Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Breakthrough for Role Players

For several years, The Sports Resource has recommended companies use non-superstar players for endorsements. Role players who excel in specific ways or possess unique traits can build brands at a much lower cost than superstars.

The news that Hawks guard Dahntay Jones signed a partnership deal last week demonstrates that companies are coming around to this concept. The 6-6 Jones sees just 12.4 minutes per game, but plays sensational defense.

With this approach in mind four years ago, we created a sample on Marreese Speights. What makes this a winning strategy for brands? 

1)      Many role players, such as Jones, have large audiences on social media. He had over 21,500 Twitter followers. This creates opportunities for brands to interact with thousands of fans through the player’s voice. 

2)      Every NBA player excels in at least one vital area, or else he wouldn’t be on a roster. For a defender like Jones, brands could use insightful defensive metrics to activate the sponsorship. 

3)      The cost to sign role players to deals is far less than what it takes to land a superstar.

We also believe companies should identify and sign promising young players for endorsements before they break out – a tactic where analytics provides a huge edge and can save millions of dollars.

Speights, now just 25, possessed considerable upside four years ago. And while he’s yet to see big-time minutes, he remains a very productive role player. Speights puts up 20 points and 10 rebounds per 40 minutes. Only 10 other players currently match that achievement, including stars like Blake Griffin and Tim Duncan.

Should this trend gain traction, players who build their brand on social media will get endorsement opportunities that only the superstars previously enjoyed. As for brands, we’ve already detailed why it pays to activate sponsorships with statistics. And that approach works great for all types of players.

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