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Why deadtime in your stadium is the most valuable sponsorship inventory you have

There is a misconception that I hear a lot from teams I speak with as far as why digital is not for them.

I hear it constantly “I want my fans focused on the game, not on their phones.”

Well first off I’d argue that this is a losing battle. Phones are a part of every aspect of our lives. Whether you like it or not, phones will be out in your stadium.

But there is a more logical reason for why this argument holds no weight and understanding this vital point will open your sponsorship value.

And it all starts with a graph:

You shouldn’t be worried about phones infiltrating the game time. They aren’t. The fact is most of our game time isn’t filled with our game action…most of the time spent in our stadium isn’t actually watching the game.

When we look at the real estate we need to fill we can look at the grey and teal in the above graph.

Those are the points when the phones come out. And as I always say…if you aren’t capturing their attention..someone else is and cashing in on your attention. Literally, dollars are evaporating from your arena if they aren’t engaging with your sponsor or team.

In the new world of in-arena sponsorship, this is our new inventory. How can we ensure total engagement to keep them focused on us?

Shifting from looking at inventory as physical space and looking it as time in your game day

In television, you don’t sell on billboard space or program pages for sellable inventory. You sell

When we think about how phones are infiltrating our stadiums we need to understand that most of the time they come out during breaks in the action during the game.

As we think about selling in this new world we need to think about activations in those breaks and the minutes they take up. We should be selling 30-second slots that pull fans in.

This means something that will convince them to interact with you and not something else. And brands are looking at this in the same way.

At a client game, I witnessed as a sponsor watched eagerly for their game break promotion. As their commercial played, a smile quickly turned to concern…They watched in the crowd as people stared at their phones…paying no attention to their promotion. Much like how we do to T.V. commercials today.

At the next meeting, they were rethinking the assets they spent on for the next season.

Brands now know that these commercials in our stadiums don’t hold the same weight because the phone is so prevalent.

You should be looking to make Super Bowl type engagement with this time

I like to think of this time the same way you would think about making a Super Bowl Ad. Not necessarily to create an ad, but thinking of it as creating something that captures our attention.

When you create a Super Bowl commercial, you are bringing out the big guns.

You want a commercial that someone will remember, talk about, and buy into. Why? Because it is your shot. All eyes are on the commercials and game.

On game day, we have the same attention in our stadiums. We have a captivated audience, at a smaller scale, but captivated nonetheless.

Our goal with this time should be shock and awe. It should be to create activations that have such a strong pull we can’t ignore them.

Much like a Super Bowl commercial, we shouldn’t look for a sales message. The best commercials are pieces of art. They tell stories and make us laugh, cry, and yell with excitement.

If we can fill this time with active assets that pull people in we can create unheard-of value for our sponsors and by affiliation, our teams.

Chicago Bulls and the Dunkin Race

One of the best I’ve seen is how the Chicago Bulls have engrained the Dunkin Race into their dead time. Fans love it and wait for it. It is a staple at the game.

This asset was perfect for keeping attention on the team and away from the phone. At SQWAD we helped them add another aspect to it and build off this time & real estate.

Now fans can choose which character they think will win on their phones and receive a Dunkin coupon when they win.

This next stage in deadtime engagement. Instead of fighting the phone, integrate it into the experience. Make it so when the fan pulls out their phone, they are engaging with your team and sponsor….not ESPN or B/R.

Check out the breakdown from Front Office Sports on the activation HERE.

And this works. If you remember back to our chat with Tyler, the 17 y/o sports fan, he could only name 2 sponsors for his team. One was because they sponsored a half-court shot, the other a coupon for free food if the team scored a certain amount of points.

How we capture the attention of our captivated fans in these moments is vital. Active assets in these minutes can open a connection between fans and sponsors that is unforgettable.

We need more of this, every minute should be filled with assets that are active in our game days.

Phones in our stadiums are not the issue. A misunderstanding of where our fan attention is and where our value today is structured.

The non-game minutes are where we can make the most impact. Utilizing our fan’s phones in these minutes is where sports sponsorship really brings value to our stadiums.

Don’t fight the phone…adapt and utilize it for more value, revenue, and trust in our teams.

The Importance Of Community Impact Assets In Sponsorship Packages

Today brands aren’t all about profit. Mainly because today customers demand that a brand make positive impacts on the world and our communities.

This means our sponsorship packages need to adapt as well if we are really looking to drive value for our partners.

We had a great Tip Of The Week jam session with Branden Harvey and the value of it was off the charts on this subject. If you haven’t checked it out, see below for the full episode but I wanted to pull out the key nuggets

First, a background on Branden Harvey

I’m blessed to be in the same space as Branden, who is the CEO of GoodGoodGood. GoodGoodGood is a media company that highlights the good in the world.

His publication works with brands to help promote the good work they do and is an expert on community impact partnerships and working with brands to highlight them.

I’m blessed to work in the same office space as Branden and jam with him on social, sponsorship, and advertising on a regular basis. After our chats, I knew I had to get him on an episode to share his knowledge and views on how we can benefit from sports sponsorship.

Brands are doubling down on community & impact initiatives

As Branden points out today’s community impact has never been more important for brands. Consumers today are more conscious of the positive impact a brand makes over price and even other marketing efforts.

Brands are noticing this trend and putting resources and dollars behind advertising assets that push this message forward and highlight their community initiative.

Knowing this, we need to ensure that we have sponsorship assets that will help them highlight these initiatives and drive reach and acknowledgment for your fans.

Offer assets that highlight these community activations as well as profit promotion

If your sponsor has community impact initiatives and you don’t put assets into your package that addresses them you are flat out throwing money out the window.

How can you find out? Very easily.

Search the company website on the news tab. If they have a company blog they will be highlighting these initiatives. If this fails literally Google “Company Name” community and news should show up.

Once you find these initiatives think of a few options that would really highlight them for your fans. This may be an in-stadium check presentation, Facebook acknowledgment campaign, anything that will get it in front of your fans.

One particular one I liked was one done with Rich & Zoom+ Care, a health company. For mental health awareness night, they had a mix of in-arena announcements and activations as well as a Facebook and Twitter campaign to highlight the initiatives.

When you find their initiative have a few options when pitching them that you can offer to them. It will help you drive the relationship and value you can bring them.

Sometimes the brand wants to put the non-profit front & center

A great point Branden brings up is sometimes the sponsor doesn’t want to be the focus of the activation…but instead puts the charity or non-profit into the forefront.

