BitPay Strikes Deal With Georgia Tech

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bitpayBitPay, the leader in business solutions for the bitcoin digital currency, today announced a partnership with the Georgia Tech, brokered by IMG College and funded with the new currency.

BitPay’s logo along with the bitcoin symbol will be on display in Bobby Dodd Stadium and the McCamish Pavilion through the 2014/2015 school year. The IMG team is facilitating introductions as BitPay sets up merchants to accept bitcoin.

“Pairing an innovative technology company pioneering a new digital currency with Georgia Tech is a great match,” said Kristen Rose, General Manager of Georgia Tech IMG Sports Marketing. “The use of bitcoin in the sports world is brand new, and we’re proud Georgia Tech is leading the trend through this partnership.”

The sponsorship was paid with bitcoin, the first peer-to-peer digital currency. Using bitcoin, it is possible to send money like an email without going through a bank or government. BitPay works with businesses to make it easy to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

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The State of the Nation – Futbol in Canada

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Today’s guest post was written by Darryn Renaud and Avish Sood. Darryn and Avish are the co-founders of The Sponsorship Space, an online resource dedicated to providing the most timely and accurate analysis of trends in the sponsorship industry. They are based in Toronto, Canada. 

 

TFC vs LFC 21-07-2012 Friendly Anthem

 
If you watched the World Cup in North America this year, you likely heard someone pose the question “Has soccer/Futbol FINALLY arrived in the USA?” With the recent rise of MLS in North America and the impressive US ratings for the 2014 World Cup final, (roughly the same amount of people watched the final USA game against Belgium as the Championship game) the answer to that question will be debated for years to come. But what about the USA’s neighbour to the north? Canada is a true melting pot of cultures, many of which immigrated from Futbol crazed countries, but could soccer ever take precedence over hockey, and does it need to in order to finally be considered a top tier sport?

Canadian’s in Brazil

According to FIFA organizers, Canada was the 11th best-represented nation in Brazil, and by far the best-represented nation not competing in the tournament, purchasing over 29,000 tickets. This comes as no surprise to many as 1 in 5 Canadians are born in other countries, many of which are soccer crazed nations. When walking down the streets of Little Italy in downtown Toronto, this mix of fans was very prevalent. No matter what teams were playing on a given day, you could be sure of two things – both nation’s flags would be proudly displayed, and the victor’s fans would be cruising the streets honking car horns and celebrating into the wee hours of the night. It was truly an electric atmosphere, the excitement brought smiles to the faces of everyone, ESPECIALLY the local business owners who received a steady stream of daytime customers throughout the month.

Canada in the World Cup

With 3 teams competing in the MLS, (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal) hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and preparations being made to bid for the 2026 World Cup, there is no doubt Canada is looking to grow and expand its soccer presence. The real question is, if Canada’s national team does make it to a World Cup, who will Canadians root for? Will their cultural background still be their priority, or will their Canadian pride take precedence? Even though the 110th world ranked Canadian National Team may be a long way from making the big stage, Canadians would likely be, well… Canadian – enjoy a frosty beverage, take it all in stride and be happy for whoever wins the match.

When looking at the Canadian National team’s World Cup record, it would be hard to argue with anyone that roots for their home nation and suggests that Canada “stick to hockey”.

-          1 World Cup appearance (1986)

-          0 World Cup Goals

-          0-3 World Cup Record

 

With 1 in 4 Canadian children aged 5-14 still engaging in soccer on a regular basis in an ever-declining youth sport participation era, it is safe to say the future of the sport is bright in the North. If Canada ever does make another World Cup, choosing which team to root for would be a great problem to have for the nation, although I am sure most of us would be happy if they manage to score a goal that year.

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Six Thoughts on the World Cup and Its Influence on America

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When Julian Green scored his first World Cup goal, an entire country stood, flailed their arms, and took another swig of beer. There was still hope for the US Men’s National Team.

