The marriage of social networking and sport as celebrity may have reached a new level with CAA's announcement yesterday of WePlay, a social networking site designed to reach out to millions of active kids and their parents, as well as pulling in hours of childhood photos and video and current “look backs” from some of the biggest stars in sports today who have taken an equity position in the venture. Those athletes, ranging from Tony Parker to LeBron James to Derek Jeter, will have a chance to create pieces and dictate content which can directly reach a huge portion of young people interested in sports and communicating online. Unlike other ventures in the past where athletes became endorsers of sites which sold goods and promoted images, the site appears to have it all…unique original and archival footage, the ability to communicate with a peer group in real time, and the ability to merchandise sponsorship and partnerships to a large, active audience. Great concept which could be groundbreaking in the marriage of the professional and grassroots side.
Also on the digital side, Gillette launched the YouTube site for their Tiger Woods partnership to find the next phenom , another attempt to marry the grassroots with the professional endorser. The star power of Woods is a great move since he transcends every barrier and could produce some very unique downloads and traffic. On to some other good reads, one of the great sports events in the U.S. is the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, which begins this week. The Miami Herald's Linda Robertson took a look at the sport, and gives her reasons for tennis’ recent resurgence, which is great news for marketers as the summer approaches…on the March Madness side, Jason King's Yahoo piece on the followup of Western Kentucky hero Ty Rogers is a great example of taking the time to delve into the human side of March Madness, and worth a read…and on the downside, the lack of speaking with one voice and undercommunicating from top down is evident in today's Birmingham News, where several former AAFL coaches and staffers spoke out about the problems of the suspended league…not a good sign for the fledgling lead, but maybe a cry for leadership that a savvy marketer could step into…lastly, Darren Rovell's Minor League logo contest ended with a bang, including one team accusing another of chemical enhancement…pretty creative stuff again from some of sports most savvy marketers, the minor league teams.