Make sure you are asking this when chatting about community initiatives. This can help you close the deal and even build a relationship with the non-profit for possible future work.

As you can see above Youth Line is a non-profit that Zoom+ Care has brought into the activation. Sometimes there will be more of a push to highlight them over the sponsor’s brand.

Overall, make sure that community initiatives are on your mind when pitching sponsors

Community impact is a huge part of the consumer buying decision today. Brands know this and are pushing this into their messaging to their customers.

Branden is in the trenches every day in this space and seeing results…there is definitely a carryover to our packages in sponsorship.

Be sure you do the research into which initiatives the brand finds important and put the assets that highlight them into your packages.

In-Stadium vs. Out Of Stadium Digital Sponsorship Assets…The Value In Each

Ice cream or soup…which is better? Tough question to answer.

Ice cream, on one hand, is great for hot days. It’s also sweet so it is meant for after a meal. You can eat it on a cold day in the winter…but man it is best in the summer.

Soup, on the other hand, is great for rainy days…and let’s talk about all the flavors. You can have tomato with

Each has its own value, benefits, and purpose. Each has a time when it is most optimal based on the environment around it.

The same goes for our assets in sponsorships.

Sometimes we clump our out-of-stadium assets with our in-stadium items expecting them to solve the same problems…well, they can’t.

Each has its own benefits and times when it should be used. Today I’m going to break down how I think about in-stadium vs out of stadium sponsorship assets when creating them.

First, you can’t have one or the other in today’s advertising age

Because of the smartphone sponsorship assets need to reach fans 24/7/365.

Why? Because the other advertising assets out there (social ads, search ads) are 24/7/365. We need to be able to reach our fans outside of the stadium in order to stay competitive with the brands we sell to.

On the flip side, you can’t only have out-of-stadium assets. If you did you would not have the competitive advantage of the ability to reach a hyper-focused, impassioned, and fanatical fan base in real life. The benefits of our games are they are an experience like no other.

You need about a 50/50 of both in your arsenal in order to be competitive. The problem is we are heavier on the in-stadium side…but we’ll get into that later.

In-stadium is all about 1:1 connection with a human and the experience

I can remember my first Warriors game like it was yesterday. I was seven and they were playing the Bulls. Scottie Pippen scorched the Chris Mullen and Latrell Sprewell led Warriors.

I can remember the first time I walked into Oracle (The Arena in Oakland it was called then). The smell, the food, the excitement in the arena. The memory of Scottie dropping at least 40 points and Mullen nearing the end of his career.

The experience is why I came back. This experience is why I fell in love. That experience is why I am a Warriors fan.

Our goal with the in-arena assets should be to engrain our sponsors authentically into that experience.

The value of in-arena sponsorship assets should do everything we can to harness that emotion and link a brand with it authentically.

In-stadium assets don’t have the scale (only about 838,000 for the best NBA teams in attendance) but what we do have is the emotional, in-person side of the equation.

It is like seeing the Eifel Tower in movies and in pictures…and physically standing underneath the structure, smelling the grass from the park in front of it, and feeling the humid summer Parisian air.

An example, linking a restaurant giveaway with a game-winning shot. The excitement of the win is now synced naturally with a free burger for the entire week. The experience is now synced authentically into brand promotion.

Or the Coca-cola slide at the San Francisco Giants ballpark. That is signage that brings up big emotions for me as my best friend was a Giants fan and took me to games where I would slide down it all the time. If you ask me to name SF Giants sponsors, Coca-Cola will always be one I remember because of the connection it brings to the game experience.

One of the most powerful ones for teams and brands comes with creating 1:1 connections with fans in the stadium.

I’ve talked about how we’ve used our activations at SQWAD to help Toyota do this with our Trivia to get their salespeople 1:1 with fans right on the glass.

Is this scalable? No. You aren’t going to reach all 800,000 fans that come into the stadium with this. But the impact you can make with 20 fans is more powerful than anything you can do in out-of-stadium advertising.

When we think about the absolute value of in-stadium assets…1:1 connection and syncing in with the passionate experience of the game is the key. Your assets should be funneling fans to 1:1 connections at all times. This is the true value of your in-stadium items.

If you have in-stadium assets that aren’t fueling 1:1 connection and syncing with the experience…you shouldn’t expect a high price for them.

Out of stadium assets are all about scale…but the secret sauce is personalization at scale

One problem I have with the out-of-stadium assets in sponsorship today is they have no personalization and are many times redundant.

Let me explain.

A common asset out of the stadium we sell is branding on score update images…

Let’s be honest, there is little connection a fan will have with a score update. Even more so, I don’t go to your Twitter to check scores…I will hit the team app or ESPN app.

Here’s how personalization at scale can work with our out-of-the-stadium assets with the score updates. Instead of having a simple score image, have a super fan or celebrity record a video of his take on the game at the end of each quarter.

You are getting a personalized take from a fan on how he/she is seeing the game and enjoying the experience. You can bring them into your world as a team.

Imagine getting Marshawn Lynch’s take each quarter on how Cal football is playing with the score to the right…then imagine how many retweets and comments that post will get.

Then imagine linking Skittles to that by having him eat Skittles while reporting.

You as a fan will remember that asset…and you can reach 1M people with that asset every game. Then, imagine if Marshawn thanked fans for tuning in and gave them a website where fans can win free Skittles…but they had to enter their email.

Take that email, re-target with co-branded Cal football & Skittles ads (My mind is going to Marshawn Ghost Riding the medical cart with Skittles pouring out at every tight turn) to buy the Marshawn branded Skittles or tickets to the next game.

Or even better Marshawn answers 20 fans with a recorded video thanking them for tuning in and offer to send them a month worth of Skittles.

Above is just one idea of how to get more personalized with your digital assets and still hit a large scale. Cool videos are of highlights are great…but we can do so much more to really stand out in the digital arena.

Out of the stadium, assets are best for brands looking for scale, but we should focus on how we can personalize them.

The fusion of the two in a package is when the magic happens

There is nothing more beautiful (for me at least) than a perfectly placed pass over a defender for a touchdown.

With this simple action, there are so many elements, some seen and some not, that play a role in this action.

The same goes for our sponsorship packages.

It takes a perfect blend of in-stadium & out-of-stadium assets to reach perfection in connecting our fans with sponsors.

This mix is one of personal touch & experiences (in-stadium) and constant touchpoints (out of the stadium) that help build a relationship. There should never be a package that you put out in front of a sponsor that doesn’t have a strong mixture of both.

