Announcing The Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts: Turning The Playbook Inside Out

Historically, any sort of “Upfront” has meant putting the sellers front and center – be they the traditional TV networks, digital video houses, or sports & entertainment properties – for a dog and pony show meant to woo advertisers into opening up their checkbooks before the season begins.While this model has its benefits and is deeply tied to the way the TV business, and other industries, operate, it also has its flaws. Namely, that the spotlight is put on what the sellers are offering with little focus on what the buyers – the advertisers – actually need. Every brand has different objectives, challenges, and wants, especially in the world of sports marketing and sponsorships.

Historically, any sort of “Upfront” has meant putting the sellers front and center – be they the traditional TV networks, digital video houses, or sports & entertainment properties – for a dog and pony show meant to woo advertisers into opening up their checkbooks before the season begins.

While this model has its benefits and is deeply tied to the way the TV business, and other industries, operate, it also has its flaws. Namely, that the spotlight is put on what the sellers are offering with little focus on what the buyers – the advertisers – actually need. Every brand has different objectives, challenges, and wants, especially in the world of sports marketing and sponsorships.

Which is why we’re flipping the script with the Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts, a two-day virtual event, and the first of an eight-part series, which debuts November 12th and 13th, as part of our Livecast programming.

The public-facing portion of the program, slated for November 12th and the morning of November 13th, will feature a “who’s who” of senior level marketers and industry leaders, including the heads of sponsorship and sports marketing at the country’s biggest brands, who will spend the day sharing their work and insights, successes and challenges, and what the future of the discipline holds. We will look at what works well, and where there are opportunities to take a system – one complicated by a pandemic which changed the very nature of the game – to the next level. And finally, we will explore how brands can continuously leverage their myriad sports partners, athletes, and properties, to reach that highly coveted cultural relevance.

The program itself was developed as a joint effort between the Brand Innovators editorial team and their specialized Sports Marketing committee, and was designed to ensure that the content would address the most important topics and questions top of mind for big brand sports marketers.

“I’m excited to help launch this platform because I think it can be an important, first-of-its-kind forum to advance the dialogue on key topics and challenges that all sports marketers are facing in an increasingly complex landscape,” said Justin Toman, PepsiCo’s Head of Sports Marketing & Partnerships, member of the Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Committee, and Co-Chair of The Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts.

Topics will range from high-level keynotes on cultural relevance, fan engagement, and the future of sports marketing, to in-the-trenches discussions around converting physical experiences to digital ones, post-COVID property valuation, make-goods, repackaging and athlete partnerships.  

“The opportunity to bring an agenda together with many of the industry’s greatest minds has been extremely rewarding,” said Nick Kelly, Vice President of Partnerships, Beer Culture & Community at Anheuser-Busch InBev, Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Committee Member, and Co-Chair of The Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts.

“If the conversations we’ve had leading up to the event are indicative to what you can expect as an attendee, it will be well worth your time and hopefully leaves you better informed on how to work with some of the biggest brands in sports.” 

We are excited to formally announce the lineup of speakers and agenda, as of today, which includes:

Chris Davis, Chief Marketing Officer, New Balance (Keynote)

Ryan Eckel, Brand President, Tracksmith

Lance Evans, Senior Vice President, Sports & Entertainment, MGM Resorts International

Dan Fleetwood, Vice President, Global Sponsorships, SAP

Kieran Foley, Head of Partnerships, Brand, and Strategy, Danone

Dan Goldstein, Vice President, Marketing, The Skills

Kate Jhaveri, Chief Marketing Officer, National Basketball Association (Keynote)

Rahsaan Johnson, Director, Sponsorships & Brand Activation, United Airlines

Nick Kelly, VP, Partnerships, Beer Culture & Community, Anheuser-Busch InBev (Co-Chair)

Ricardo Marques, Vice President Marketing, Michelob ULTRA, Anheuser-Busch InBev (Keynote)

Tara McRae, Chief Marketing Officer, TB12

Todd Meleney, Vice President, Marketing, NOBULL

Frank Nakano, Managing Director, Sports & Entertainment Marketing, JPMorgan Chase

Cindy Nguyen, SVP of Enterprise Programs, Bank of America

Kimberly Page, Vice President, Brand Communications, AT&T

Jim Peters, Brand Content and Alliances Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company

Dan Pincus, Assistant Vice President, Sponsorships & Promotions, MetLife

Anne Ristau, Head of Global Sponsorships, Dell Technologies

Marissa Solis, Sr. Vice President - Core Brands, Partnerships, and Media, Frito-Lay

Shiz Suzuki, Head of Sponsorships and Experiential Marketing, AT&T

Siddharth Taparia, SVP, Global Head of Brand and Experience Marketing, SAP

Kheri Tillman, Vice President, Global Brand Development, HARMAN International

Justin Toman, Head of Sports Marketing & Partnerships, PepsiCo (Co-Chair)

Lindsay Ulrey, Vice President, Global Sports Experiences and Partnerships, American Express

The program is open to qualified brand-side marketers. For more information, the full agenda, speaker details, and registration, check out the Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts section of our site.

Interested in our events?

RELATED STORIES

Brands at Home: Tips from Parachute Home, Home Chef, Nestle & More

Read More

Innovator Interviews: Hive’s Co-founder/CCO Katie Tyson

Read More