L.A. is like a car wreck. You don't want to watch...but you can't look away. Los Angeles is not really my kind of town...but I always enjoy it in short spurts. AspenSpin rolled 101 miles North to Los Angeles in order to plug into the sports and entertainment media mainstream for a few days. In addition to some off-line debauchery, we attended 2 enormous events, the 2012 ESPY Awards and the Variety Sports Entertainment Summit.
Bucket List Item scratched: The ESPY's fulfilled my desire to attend a glamorous Hollywood Awards Show. The ESPYs is basically the Oscars for Athletes. A-Spin scored a seat in the last row (literally) of the Nokia Theatre at L. A. Live for the 20th annual ESPY Awards. While ESPN is a friend of A-Spin's program, we did not get the full-on hook-up, so no RCE (red carpet experience). It was just cool to be there, in person even if it was in the nose bleeds.
Rob Riggle , who hosted the show...is a very funny guy. His icy stare at Kentucy hoops coach John Calipari during the opening monologue got plenty of laughs. Riggle brought out media superstar TIM TEBOW within the first 2 minutes just to confirm that the show had started. The ESPY's annually occur on the quietest night in sports. The night after the MLB All-Star Game is one of two nights every year when all 4 major sports leagues are dormant. The ESPYs was broadcast to 175 countries in 52 languages. Tebow took home the ESPY for "best moment" for his 80 yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of OT against Pittsburg in last years NFL playoffs. This award ignited a twitter war with the Tampa Bay Rays, who thought their Game 162 heroics deserved the win. Coach Pat Summit recevied the Arthur Ashe Award in a very emotional presentation, with her son Tyler by her side. New Bronco QB, Peyton Manning delived the hardware to Coach Pat. LeBron James took home two individual awards and the Miami Heat won best team. Local favorites the L.A. Kings had to settle for "best upset". According to AEG's CEO Tim Leiweke (owner of the Kings) "it was no upset" . Our boyieee Shaun White won "best male action sports" and Bode Miller was in the crowd with a smokin hot date. The ESPYs was fun and it was good to be there, but it's basically the same as you see it on TV. Very few athletes made it up to the Mezz level at Nokia, and I had to smuggle my camera in but we got a few sick pix. Click SPORTS, MONEY and ROCK & ROLL.
Click here to see all the ESPY Winners:
Variety Magazine hosted The Sports and Entertainment Summit at the newly re-flagged Loews Hollywood. Over 400 attendees enjoyed a full day of speakers and presentations from sports media industry leaders, top executives, athletes and entrepreneurs. The list of speakers and panelists was extremely impressive. Keynotes from Tim Leiweke (CEO of AEG, the 2nd largest live entertainment company in the world) Dana White (President of UFC) and Tony Hawk (skater and businessman) provided tremendous insight into the Sports and Entertainment media business. The event was live-streamed to 145 countries in 52 languages...not bad.
A few take home points.
* Ad Revenue from the London Olympics... will exceed $1 billion.
*The Beijing Olympics produced 52 million unique visits and over a billion page views for NBC's website. In London 2012, NBC is poised to blow those numbers away.
* NBC will produce over 5500 hours of content in London. The much ballyhooed 3 platform deal between Facebook and NBC will have "no money changing hands".
* Olympic Sponsorship is way more integrated in 2012. Fewer sponsors, more activation.
* Ambush marketing... keep your eye on Subway.
* The USOC has 12 million Facebook fans (seems low??) and has established rules and guidelines for the athletes....on tweeting.
*AEG (Anschultz Entertainment Group) Owns or manages over 70 major venues and has 24,000 employees worldwide
* L.A. traffic even beats the BIG Shots. Tim Leiweke was a late for his keynote and offered up some choice rhetoric ... " the Highland off ramp was jammed".
* 12 years ago when Staples Center was built, L.A. was the "most immature sports market in the world" and #26 in the U.S. for conventions behind Omaha. Leiweke is very confident about NFL Football coming back to L.A., hopefully in the proposed privately funded Farmers Field in Downtown.
*Leiweke spoke about obstacles ahead for the stadium. "The L.A. City Council can't run a 7-11, let alone a municipality" and he added "the problem with L.A is that anyone can sue, and they do".
* Sports is social. It's the last bastion of live TV ..no time shifting. People now consume on multi screens and multi-platforms and age group is a key determination to how fans consume their sports.
* Data collection is the key...know your customer.
* Dana White did not attend College and had zero business experience when he bought the UFC (with partners) for $2 million. Last Saturday UFC 148 generated over $50 million in one per-per-view event as well as $7 million at the gate. UFC has licensenced an underwear line in Brazil. Over 200,000 units sold the first day. UFC's first bout in China is scheduled for November.
* Dana White is incredibly honest and authentic and his personality reflects his business. He has 2.1 million twitter followers. He stuck around for an hour after his talk to personally meet and greet over 100 people...individually. You can feel his passion for UFC.
* Social Media and the connection to fans today is like a "virtual autograph".
* NFL Red Zone is for "those with A.D.D. and a gamblers dream".
* Tony Hawk is the most chill dude on the planet.
* Kids think Tony Hawk is "named after a video game".
* His clothing line started when he had kids and could only fine "small versions of lame adult clothes". His sister and business manager started it in her garage His 19 year old son is now a pro skater.
*Tony admitted to being "a little old for a pro skater" but says he "walks the walk" every day and that he only associates with products that reflect his skater ethos. He has also sold more than $1 billion in video games with his name on it.
Variety's Sports Entertainment Summit was a fabulous event. We all know that sports media is an ENORMOUS business. Sports are not just games for kids anymore as billions and billions of dollars are riding on it. AspenSpin would like to thank Variety for hosting us at the Sports and Entertainment Summit. It gave us an opportunity to mingle and meet with athletes, agents, producers and execs from ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports and more. It was entertaining and informative and confirmed the age old adage....CONTENT is KING.
As far as Rock and Roll goes...we stayed in Hollywood at the center of the R & R world. We also caught a phenomenal photo exhibit, WHO SHOT ROCK and ROLL at the Annenberg Photography Space in Century City. I highly recommend this show if you're in L.A. Annenberg has a no photo policy...so we can't share any images, but it's an outstanding show that depicts Rock's history on film..