Sponsorship people are mixologists with two base alcohols. Our job is to make the best drink that fits the tastes of both our sponsors and fans.

Make the perfect drink.

Corona Virus, The Effects On Sports Sponsorship, & How To Prepare.

I held off on writing this because I really didn’t want to incite panic on what might happen and drive clicks if it wouldn’t actually bring value and was all based on the scare.

I also held off because of the seriousness of the consequences… I feel that promoting the scare to drive clicks can do a lot more harm than good as we are somewhat seeing on the various social and news media outlets. The same can be said about under-reporting as well.

Well, we’re here. I am seeing real effects start to pop up for us in sponsorship that we need to address and be cognizant of. The effects of the virus are hitting us in our stadiums, in the marketing budgets that make up our revenue, and will in many more places than we thought of.

It is still early, but very real concerns are starting to be voiced by some of the sponsors, through our teams, that we work with. These concerns almost all lead to pulling out of at least some of their spending with a team.

Again, my goal here is not to be an alarmist…but to prepare us for what is starting to transpire and help us build a plan for if it does get worse so we can help our sponsors and teams survive whatever comes down the pipeline.

First, the markets are in free fall… which means sponsorship budgets will shrink

As with any recession, brands will panic and see their marketing budget drop with turmoil in the markets.

And really what this means is they won’t spend on items that they see as “extra” or “risky”. I’m not saying sponsorship is either of those things…but sometimes for sponsors, it is seen as a ‘nice to have’ and ‘luxury’.

I have written about this before, but anything that doesn’t prove value is usually the first to go, a lot of these items are ones that build brand & awareness…which is something that we have a lot of in our sponsorship packages.

78% of brands report the pressure to validate the financial results of sponsorship initiatives has increased in the past two years according to research conducted by Forbes.

Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB). 60% of CMOs are under increased pressure from the CEO to communicate, measure, and grow the financial impact of their long-term sponsorship portfolio investments on shareholder value and financial performance.

If the CMO is under pressure before this Pandemic…then they will really be feeling it now.

With this, they will look to cut the fat and advertising platforms that can’t fully prove an ROI metric…and we have a lot of these assets in our packages. Understanding this and that you will come under more pressure to deliver & prove ROI in the coming months will be vital.

Second, because sports are event-based and people aren’t coming to events…the first thing they will cut is in-stadium sponsorship

In sports, we are hit hard because most of our sponsorship value & dollars come from our in-stadium experiences.

We’ve seen some leagues in Europe cancel attendance at games and have them play in fan-less stadiums. This is a real scenario for us in the states as well.

With the uncertainty comes brand uncertainty that they should spend their money with us if there is no one in the stadium to see their signs. And it is a valid argument, why spend money on something that people won’t see (minus the social media reach of the 3 seconds while watching a game)?

I think you will see a domino effect similar to what we are seeing with conferences. Once one team does it…the others will start as well.

With March Madness on the verge of no attendance…this would be the big first domino to fall to start this chain reaction in my opinion…The other being the Olympics.

If this happens you will see more concern and uncertainty with your partners in renewals or new business.

Be ready for this thinking as you are in renewals. It is something that we are seeing brands start to have concerns with while talking with some of our teams.

Third, and this is the sleeping giant, customers can’t get their product in many cases…so what is the point of advertising

This is what makes the corona recession worse for us than others. Most of our consumer product brands get their inventory made in China. As most of you are aware…not much is coming out of the country.

And it isn’t just China, many other countries are slowing down production as workers are being asked to stay home to avoid the spread.

To add to this, airlines are canceling flights. A lot of inventory is shipped on the airlines you fly with below your feet and with flights being canceled less opportunity to ship products is driving rates up and the ability to transport down.

What we’re hearing is sponsors are hesitant to advertise and sponsor our teams because what is the point of advertising if there is no inventory to sell.

You can push back with the value of branding…but I think that won’t be enough to keep many deals.

We are hearing from some of the organizations that we work with that same concern with sponsoring teams that comes with the above issue. No access to inventory coming in means they have little to sell. So why should they sponsor and advertise? (an answer below on that).

Okay…now some solutions

I gave you the reasons for concern…but I don’t want to end there without any solutions…because what good would that be?

Below are some solutions to what you see above. Some may work, some won’t, but I think we have a shot at surviving if we think about responding with the below.

If your sponsor comes to you with budget restraints…make sure to remind them that businesses that invest in marketing in recessions survive.

Again, we’ve written about this before, but brands that spend more on marketing in recessions come out on top statistically (sales) than those that don’t.

As with any recession scare, educate them on this and mitigate the fear in order to open the budgets. Let them know that your goal is to have them be the company they write about who came out on top at the end of it.

If you can do this, the confidence in your solution as the right one to go with will increase for your partners. It shows you’ve thought through the situation, have a plan, and are ready to implement successfully with the partner.

If the ‘no attendance’ policy hits…our audience has just shifted their attention from in-stadium to online.

Really in sponsorship, we are selling attention. Attention is in our stadiums, on social, and in our streaming.

If we go to fan-less stadiums we simply have to shift our assets to where attention will be.

This means opening up more inventory on our streams…more reads, contests, and ways they can reach what should be a double or tripling of the streaming audience. Opening up new digital, social, and broadcast assets to mitigate the lost value of your in-stadium ones will be more important than ever.

And don’t forget about social media, if fans can’t go to games many of them will be deprived of that connection with the team. Increase in-depth social posts and link sponsors to these new pieces of inventory.

If you explain to them that attention has simply just shifted and you can open up new assets for them to engage in different mediums, this will relieve a lot of their concerns and ensure your product as an advertising tool is still valuable to them.

For the “no inventory” issue, dive into the inventory they have left

This point is a tough one as we have little control over it..but there is a way to solve as with all issues.

The first thing I would let the sponsor know is our goal is to help them sell all the inventory they have, in particular the items they haven’t been able to move.

I would ask which inventory they do have, focus on a plan to sell it to our fans, and build that into the shift in attention.

An example, offer a pair of tickets with each purchase of their product, again focusing on the items they have been having trouble selling. Fans will be ticket hungry and it is a great way to get their products into the hands of fans. This will drive sales.

The goal should be to help them grab cash now to survive the wave with products they have had trouble selling in the past. This extra revenue they weren’t expecting can make up for the revenue they are losing by not having access to new inventory.

Overall, create solutions for the changes, ensure you are in this for the long run and be the stable & flexible solution.