Expectations weren’t high for the Americans in Brazil. Their goal was just to make it to the knockout stages, and climb out of the hellhole that was Group G. But when they did make it to the round of 16, nobody was content. For the first time in a long time, there was real hope for the US Men’s National Team.

That’s why Julian Green’s goal against Belgium was so substantial. The 19-year old striker (he’d be finishing his first year of college!), in that moment, became the youngest goal scorer in World Cup history for his country. Green isn’t a spectacular player for his club team in Bayern Munich. To Americans, he’s like soccer baby Jesus, but to European fans, he’s just the raw kid with potential to be a very good player. With the growth of soccer in America, Bayern Munich was smart to acquire him, potentially growing their club in a currently untapped market.

World Cup interest in America extended even extended past their national team’s games. The final netted 26.5 million viewers in the United States, beating ratings for US-Portugal game – meaning that interest remained high in America, even after their own country was eliminated. The previous record in the US was in 2010, when the final drew 15.5 million viewers.

Now, for American viewers, one of the reasons soccer hasn’t taken off is because of the lack of accessibility for them. Of the top European leagues, only the EPL is viewable for American fans, of which NBC holds the rights to (NBC bought the rights in 2013 for 3 years at $250 million). Before NBC, Fox held the rights, and kept the games on a premium channel, one that you had to pay extra to view.

For other leagues, such as La Liga and Series A, games just aren’t viewable at all. For both Canada and the US, the network that owns the rights (Al-Jazeera Sport Media Network) keep the games on their own channel, beIN Sport USA, a channel only available in a few homes.

Six Thoughts on the World Cup and Its Influence on America

  1. If the United States had beaten Belgium, the ratings for the quarterfinals between the US and Argentina would have broken records. Possibly greater than the ratings for the game against Portugal, numbers that topped ratings for the NCAA title game, NBA Finals, and the World Series. Another interesting tidbit – there is increasing evidence that soccer is growing amongst the youths of America. In Nielsen’s 2014 Year in Sports Media Report, their data found that “52% of MLS fans who have expressed strong interest in attending live events and viewing games on TV are ages 18-34, the highest percentage of any pro league.” What’s more is that online viewing is at an all-time high (20.5 million hours), with 11 million tweets also being viewed for both the Ghana and Portugal matches, both mediums being largely youth-dominated.
  2. And how did this first happen? With immigrant populations flooding into the country decades ago, the influence of soccer has floated to the general public in America. Young people are now being influenced by generations of soccer fans before them, not unlike the growth of hot dogs (a German invention) in America.
  3. Though the NFL rules in America today, the potential growth for the league has topped out at where it is. With recent concern over head injuries among the young folk, less and less parents are allowing their children to play the sport. This coincides with the growth of soccer in America, leading to huge potential growth in the US talent pool. Could you imagine athletes like Jadaveon Clowney running up and down the pitch, kicking a ball around? That may be in play in the near future – not Clowney specifically, but athletes at that level opting to play a sport that’s not football or basketball.
  4. In 2015, when the FIFA Women’s World Cup comes to Canada, we can expect even further growth, with Americans going north of the border to watch their top-ranked team in person. What can’t be understated are the favourable times when the games will be shown. Like its male counterpart in Brazil this year, the games will be viewable when normal people are awake.
  5. The thing that will really take interest for soccer over the top is if there’s a true American superstar playing in Europe. Though the US has produced quality goalkeepers for many years, a Messi or Ronaldo type would grow the sport to uncharted territory. Landon Donovan was close, but played most of his career in his home country. Already the most popular participant sport, a superstar could help the sport potentially leapfrog more popular ones, such as hockey or basketball.
  6. Fans pack bars now to watch soccer, and unite to cheer for one team in the US. There are only a few sports for which Americans can feel like underdogs, and this is one of them. One could argue that this is the reason for the popularity of this year’s rendition of the World Cup.

