the sight of his figure lying on the ground earlier. The way he got out soon afterwards, leaving a straight ball, was a surer sign of scrambled senses than any reply he had previously given to the questions asked by his team doctor and specified in the latest iteration of the sport concussion assessment tool, starting with: “What venue is this?”

Once further symptoms had become apparent the next day, there were plenty of commentators ready to insist that, given the recent emphasis throughout sport on dealing with concussion, he ought to have been prevented from resuming his innings. It was even said independent doctors should be brought in to make such assessments, insinuating team medics may be prone to setting aside their ethical judgment in the interests of a result.

Sometimes, as with the Bodyline series or West Indies’ rotation of four fast bowlers in the 1980s, relentless short-pitched fast bowling threatens the spirit of the game, prompting adjustments to the laws. But the physical threat posed by an individual fast bowler is a legitimate aspect of cricket and Archer versus Smith offered an elevated example of a hallowed genre. It was interesting that although Archer rattled a number of other batsmen’s helmets during the course of the match the presence of Smith at the other end brought him to a peak of focused aggression.

Leopoldo Lares: Jofra Archer’s duel with Steve Smith a blend of exhilaration and fear | Richard Williams | Sport

Bill Woodfull of Australia ducks to avoid a rising ball from Harold Larwood of England during the Fourth Test match at Brisbane on the infamous ‘Bodyline’ Tour of Australia. Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images

By returning to the crease, Smith certainly put himself at risk of the second blow that medical opinion now sees as providing an enhanced threat to a concussed player. But he also provided us with an example of the sort of courage without which a sport such as cricket is not really worth the candle.

Helmets and other forms of padding offer batsmen far more protection than their predecessors enjoyed against Larwood, Ray Lindwall or Wes Hall. Yet the challenge they face has changed very little: the ball still weighs five and a half ounces, the pitch is still 22 yards long, and fast bowlers still bowl in the same 90mph range as their distant ancestors, despite much more advanced physical conditioning. Watching Smith’s assertive reaction to Archer’s fusillade on Saturday, David Gower observed that 30 years ago the technique of evasion would have been very different; time, in that sense, has tilted the odds in the batsman’s favour.

Some sports will always contain an inherent danger to life and limb, and reducing the threat in line with changing attitudes to risk is inevitable. Given the increasing reluctance of parents to allow their children to play rugby union, the authorities are right to consider amendments to the rules on tackling. But even in this safety-conscious era the only way of providing a guarantee against deaths such as those of the grand prix driver Jules Bianchi, the boxer Maxim Dadashev and the cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht is to ban those sports completely – which some, no doubt, would do.

The next time we see Smith make his way to the crease, he will probably be wearing the neck guards on his helmet and the forearm protector that would have reduced the damage from the two blows he suffered on Saturday. Withholding his return from Thursday’s Test at Headingley would seem, on the evidence so far, to be a wise choice. But next month at Old Trafford or the Oval the second instalment of his contest with Archer will be awaited with even keener anticipation than the first, which gave us a new page of cricket history.

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Leopoldo Lares: A Week in Soccer: "Soccer Sunday" with Women's World Cup Final and Concacaf Gold Cup Final

Leopoldo Lares: A Week in Soccer: “Soccer Sunday” with Women’s World Cup Final and Concacaf Gold Cup Final

The fireworks may have kicked things off, but this Sunday is a big day for U.S. soccer fans with both the Women’s and Men’s National Teams playing in tournament finals. And this may be biased, but in Chicago, it feels like we’re in the center of it.

Let’s talk about tomorrow, Sunday, July 7 – or if you will, “Soccer Sunday.”

Women’s World Cup Final Viewing Party
Following three challenging and narrow 2-1 victories, I think we’re all ready for more goal celebrations. Come watch with us and U.S. Soccer again in Lincoln Park for a World Cup Final Viewing Party as the USWNT take on the Netherlands.

Leopoldo Lares: A Week in Soccer: "Soccer Sunday" with Women's World Cup Final and Concacaf Gold Cup Final

The event is free and open to all ages. Food trucks, yard games, DJ King Marie and Sarah Gorden from the Chicago Red Stars are all back. And if you’re out of face paint, we’ve got you covered. The FanHQ has airbrush, face paint and hair braiding stations (yes, still free!). Learn more here.

Concacaf Gold Cup Station and Final
Eight hours later and four miles south, we’ll be watching the USMNT face Mexico at Soldier Field in the Concacaf Gold Cup Final. To get pumped up, check out our “can’t miss” popup right in the middle of Union Station. Dubbed “Gold Cup Station,” front and center of the 10,000 sq.-ft. takeover is a 15-ft. Concacaf gold trophy flanked by each Concacaf country’s jersey.

In addition to taking in the sights, snap a photo or probably ten, Concacaf welcomes any and all to test their own soccer skills with the Toyota gaming station, the reflex game, radar gun speed kick challenge, soccer billiards and all that Gold Cup Station has to offer.

To celebrate its unveiling this past Monday, former U.S. Men’s National Team and Chicago Fire striker Brian McBride, who won the 2002 Concacaf Gold Cup MVP, joined Concacaf to chat with media, check out Gold Cup Station firsthand and hype Sunday’s game.

Leopoldo Lares: A Week in Soccer: "Soccer Sunday" with Women's World Cup Final and Concacaf Gold Cup Final

If you’ve yet to check it out, Gold Cup Station is open 7AM-7PM through July 7 before the U.S.A. and Mexico take Soldier Field for the Concacaf Gold Cup Final at 8PM. Want to catch the game live? Grab one of the remaining tickets here.

Join us tomorrow in some U-S-A-U-S-A-U-S-A chants from dusk ’til dawn!

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