Right now there is turmoil in your sponsor’s lives right now. A lot of unknowns & speculations. The best thing we can do right now is to be the flexible and stable partner for our sponsors

If we can come to them with solutions where others haven’t, we’ll build long-term relationships with the people who are feeling the pressure. We want to be a relief, not a burden, at all times to our customers. If we can be the relief during a tough time…we’ll earn their trust and build a great relationship for the future.

This virus has brought chaos and tragedy to the world…let’s make sure sponsorship is the bright light in the turmoil.

Close More Deals By Selling Benefits, Not Features In Sports Sponsorship

“People want a 1/4 inch hole, not a quarter-inch drill.”

This quote (paraphrased) sits in the office of Rich Franklin as a reminder that our customers want solutions toward their goals…not the features that get them there.

Sometimes we forget this in sponsorship when talking to our brands. We get so enamored with the assets we have (signage, social media, digital activation,

And sometimes there are pressures from our sales goals. Listen when I was a salesperson in the game I felt the same thing. You have certain assets that haven’t sold yet and your goal has in it to fill them. There are definitely those structural pressures.

But if we want to win long term in sponsorship…we can’t sell features. No matter the pressure, no matter how enamored we become with the assets we have.

This week on The Inches Podcast Rich & I dove into why it is so important to sell benefits and not features in our sponsorship meetings. You can read hear the whole episode HERE but as always below are the key highlights.

“People want a 1/4 inch hole, not a quarter-inch drill.”

This saying is so important because it gets you in the right mindset when thinking about how you will get a customer.

For me at least it is a constant reminder that the client is not buying the physical item.. they are buying the desired outcome.

It also is a reminder that there are many ways to drill a hole.

You work at a hardware store and someone comes up to you and asks “I am looking to drill a hole”. As a salesperson ( I hope) your first action isn’t to grab a drill off the shelf and ring them up.

What comes next is the question “what surface and how big of a hole?”

Why? Because you are trying to help them find the best tool to get the job done.

A power drill, hand-power drill, you can hole punch it out if the wood is thin enough are all ways to reach the desired outcome.

Hell, if they don’t care how accurate the hole placement is you can shoot a 1/4 bullet through the wood (probably not the case…but here to cement the different ways to solve the problem).

Above are all features..but we have no idea if there are any better than the others for this customer unless we find the desired outcome.

Benefits matter more because the FIT is the entire game

In sponsorship, it is no different from the scenario above.

When clients come to us (or we convince them to come to us by going to them through outbound) they are looking for an end outcome that helps their company grow.

They don’t want to buy our signage. They want to buy the awareness that comes with it in hopes that when your fans are in the supermarket they choose their product.

This is why understanding FIT is so important before we even bring up assets. We need to establish their goals, desired outcomes, and hopes for marketing plans to understand which features would be a fit to solve this.

Finding FIT is the entire game because of this. If you don’t find fit, it will be hard to be successful.

We also have to be fine with walking away if there is no fit

The most beautiful part of this mindset is when the rare but great moment when we walk away because there isn’t a fit.

To truly harness this idea that you are there to help your customer reach their end goal, you are fine with saying we don’t have any features to help them get there.

Now, I will caveat this by saying the reason you should be really diversifying your assets, or features is so you have the assets to cover every marketing goal a sponsor may come to you.

But, the key here is if you really live by this mantra you are fine with walking away when there isn’t a fit. And it really boils down to understanding that no long-term relationship can be built if you focus on features.

When I sold restaurant ads in travel guides I fell into this. I sold sections in the book I had to fill rather than understanding the specific goals the restaurant had.

For example, if a new restaurant wanted to attract travelers I made the mistake of putting them in a section of the book without really understanding what set them apart. We put their logo on the page and it was passed over when looking over the options.

As you could imagine, the ad performed poorly (well, the perception of it did because there is no trackability with a paper ad..but that is a topic for another day), and when it was renewal time the customer churned.

What I learned to do is go eat at the restaurant when they moved into the lower end of the funnel. I ate their food, observed their atmosphere & experience, and was able to craft a much better listing (the feature).

If a restaurant had an amazing or unique entree, I would suggest they put an image of the meal as the ad instead of the logo. If they were located next to an attraction I would suggest they post their ad on a page that highlighted that attraction.

Their placement was the feature here, but I would focus on the benefit when selling. “ You will be the only sushi restaurant on the page, this is going to really help you stand out to visitors and drive customers.”

This change brought value to them. People would come in and ask for the entree they saw in the book or mention they saw the attraction in the book and saw the ad.

By understanding the end goal and organization I was able to sell on benefits. If I felt that we couldn’t help them, I would walk away and thank them for their time…no matter what my sales goal was.

I’ll end this mini-story with I never missed my sales goal because I was able to fill my pipeline to the brim with this benefit mindset. It works so well you have no problem walking away.

At SQWAD we have the same mindset. If I can’t help you sell more sponsorship (benefit) with one of our activations (features)…I’ll walk away.

Listen more than talk in finding fit…and do the research

Ed Reed is one of the best safeties to bless the football field. He was an athlete with amazing ability…but so are many players in the NFL.

But this isn’t what set him apart, it was his manic film study.

He studied so much field that he could tell if the play was a run or pass for a team based on the way a certain player broke the huddle. If they jetted out to get set..it was a pass. If they were slow to the line…it was a run.

If we really want to have a benefit mindset…then we have to be manic about the end goal of our sponsors. This starts with listening and research.

Before you even get on the phone with a sponsor, you need to go to their website and look over their news section. Do they have a bunch of new hires? A community initiative? A new product launch?

These are all free pieces of information that help us have an initial idea of how our benefits will fit their goals.

When you reach out you have some ammo for the call…but you shouldn’t assume you have the answer. It is VITAL to listen.

Ask the questions, shut up and listen, and start to think about how your benefits will help their end goal.

Your customers are the cheat code…they have all the answers to the test. Finding a fit first comes with listening.

Your assets are a pathway to the end goal

We’ve basically talked FIT to death. You’ve found the FIT, now what do you do?

The next step is to craft our assets to help them reach that end goal. You find the features that help them reach the end goal.

Again, your unsold inventory or sales goals cannot filter in here. Take all that out and find the assets that push fans to the end goal. It is like crafting a journey or story path to the end result.

If it is a Milk brand and the end goal is to increase sales you need to map out the path to this end goal.