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The Conference Who ‘Got Next’ Unveils Next Logo

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Today’s guest post is by Timothy O’Donnell. Tim is the Creative Director at 160over90 and has been working with the Atlantic 10 Conference on their rebranding.

A10_logo_wordmarkThe rebranding of the Atlantic 10 Conference came on the heels of the ACC’s new identity launch and just prior to the Big 12’s, leading many to wonder whether there was a clearance sale on new logos lately. To my knowledge, no coupons were involved… Regardless, a new A-10 identity was the natural next step in the larger branding initiative that 160over90 began last year.

That process got underway with the agency meeting as many people as possible, to learn first-hand about the conference’s goals, challenges, and frustrations. We had extensive conversations with Commissioner McGlade and her staff, but also spoke with each school’s Athletic Director and President. The picture that emerged was far from a ‘mid-major’ conference; this is a conference with strong ideals that consistently sends teams deep into the tournament. We needed to challenge the misconceptions about the conference head-on.

The idea for the ‘Next’ campaign came out of the conference’s commitment to always advancing. It launched as a lead-in to March Madness, complete with an epic (if we do say so ourselves) two-minute national TV spot. The hype piece earned a great amount of positive attention, as did the league itself, sending a record six teams to the NCAA Tournament.

For the campaign, we cleaned up the existing A-10 logo a little, knowing that we’d tackle a full refresh in the relative calm of the basketball post-season.

The previous identity had served the A-10 well, but it was starting to feel outdated. As more fans interact with brands via their phones, the outlines and smaller details of the logo were getting lost completely. It became harder to talk about the Atlantic 10 as the next power conference when their logo seemed to be looking backward, not forward.

We wanted to modernize the identity while staying true to the conference’s strong history, and as such, it’s more of an evolution of the previous logo than a revolutionary new approach. As with the brand campaign, we wanted the logo to tell the story of the grittiness and uncompromising work ethic embedded in the league’s athletic programs. That their success is earned, not given. The strong, clean lines of the mark are a subconscious nod to that no-nonsense approach.

The new logotype was designed to convey speed and athleticism, specifically via the exaggerated slope of the ‘A,’ and the angled serifs that act as speed lines.

To acknowledge the league’s strong work ethic on and off the court, we also created a secondary ‘shield’ version of the logo. The opposite of a pretentious, ornate crest, this simple shield took inspiration from union seals and military insignia. This two-logo flexibility is one of the key benefits to this identity system; the shield can be used instead of forcing the wider wordmark into a Twitter avatar, for example.

We know as well as anybody that a logo launch invites commentary—everything from the slant of the letters to the overall originality of the design is open to debate. But unveiling it within the context of a national brand campaign, and on the heels of an unprecedented A-10 basketball season, feels like a power move for this new basketball power conference.

At the same time that the new identity launched, the A-10 officially welcomed Davidson College as its 14th member. The Wildcats have made 11 appearances in the NCAA® Men’s Basketball Championship, and the league is excited to see what this basketball season brings.

So, who wants next?
A10_uniform

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John Oliver and FIFA Face Off In Video and PDF Files

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In case the recent accusations of corruption in selecting Qatar for the 2022 World Cup wasn’t enough for one week, FIFA is now facing mountain pressure about the 2014 World Cup which begins on June 12. This time, the criticism was sparked by comedian John Oliver.

Since the video went viral early this week, FIFA has responded to John Oliver with a 3-page PDF document addressing the issues Oliver raised. The World Cup can’t start soon enough for FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Here are FIFA’s responses:

So far, the World Cup in Brazil has cost $15 billion USD. The taxpayers have footed the bill, FIFA hasn’t spent anything.
FIFA has covered the entire operational costs of the World Cup to the tune of around $2 billion USD. We don’t take any public money for this, and instead we only use the money generated by the sale of World Cup TV and marketing rights. In terms of the host country’s investments, the figures quoted often include investments in infrastructure that are not directly linked to the cost of the World Cup and some have not even been made for the World Cup. The country will benefit for many years to come from investments in road networks, airports or telecommunication systems, and as such they are not solely World Cup-related costs.

