Tonight in Unpacks: The Honey Baked Ham Company is known for supplying food for holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now with its biggest media spend ever, Honey Baked is getting into sports for the first time. SBJ’s Jason Wilson talks turkey with Honey Baked about why it views college football tailgates as a market ripe for its products.
- Meet the New Voices Under 30 Class of 2023
- Presidents Cup hospitality sparked new idea at Tour Championship
- Sports Media Podcast: The fantasy life of Matthew Berry
- Notre Dame football means big business in Dublin
- Op-ed: Sports media valuation based on potential, not performance
- Big 12 hires U.S. Integrity to monitor betting
- Pelicans launch sweepstakes to promote NBA Cup
In this morning’s Buzzcast, SBJ’s Abe Madkour tucks into a news-packed Wednesday:
- Does White Sox’s front-office shakeup hint at Reinsdorf’s future plans?
- Royals making steady progress toward a new multi-use ballpark district
- LPGA’s enlistment of Fenway Sports Management gives it more sales horsepower
- PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan strikes confident tone
- Texas Motor Speedway ups the ante in the video board arms race
- AT&T Stadium getting renovations to keep up with Jerry Jones’ ambitions
After 65 years, Honey Baked Ham decided that 2023 was the time to utilize sports as a marketing vehicle, and it will roll out the “GameDay is a HoneyBaked Day” promotion, reports SBJ’s Jason Wilson. It’s seven-figure campaign targeting college football, focusing on schools in the ACC and SEC. It’s the company’s biggest campaign ever (outside the holidays), and it features integrations with ESPN that include Paul Finebaum and Laura Rutledge.
A signature piece of the campaign is a 10-stop tailgate tour, kicking off Sept. 2 in Charlotte for the neutral-site South Carolina-North Carolina matchup in the Duke’s Mayo Classic, which will also be the site for ESPN’s “College GameDay.”
Honey Baked is best known for family gatherings, be it holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas or other traditions that benefit from a ham or turkey on the table. But as CMO Tripp McLaughlin points out, tailgates are just “another neat occasion” that fit the type of gatherings and traditions that the brand could target.
“That tailgate occasion, the football season, just felt like a perfect fit” for Honey Baked to market its products outside the traditional holiday season, McLaughlin said.
Despite it being the day after Thanksgiving, the brand sees Black Friday – with its growing roster of marquee games across myriad leagues — as an opportunity to bridge its new sports media spend with its traditional holiday campaigns.
“There easily could be a great tie-in there, particularly extending what we’re doing right now and bringing that through the full holiday season,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll be working with our partners just to make sure that we do have kind of that seamless kind of communication and content calendar that goes directly from football into the holidays and maybe even back into football or other sports as well.”
The fifth class of SBJ’s New Voices Under 30 represents the rising generation of sports business leaders, dealmakers and influencers across the industry. SBJ and presenting partners Anheuser-Busch, MGM Resorts International and TurnkeyZRG will recognize the entire class at a special event on Oct. 19 at the Aria in Las Vegas.
Nearly 200 nominees were considered for New Voices Under 30, and judges met in-person earlier this month to select the honorees. A special section in the Oct. 9 issue of SBJ will profile these executives. For the full list, click here.
The PGA Tour is debuting a new hospitality space on the first tee this week at the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, reports SBJ’s Josh Carpenter.
NetJets, an official PGA Tour marketing sponsor, is the title sponsor of the new NetJets Starter Lounge, which covers the left side and back of the first tee at East Lake Golf Club. Tournament Director Alex Urban said about 250 tickets were made available for the week at $2,500 (Thursday-Sunday), and only a few remained as of this afternoon. The lounge’s first level is climate-controlled and offers hospitality pass holders unlimited access to food and drink. The second level is a covered area and is open to any regular tournament ticket holder.
Last year’s Tour Championship featured a normal general admission grandstand, Urban said. But after seeing the record hospitality buildout at the Presidents Cup in Charlotte, Urban and his team decided there was opportunity to enhance the fan experience at East Lake. “What they did in Charlotte was give us a window into what was possible.”
Upon arriving, players will make their way through the lounge and down a stairwell to the tee box of the par 4 first hole.
“We’ve got this unique first tee moment that a lot of tournaments don’t have because we only have 30 players,” Urban said. “So how do we create this impactful moment for the players, give them this sort of gladiator feel?”
On the ground at the Tour Championship, Carpenter also interviewed CBS’ Trevor Immelman about his first season in the network’s top golf analyst role.
Fantasy guru Matthew Berry joins this episode of the Sports Media Podcast just a week after news broke that he raised $2 million for his Fantasy Life venture, with an all-star roster of investors such as Casey Wasserman, AEW CEO Tony Khan, Bills QB Josh Allen and Bengals QB Joe Burrow. Berry discusses his move from ESPN to NBC and how he rode the rise of fantasy sports to create a career. Berry also offered his thoughts on where the sports media business is headed and how today’s stars can amass audiences.
Hosts Andrew Marchand of the N.Y. Post and SBJ’s John Ourand discuss the biggest sports media news of the day: ESPN’s decision to part ways with Lee Fitting, the executive behind the massive success of “College GameDay.” Marchand and Ourand discuss daytime studio changes at ESPN and Fox shows “First Take” and “Undisputed.”
The college football season gets under way this week, but Guinness already has a win under its belt with its sponsorship of the Notre Dame-Navy game in Dublin, Ireland, reports SBJ’s Michael Smith. Guinness, the official beer of the Fighting Irish and a Notre Dame global partner, plans to send 250 people — Diageo execs, employees, customers and distributors — from the U.S. to Dublin for Saturday’s game, which will be the first of the season.
This week’s SBJ College newsletter also covers:
- More schools pursuing mixed-use developments on campus
- Ohio State, Ole Miss lead CFB teams on Instagram interactions
Tonight’s op-ed comes from Active International Senior Research Analyst Danny Senor on the state of today’s sports media landscape.
“There is a bubble ready to pop when it comes to sports valuation. Local sports are already in a questionable state as RSNs are fighting for their survival and many national networks are reevaluating where they spend their money. The growing value of sports doesn’t seem to be slowing down just yet, and the upcoming NBA negotiations might even lead to more growth. But as any athlete knows, a rapid growth spurt doesn’t necessarily translate to long-term success.”
Read the full submission here.
- The Big 12 hired U.S. Integrity to use its software monitoring tools to prevent athletes, coaches and staff from engaging in prohibited sports wagering, reports SBJ’s Michael Smith.
- To accelerate local ticket sales for the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament, the Pelicans are staging a $1 million “We Win, You Win” sweepstakes, notes SBJ’s Tom Friend.
- Pasta sauce brand Botticelli Foods is looking to expand its partnership with appropriately named NASCAR driver Anthony Alfredo — the company’s first deal in sports and its largest marketing spend of any kind, writes SBJ’s Adam Stern.
- CBS drew 3.03 million viewers for the final round of the BMW Championship on Sunday as Viktor Hovland won the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, reports SBJ’s Austin Karp in this week’s Audience Analysis.