See a sign or read in-stadium, play a game to win a coupon for a milk discount, re-target the fan with segmented milk ads on social media, and a special bottle in the supermarket branded with my team logo is the optimal pathway I would craft to reach the end goal here.

Maybe add in a promotion from a player for the influencer effect.

It wouldn’t matter if I had 10 ticket packs to sell in my sales goal sheet and I wouldn’t add it in because it doesn’t fit the end goal as well as the others. There would be no fit there.

When you craft your assets to sell, you have to be fanatical about the benefit of FIT before you offer it.

Overall, always sell benefits

I think you all get the point now, but this is really the difference between a huge sales year and a ton of renewals and missing the mark.

No amount of hustle or outbounds can replace the value of understanding your customer’s end goal and selling benefits.

Benefits, benefits, benefits. Always sell the benefits.

How to build a winning culture in your organization with Mike Johnston

Every time I hear Mike Johnston dive into building culture…I’m blown away.

For those of you who don’t know who Mike Johnston is, he is the Vice President, General Manager, and Head Coach of the Portland Winterhawks Hockey Club in the Western Hockey League. Mike is a seasoned staple in hockey with stops with the Canucks, Penguins, and many more.

On the ice, he has helped turn the Portland Winterhawks into a winning machine after it was in the depths of the standings each year. The team pumps out NHL top draft picks and stars each season.

Off the ice he has built a culture that is unrivaled…and this culture has a direct segway into our work in sports sponsorship.

This week on The Inches Podcast we were blessed to have Mike Johnston on to chat about how he builds culture and competes in the organization.

You can listen to the whole episode HERE…but see below for the key insights from the chat.

The Environment is so important

Mike dives into the environment early in his talks, because the goal is to set the environment up for the future. Most people focus on what is happening on the ice, but the environment at home is most

As you build a great culture, the place to start is with the environment. It gives you the foundation to build upon to reach success. It is how Mike started at the Portland Winterhawks.

When he came on to turn around a losing organization the environment was the first stage. Why? Because, as he says, if they could take care of the culture..they had a chance to recruit.

In the beginning, they had no chance at success because they didn’t have the personnel…they had to make the environment to build up their roster of players.

The first step here is very important and really actionable to us in sponsorship.

The first thing that Mike did was ask the question “If I’m going to send my kid to Portland…what is on my checklist?”

What I love here is he puts his stakeholder first. He doesn’t say “What player skills am I looking for most to build a winning team?”…he focuses on what the player and their family need to see in order to pick the Winterhawks.

We can do the same thing in sponsorship for both our employees and sponsors.

First, let’s dive into building a winning culture for our employees. Many times we think about which school we’d like to recruit from or certain sales experience we’d like to see…but what if we flipped it around.

What if we answered the question “If I was looking for my first job in sports…what would be on my checklist?” and built our program from there. You would see similar results that Mike has seen on the ice with the Winterhawks.

Now let’s take that philosophy to our sponsors and sales. What if we built an asset package and offering around “If I’m going to spend my money with the (Your Team HERE), what would be on my checklist?”

This helps us take a deep dive into what the customer needs, what may be out there as a competitor, and helps us build a package around the customer…not the money we can generate.

Culture starts with building the environment…the environment starts with a checklist to understand your stakeholders.

Getting feedback & input from the whole organization

This story is one of my favorites and I have been a part of a session like this with Mike.

As we know in sports there are on the ice and off the ice (business) parts of the team. Very rarely do the two of them crossover.

But off the ice departments absolutely impact the on the ice. So what Mike does is bring them together in a meeting.

While at the Canucks he brought together the Marketing, Accounting, Ticketing, and other departments to ask a simple question.

“How can you help us win on the ice this season?”

He gave them 5 minutes to chat and think about it before asking them to share.

Each department of marketing & ticketing came back with ways to fill the stadium, make the experience better, and keep the energy up in the stadium.

But the most important came from the accounting department. After thinking for a while and being a bit stuck they came through with one of, what I think, one of the most important items toward on-ice success.

There were two players who were coming to Canada for the first time…and they weren’t really sure how to set up a bank account in the new country. So accounting helped them with setting up an account.

The value this brings shows how everyone in the building can help the team be successful. it takes everyone to reach a common goal. It takes the entire organization…but more importantly, it takes the entire organization coming together, unified, to reach the goal.

In order to unify your team, you have to build an inclusive culture. One that brings people together to understand their value to that goal.

Finding a ‘Compete Level’ more than skill in scouting players

When Mike goes to scout and finds players he is looking for players that are going to compete over skill. This, I think, is key to their success.

What really stood out to me was when Mike says “to compete is a choice, it’s not size…it’s heart”. He’s looking for players that aren’t maybe the most skilled, they don’t jump out off the page, but when you watch the film they will compete to win.

He’s looking for energy players. Ones that can come into a room and bring energy to it immediately…not energy vampires. Ones that suck the energy out of the room. This comes with their body language, how they speak, and how they walk onto the ice.

And he’s had success finding gems with this tactic, finding gems that aren’t drafted in the Bantam draft but end up becoming NHL players. When you find these players who bring energy, have a high competitive level, and bring them to your organization you have a chance to win.

We can bring this advice to our sponsorship departments. When we look to build culture and bring people in we should be looking at these facets like the highest points of interest when choosing whom we bring into our environments and teams.

If we can keep out. the energy vampires…we have a chance. If we can keep from becoming an energy vampire…we can be successful in building a successful work culture.

Closing prospects and convincing players to come to Portland

The last segment here I think is really important to the success that Mike and the Winterhawks have had over the years. One thing I’ve noticed since working with the team has been the amount of top-tier talent that they have been able to bring in, cultivate, and watch head to the NHL and play at the highest level.

When closing a player and convincing them to come to Portland, Mike says mindset is the #1 thing.

When walking into the meeting with a prospect Mike focuses on why the Winterhawks are a great fit for their son and the player’s future. He asks the goal of their playing career and they make a plan to fit that.

If the goal is to go to Denver University after playing…the plan is set to fulfill this goal.

What I love about this is the insane focus on the fit with the player. His goal is to find out how he can help them reach their goals.

This leads to another key point…in the meeting, Mike never brings up another team. His focus is solely on how he can help them reach their potential at the Winterhawks.

This is key for us in business. When we can focus on why we are the best solution for the client…we will win. We aren’t comparing to others. We know what value we can bring and are on a mission to see how it can help fit their goals.

Overall, building the foundation and environment builds a great culture

Culture can turn any organization around from the bottom of the standing to the top. Building a great environment brings great talent. Competitive talent. Ones that will skate through a brick wall to win.

