It happens every year and this year we got a double dose. The two days (used to be one) after the MLB All-Star Game are the days with almost no professional game in North America…Wednesday has become ESPY Day…a day also this year when Keith Olberman returned to ESPN and the NCAA announced it was dropping its license with EA Sports. Thursday golf also starts to grab its headlines with the Open Championships starting in Scotland. MLS is around, but their All-Star event is still a ways away on a day or days where it may be able to grab some additional eyeballs on these quiet days.
What do those days mean? A chance for other second tier sports…other events, to own a day with the right spin and marketing spend. What do we have ? We have the ESPY’s, again well positioned to dominate the night and able to draw star power from every sport imaginable into LA. What was started as a gimmicky celebration has really turned into a major awards event for sports and entertainment, now with all the social media trappings pulled right in. We also had well placed SEC Media Day and its Johnny Manziel hype, the official unveiling of a smattering of NBA signings and the Las Vegas Summer League, a handful of minor league baseball, as well as a trade or two, but the quietest days remained pretty quiet.
Now maybe because it is the summer and brands don’t like to launch new platforms with a challenged audience base, but if there is an emerging sport or brands around it, the Wednesday post-All Star remains the day to grab attention and even this year a Thursday without some MLB. Some ideas:
Youth sports: Much has been made in recent years about the segmented structure that youth sports now takes in our society. Some groups have launched “Sandlot Day,” which encourages kids to play without adult supervision. Maybe the day after All-Star becomes just that…youth sports day, with activation programs tied to camps around the country, supported with the loud voice of the White House as a vehicle for anti-bullying and the “Let’s Move” campaign. Maybe it was time for the world’s biggest game of checkers or chess, some stunt that united youth sports across the country.
Pro Lacrosse: Professional lacrosse still moves in fits and starts, indoor and out. Could they take advantage of the day after All-Star to stage their own mega-event. It would draw coverage and interest if positioned right, and mid-summer is not a bad spot for the outdoor game.
Tennis: It is the right time to stage promotions, Mylan World Team Tennis is winding down its breakneck schedule, the summer hardcourt season is going on out west, so could tennis use the day…or days for a strong grassroots push leading to the US Open? It used to be May being branded Tennis Month, but a period in mud-July could also stoke the interest and give some brands additional ROI
Now maybe it’s best that the sports hangover day is quiet, as people need some time off and maybe there is not the market to rally enough support for a July Wednesday for a mega-event. However brands and entities in sport are always looking for a window, a clear one, to launch and promote. One thing is for sure, if you were enterprising enough to find your way into AP’s transaction column Wednesday, your name was all over America’s papers and websites, as you could hear crickets coming from the world of professional sports this past Wednesday. Unless you were partying with the superstars in LA. Just a thought.