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Brand Activation in Sports: What We Learned in Austin and What It Means for Your Business

By: Andy Cooper

Austin is one of our nation’s most unique cities, something that rings especially true during SXSW. Each year, tens of thousands of visitors descend on ATX in search of music, film, barbecue and all the other things that locals do to ‘keep Austin weird.’

STATS joined the fray this year with a particular focus on the second-ever SXSports. SXSports is a series of panels in which leaders in the sports world discuss and debate ideas that will define the industry.

For those unable to attend (or those unable to remember their attendance), we created a March Madness-inspired bracket that highlights the most important themes, ultimately pitting one idea against another to identify the most important.

We divided our eight topics into two regions, aptly named for the places where we spent the most time in Austin – barbecue restaurants. The regions are:

IRON WORKS REGION: Custom Branded Content, New Social Platforms, Digital Event Consumption, Virtual Reality.

FRANKLIN’S REGION: Millenials & Sports, Internet of Things, Real-Time Marketing, Drones.

We then applied the following three criteria to each matchup: 1) accessibility to marketers; 2) resonance in the current marketplace; and 3) relevance in the future. We’ll call it the Desert Pirate Framework… ARR!

Before we reveal the winner, an ad from our sponsors. We encourage you to attend our webinar on April 1, when we will discuss the science behind our selections. This will be the first of our Webinar Wednesday Series, which will occur every Wednesday at noon CT and highlight key issues in the sports world. For more detail, please check:

And now what you’ve been waiting for. The most striking observation coming out of Austin is… Custom Branded Content. This was an easy choice as nearly every panelist in the SXSports presentations – as well as in the great SXSW conference – mentioned content in some form of another. It’s easy for marketers to attempt, but not necessarily easy to perfect. However, developing sports content does at least provide a large, captive audience. Finally, content, in one form or another, has been and should continue to be relevant to audiences. Creating content in a way that furthers your brand objectives, however, is the key.

One final reminder, for more on every topic we have covered, plus thoughts on the best ways to apply Custom Brand Content to your brand, tune in to our webinar this Wednesday, April 1. And we promise… no more pirate jokes.