What I learn from Mike every time I hear him speak is in order to build up a great organization you need to start with the environment. It may take some time to build. You will make mistakes. But if you build that foundation…you can be successful.

I can’t think of an industry where this can be more successful if we implement it than in sponsorship.

The Great Pivot In Sports…What It Looks Like On The Other Side

There is a great quote from a 19th-century banker Nathan Rothschild that I love and keep coming back to.

“Great fortunes are made when the cannonballs are falling in the harbor, not when the violins play in the ballroom.”

In sports, cannonballs are flying.

Our games are canceled or postponed. Our opening day nixed. The celebrations of new seasons and postseasons brought to a screeching halt.

The things we took for granted have slipped away in an instant. And I will say for the better. This virus is something that has brought the human species to places we’d never thought we would be.

In sports, it is dark day. But as the above quote by Mr. Rothschild points out dark days bring opportunity for brighter ones for those that take action.

Sports are on the brink of a great pivot. It has been slowly coming, it is not a new pivot, but this crisis has forced us into hyper-driving this pivot forward to survive.

The Pivot to not rely on our live games

For centuries sports have relied on live games to carry us.

At first, you had to go to the game and be there, otherwise, you would have to read about it in the newspaper the next day or week.

Then came the radio. We could listen live and hear the roar of the crowd from homes across the country.

Then the television can and we instantly were put into the stadium from our living rooms. Entire schedules were moved around to ensure we saw the live game.

Sports are some of the most exciting events in the world, and for that, we’ve had a crutch. We’ve leaned on the live portion too much to survive.

And this makes sense…because they have never been taken from us.

But as we have more channels, we have more ways to bring our fans into the world of our teams, our players, our organizations. We have more avenues for us to engage & connect our fans with our team.

This pause in play gives us the opportunity to build assets that highlight the other portions of our organization when live games aren’t there.

We can build up our arsenal of YouTube content, social media images & games, in-depth analysis segments, things that fans crave.

We can make this pivot because we have time. The Cannonballs falling in the harbor is forcing us to adapt to a system that is less dependant on the live game to carry us…and we’ll be stronger because of it.

The pivot to digital

We’ve fought going all-in on digital for a while in sports. There have been various reasons why that I won’t get too into here…but we haven’t jumped in as much as we should have.

Well, today the only way you can reach your fan is through digital. This crisis has forced you to adapt.

Some of us will are in a better place to capitalize on it. Some of us are in a worse place. But all of us have the time & opportunity to build up our channels & content in the digital space.

If you don’t have a great YouTube presence or channel…start building it today with old games and new content.

If you haven’t been on Snapchat as much as you would have liked…start building content and a presence for the channel so you can reach fans on what is the modern-day texting platform for many.

And Tik Tok…if you haven’t ventured into that world what a perfect time to consume and create your first videos of content.

This is the perfect time to take risks on these channels and building up content on them. You can learn while engaging your fans and build a collection of channels that will bring value long after this crisis is over.

The pivot to creating content outside of live games

Some YouTube channels and social media pages are full of highlights & interviews, things that rely on live games being played.

With no games maybe for months…now what?

This is a perfect opportunity to build new segments and windows into your team that fans will eat up. A new way for you to reach fans when there are no live games.

Outside of just creating the channels, the content is more important. The ideas you come up with here will be the value that lasts.

Can you set up a way to ask players who may be isolated one question on the game of basketball where they answer the question via video?

Can you set it up so fans can send in their questions via video that players can answer?

This campaign would exponentially build up your following on YouTube while creating a consistent content campaign that will survive for years to come.

This shut down gives us the ability to try new things, build new content, and break from our reliance on our live games for content.

The pivot to sustaining content creation outside of live games in order to be better set up for another crisis or the off-season

The best part of not relying on a certain aspect of your business is you can survive in hard times and thrive in easy ones.

With a true pivot to not rely on live games for content, you will build a library of content for the off-season to become a 24/7/365 team for sponsors & fans.

Anything you come up with to survive now will pay 2X after. You will have assets that will reach fans at every angle.

If we can build these assets, channels, and shift the way we engage with fans we will be in better shape to survive this if it comes again and thrives until it does.

Great fortunes are made when the cannonballs are falling in the harbor, not when the violins play in the ballroom. Be the one who profits in both the harbor and ballroom.

The great pivot is here in sports. Profit from it.

How you should adjust your assets for sponsors when games get started

Ok, we are past citing that it will be a new world when we come out of this. Obviously, things won’t be normal for a long time…especially in sports.

It’s time to take action, adjust, and make sure we aren’t the team that sat idly by as the world changed. It’s time to assess how we can help and provide for our sponsors.

And there are a few places we can focus on while we look to create a strategy for when games come back.

This past week on The Inches Podcast Rich Franklin & I dove into how you can prepare for the new world and create assets that fit your sponsor, fans, and arena needs.

You can listen to the full episode HERE, but I’ve outlined a few of the key things you from the episode that you should look at.

Looking past the 30–60–90 day plan: How does the new world look?

Hopefully, by now you have made your plan organizationally to push through this time and have a game plan. If you haven’t Check Out This Article on how to do that.

Within that time I think it is vital to map out what the new world looks like for your sponsors, fans, & building.

Unlike other recessions, this one involves social distancing. We are getting used to staying away from each other.

Overall it will be vital to dive into how each element of your sponsorship assets have changed with the pandemic as well as how your sponsor’s game plan has changed.

This is what we’ll dive into today. How you can see the holes and adjust.

Your assets will need to change because fan habits will change

We don’t know what will happen socially to us as humans when this is done, but as I said this is a pandemic. We are being conditioned to stay away from each other in order not to spread the virus.

If I had to bet, there will be some spillage into this when our games come back.

As Rich chats about, the opening week with sports back should see stadiums full of people as we’ve been deprived of sports for so long. BUT I do think after that opening weekend there will be hesitation to go out into big crowds.

So how can this affect our sponsorship assets? Well, a couple of items to think about.

First, we may see lower attendance numbers, to begin with when games get started. This obviously hurts our in-stadium signage. Fewer fans mean fewer people seeing the signs which is something that sponsors are paying for.

Second, a lot of our activations are experienced-based. I’m thinking about the Party Decks, in-stadium lounges, and booths that we constantly interact with on a human-to-human basis.

