Representatives from the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, Major League Soccer and the YES Network Gather at Herrick to Consider the Influence of Digital Media in Sports
More than 100 members of the sports business and digital media communities recently gathered at the offices of Herrick, Feinstein LLP to consider the proliferation of digital media in sports.
In a discussion moderated by Daniel A. Etna, Co-Chair of Herrick's Sports Business Practice, Jayne Bussman-Wise (Brooklyn Nets & Barclays Center), Chris Schlosser (Major League Soccer), Michael Spirito (YES Network), Holt Hackney (Hackney Publications) and Herrick Corporate Department Co-Chair Irwin A. Kishner explored the transformative forces at play in the digital sports-media landscape.
Among the topics discussed:
- The Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Media in Sports
Panelists considered the practical advantages of incorporating digital media into the sports experience, some of which include the ability to build loyalty for team and league brands, the ability to drive fans to the stadium or arena, the ability to capture new revenue streams, and the ability to attract fans who might otherwise not attend games. Difficulties discussed included digital security and privacy concerns, and the challenges in policing pirated content while not turning off fans by over aggressively policing such rights.
- The Future of TV Everywhere in Sports
Panelists discussed the business, legal and technical challenges that remain to be overcome before true TV Everywhere – the ability to access sports content at home and on mobile devices – becomes a reality. According to the panelists, TV Everywhere will be a reality, it's just a matter of when. Herrick's Irwin Kishner noted that as the "triangulation" of teams, leagues and regional sports networks develops, "entities will have to give careful consideration to protecting their intellectual property so they can harness existing and newly created revenue streams."
- Digital Media - Brand Builder or Money Maker?
Panelists agreed that monetization and brand building are both critical parts of a robust digital media strategy for teams, leagues and other intellectual property holders. Also considered were the various business models for distributing digital sports content, including free content, subscription-based content, "freemium" or advertising-supported content, micro-transactions (allowing fans to access specific pieces of content for a small fee) and the licensing model, whereby content is licensed to a provider who pays royalties based on the number of fans accessing the content.
- Fantasy Sports – Friend or Foe?
Fantasy sports participation has surged more than 60 percent in the past five years. Today, more than 32 million people aged 12 and older play in the U.S. and Canada. Have fantasy sports cannibalized stadium attendance? Panelists discussed how their organizations and the industry at large are capitalizing on the popularity of fantasy sports. Considered were the benefits of integrating a fan's "at home" experience in the stadium, the use of stadium-area Wi-Fi to keep fans engaged, the introduction of fantasy statistics and updates on stadium scoreboards, and the incorporation of "Red Zone-type" highlights on stadium screens.
- Social Media
Who has the most to gain from the use of social media in sports – the players, teams, leagues or networks – and how can social media be used effectively by all? And considering recent incidents involving ill-advised player tweets, to what extent should players be restricted, or encouraged, to connect with fans through services like Twitter? These and other questions were considered, as teams, leagues and players continue to look to various social media platforms to connect with fans, build goodwill and create buzz.
About Herrick, Feinstein LLP:
Founded in 1928, Herrick, Feinstein LLP is a prominent law firm headquartered in New York City providing a full range of legal services, including real estate, art law, bankruptcy and business reorganization, commercial litigation, corporate law, employment law, government relations, insurance, intellectual property, sports law, and tax and personal planning.