Again with a pandemic, we need to see and think about how these assets may change and be transparent about it with our partners. Some who were looking to buy these spaces may have some reservations now as they may sit empty.

In addition, there will be a recession with this. Does that mean we will see fewer fans at the game? Probably, unless we can offer some sort of ticketing deal through the sponsor.

What this also can mean is your digital assets are much more important. A couple of reasons for this, but the big thing is digital assets are more trackable than others. This means that your in-stadium assets may need to come down in price while your digital comes to the forefront as brands with less cash might need to see a direct ROI on their assets.

This doesn’t mean we get rid of them, it means we have a conversation with our sponsors to make sure the asset is still something they think can help their brand AND be clear with them that there may be less use from fans as the season starts.

If you set this up early with your sponsors it shows a couple of things. First, the fact that you are thinking of the sponsor first in the process. Second, it sets up the expectation that there may be a decline in use.

What I think is most important not to underscore here is perception is the reality in most cases. Even if fans will use these assets throughout the season, you may get questions on these assets.

Overall what we need to do is look through all of our physical assets and ask the question “How does this asset shift in the new world.”

Is it better? Is it worse? What concerns will sponsors have with the asset?

If you can see this coming you can adjust in time, answer the concerns, and be in the driver’s seat for handling any concerns from your sponsors.

It is a must to go through all of your assets and have a real conversation about how they do in the new world.

Your sponsor’s needs will change because the economic environment will change

We can’t assume everything is back to normal and the same needs our sponsors had will be the same.

Market environments, customer needs, industry cutbacks, all of these things need to be analyzed in order to understand.

And of course, the first step is talking with your partners. As we’ve said before if you haven’t called your sponsors…call them now and see how you can help.

But overall your team needs to take the time to look at all of your sponsors, look at the industry forces affecting them, and look to understand how you can help them in the new world.

An example that I keep bringing up is our restaurant partners. They are experiencing cash flow issues now…but the worst is not here yet.

If you look at the surveys across the board people are saying that they are less likely to go out to eat post-pandemic for a couple of reasons, economically and health-related.

This means that we need to shift our assets from maybe signage to items that will drive people to restaurants to eat. This could be loyalty programs, coupons, player appearances, anything that gets fans into the restaurant and back in the habit of eating at their location.

So what can I tactically do?

Your sponsorship team should be looking at all of your sponsors, make a list, and underneath write up how their industry and world have changed.

Then, once you understand how their world has changed, re-build their packages to help them navigate in the new world.

If you understand this for each sponsor you can diagnose the best assets needed for your sponsorship to be successful in their new world.

If you do this, you can do what 90% of advertising companies can’t/won’t do. You can be the guiding light that shows them how to get ahead.

Understanding both of these will get your team ahead.

When games start back up we will be in a new set of goals, social norms, and buying habits. If you can be the team that took this into account you can be more successful coming out on the other end.

You can be the team that cared for and totally understood their needs.

You can be the one they want to go through this time with.

It is vital for your team to assess and adjust your offering for both your assets AND your customer needs. If you can do this, you will win.

Get started today.

Being The People’s Champ For Your Sponsors Is The Most Important Thing Right Now

In the infamous words of acclaimed Chicago Poet Chance the Rapper:

“The people’s champ must be everything the people can’t be.”

These words have always rung out to me whenever hearing them when the song would come onto my playlist. What does it mean? How do you become the people’s champ?

In sponsorship, it is our moment to become the people’s champ for our business communities. It is our moment to drive value and sales in some of the darkest times for businesses and communities in our lifetime.

Our job has always been to bring value…but that value is so much more important now.

Our motto, mission, and vision for anything we do for the next year need to circle around being the people’s champ for our partners.

What does being the People’s Champ mean?

To me it means when you have the platform, doing something to help when it is unclear on the return.

That may be a bad explanation…but in my head if I had to put it into a succinct strategy…that’s what I would say.

What this means for us in sponsorship is we have to be willing to blindly help both our partners AND the others hurting in our community.

Of course…the partners come first. They have been there for us maybe when the team hasn’t done well. Some may have renewed with us when we didn’t quite hit our mark with them.

I wrote about this in our 90-day plan post…but if you haven’t heard this yet CALL ALL YOUR SPONSORS AND CHECK IN ON HOW THEY ARE DOING RIGHT NOW.

Some may be weathering the storm…some 2 days from closing for good.

Being the people’s champ is doing whatever is in your power NOW in order to make sure that doesn’t happen. And I mean whatever without thinking about how they pay you back.

An example, many of our restaurant partners are hurting…and really hurting. It is one thing to ask your fans to dine at your partner’s establishment.

But again, we are at a point where we need to think deeper than that for each partner. We need to build in plans for each partner that we

Instead of just posting an image of whom you should purchase from and who does takeout…we can do better to drive sales & value.

With your social media content, post the menu of a partner restaurant each night with a special deal of the night sponsored by your team where you can make up the difference for each fan that buys.

Right now gift cards are a key cash flow way that restaurants can stay open. They can be a huge lifeline for your restaurants.

Your team can run a contest, tournament, whatever creative way your social team has made to connect where the entry fee of $10 buys a gift card to your partner restaurant as well. This will SAVE some of your partner’s businesses.

If you did a new contest each week (or day) you could literally create a stimulus package for your restaurant.

If you want to be the people’s champ…this is what you need to do. You need to blindly help your partners who are in the most vulnerable in this crisis.

Show empathy & go the extra mile to help. Don’t do a cost-benefit analysis. Now is the time to act.

What about any non-partners?

Here’s is where it gets tricky, but I may have a different tune here than others.

I think you should look to be the people’s champ first, of course, for your current sponsors. But really, to truly be the people’s champ in your community…you should look at all companies in your community that is struggling.

I would offer assets to all restaurants, gaming, small business, travel, and others in your community. Don’t charge them. Don’t sales pitch. Literally, let them know that you are here to help in any way possible.

Again the people’s champ is one that puts others above their short-term & long-term gains. Your focus is on the survival of the community. If you truly take the people’s champ path…then you have no problem offering this to all businesses.

I don’t want to downplay here that you should give more time to your current partners. absolutely don’t throw them to the side. Give them the love and support first, then when you have openings open the assets for the others.

Being the people’s champ will pay off

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up that in the long run being the people’s champ will pay off.

This does not mean you do it because it will pay off if you have that in mind it will backfire on you. You should be the people’s champ because it is the right thing to do.

But if you show solutions, at no charge, at some of the most desperate times in most of our lifetimes for your partners and help them weather the storm you will build an unbreakable loyalty with your partners.

You will be the lifeline when all looked lost.

You also will be the organization that came through with solutions and results for your entire community in a time where there weren’t many. I’m talking about saving jobs, businesses, and the local economy.

These acts of going all-in for your partners will change the course of history for your community. Of course, being tied to that means you are building value

Doing the right thing is always the right thing because many times it will pay off in the long run. This doesn’t mean we do it to expect something back later…it just happens that it will bring value later.

I’m not telling you to go bankrupt as a team. Obviously, there are limits to this and your team needs to make money. What I am saying is there are many low to no-cost ways you can do more to help your partners who need it the most right now.

Our job in sponsorship right now is to be the people’s champ

When our partners buy into a sports sponsorship, they are buying into a support group, a community, and an organization they can lean on when times get tough.

Well, it’s time to show up for them in the best way we can.

You may disagree with me here…and that is fine. Again you have to look over your team and make sure you all make it out on the other side. I empathize with the fact that your team may not have the cash luxury of doing this.

But this is a great time to get creative. A great time to see how we can bring value that moves the needle without spending a lot.

The people’s champ is everything the people can’t be…you have a following, signed jerseys, players, and a rabid fanbase that wants to help.

Be the people’s champ in what may be one of the darkest times in our lives for business.

The 90 Day Plan For Sports Sponsorship.

The first stage was a bit of a shock for most of us when games ended. It seemed like overnight we were game-less, plans in the trash, and now scrambling to still bring value to our partners.

Well, that shock is over. It’s time to get to work and build something for whatever comes on the other side of this.

Last week on The Inches Podcast Rich Franklin & I got really tactical on what your 90-day plan in sponsorship should look like for your team.

I especially appreciate this because for myself, and most people in sports, we haven’t been through a recession in our professional lives. This is all new to us. I’m happy I can lean on Rich for some insight.

You can listen to the whole episode HERE. But as always, see below for a quick overview.

The First 30 Days

Right now there are two items that will be most important, ensuring your partners are okay and ensuring you have the structure in your department so you can execute quickly.

Call your partners

Although you have been hit hard in sports…many of our partners are hanging on by a thread.

These are the partners that trusted your team to help them reach their marketing goals. Some new…some have been there for decades.

Well, their marketing goals have changed as fast as yours have as a team.

You need to call them all, make sure they are okay (or as okay as they can be), and see how you can help.

The ones who will be hit the hardest will be restaurants, live events, and gaming partners.

Other than this being the right thing to do, you can be one of the only stable links in their business chain right now. This will pay huge dividends in the relationship you’ve built with them.

One thing I’ve been seeing on LinkedIn right now by many teams has been showing which food partners are doing delivery and take out. This, I’m sure, came from calling the partner and seeing how they can help.

The first thing you need to do is call each partner, let them know you are at their disposal and offer to help in any way possible.

If you haven’t called ALL your partners. Stop reading this and do it now.

Structuring your department to move fast

In this time of uncertainty, it is as vital as ever for your sponsorship department to be aligned toward the goal of getting on the other side as unscathed as possible.

Set up daily calls, set up your own organizational 30, 60, and 90-day plans, and focus on the top 3 ways you can help your sponsors over that time.

If you set up this structure you can move fast, adjust, and really come out on top.

DO NOT SELL…at all now.

This is probably the worst time to sell. You can send out a plan for what their structure may look like to keep them on board…but do not try and sell any assets unless they are still coming to the table to chat.

Your job right now is to show empathy. Understand your partner’s business. Understand your point person’s role. Understand how this is affecting their business.

In the first 30 days, the above is more important toward revenue for your team than the sales you may be able to squeeze through right now in pitching.

Days 31–60

Build digital assets, get creative to create avenues that were lost in sponsorship

This is a crucial part and I’m loving that many teams are starting now with creating digital content. I wrote about The Great Pivot that we will see in sports last week (click here to read) but I think this is the time when you start executing on new activations that will help your sponsors through this storm.

What are the ways you can engage fans on Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram as they miss sports, and how can you get your sponsors involved.

Day 31–60 should be executing on that. Finding a plan that will help them get through this AND building assets to do so is where you

Let me caveat this by saying you don’t have to wait 30 days to start this. If you have the assets ready and they are a fit…do it as fast as possible.

Again speed will win here. Don’t be sloppy but many partners are day to day on staying alive. If you can offer something that helps today…do it.

Overall, start building the assets that will last no matter how long this crisis lasts. The teams that can execute this will win now and later.

You are investing time in items that pay off in the short and long term. I really think we’ll look back at this and see it as a renaissance of digital assets in the sports world.

Again, Day 31–60 should be executing. Keeping in touch with our partners, adapting, and executing.

Day 61–90

Understand the world has changed for your fans & sponsors

Rich points out here something that I think all of us need to really remember.

The sponsorship world we know today will not be the same on the other side.

It’s looking like we’ll be headed toward a pretty big recession, which means marketing dollars will be dried up, some of our partners may be put out of business, and some looking back out of all they committed to before the shutdown.

You can’t be the team that offers the same assets as it’s business as usual on the other side. You will need to get creative with the assets you offer, cut some packages down, and offer some price breaks when needed.

It will be vital that your team has a plan for the post-crisis economy. This plan will vary from partner to partner as some will be hit harder than others. But this is where the last 30 days should be focused on so you can hit the ground running when games hopefully come back.

The same assets & strategies won’t work as they did before.

Trackability will be more important than ever. More on why HERE.

The right message and game plan for a recession will be more important than ever. More on that HERE.

Fundamentally understanding that things will not be back to normal post-crisis may be the biggest superpower you will have in getting back out there and selling.

Don’t get caught off-guard when games start

Understand that games will start again…hopefully sooner than we think. We don’t want to get caught scrambling to bring value.

The first 30 days of the season will be the most vital. Sponsors will be looking at your assets and be thinking if they still believe they can move the needle for their goal.

Make sure you go through each of your sponsors, understand how they’ve been hit the hardest with the crisis, and create a solution to knock it out of the park for them in the first 30 days.

Overall, stay positive. We will all make it through this.

It’s looking rough out there right now. There is a ton of turbulence and unknown.

For me personally, I am thankful I have someone like Rich to chat with who has been through it all before. Understanding that if you do the right things you too will make it through this is vital right now.

It is even more important that we help our partners et through this as well.

Be well, be healthy, and I hope this plan helps you all thrive through this new time.