Money that has been invested in stadiums is now missing from the budget for education and health.
President Rousseff, speaking two weeks before the World Cup, stressed that the state budget for education and health will not be affected by the Brazilian Development Bank’s loan for the stadiums (just 0.16 per cent of Brazil’s GDP).

FIFA ordered Brazil to build 12 expensive stadiums.
FIFA neither demands that a country has to build 12 stadiums, nor how they are to be designed. There are some basic guidelines to follow so that the stadiums meet the requirements and expectations of the teams, security officers and the media, but first of all, each Host Country has to decide whether it wishes to use eight, ten or 12 stadiums. Brazil opted for 12. Each Host Country also has to design their stadiums in such a way that allows them to be used in a sustainable manner over the longer term. Only then is consideration given to any modifications that may need to be made for the World Cup, with both parties working together to find the best possible solution.

The tickets are so expensive that most Brazilians can’t afford them.
Compared to other major events (Olympic Games, Formula 1, tennis tournaments, pop concerts, etc.), there are many cheap tickets available for the World Cup. For the group-stage matches, for example, tickets were available to Brazilians for as little as $15 USD. FIFA has also given 100,000 tickets, free of charge, to the builders working on the stadiums as well as to the socially disadvantaged. Of the 11 million requests for tickets, some 70 per cent were placed by Brazilians, and 58 per cent of the 2.7 million tickets purchased to date have also been bought by Brazilians.

FIFA demands a full tax exemption for its sponsors, which means that the host country doesn’t make any money.
FIFA does not make any demands for a general tax exemption for sponsors and suppliers, or for any commercial activities in the host country. Instead, FIFA only requires an easing of customs procedures for some materials that need to be imported for the organisation of the World Cup and that are not on sale in the host country (e.g. import of computers to be used by FIFA or the LOC), import of electronic advertising boards (and subsequent export), import of footballs to be used during the World Cup), and which will either be used during the event and then re-exported, or donated to an institution linked to sport in the host country. All of these exemptions are comparable in scope to those requested by organisers of other sporting or cultural events.

Of the $2 billion USD that FIFA spends on the World Cup, around $1 billion USD is spent on services in Brazil – in other words, money that is injected directly into the Brazilian economy. Even though FIFA is very cautious with economic prognoses, the Brazilian Economic Research Foundation is expecting the World Cup to generate additional income for the Brazilian economy of around $27.7 billion USD.

FIFA only wants to make a profit; it doesn’t care about anything else.
FIFA is an association of associations with a non-commercial, not for profit purpose that uses significant funds in the pursuit of its statutory objectives, which include developing the game of football around the world, organising its own international competitions, and drawing up regulations for association football while ensuring their enforcement. So the question is: what does FIFA do with the profits from the World Cup?

In short, all 209 member associations will benefit in equal measure. In fact, FIFA spends $550,000 USD on worldwide football development – every single day. What is more, we also spend nearly $2 million USD on organising international competitions – every single day.

The host country is left alone to deal with its social, economic and ecological problems.
FIFA is fully aware of – and fully accepts – its social responsibility as part of the World Cup. In 2006, the World Cup in Germany was the first to have a comprehensive environmental programme. Then, in 2010, FIFA launched Win in Africa with Africa, an initiative to develop sustainable football infrastructure across Africa at a cost of $70 million USD. On top of that, $12 million USD was invested in a number of social projects, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust was founded after the World Cup with a further $100 USD million to promote social development in South Africa long after the World Cup and to support initiatives that use football to drive social development. It is fair to say that South Africa is still benefitting from hosting the World Cup in 2010.

As far as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is concerned, FIFA unveiled a complete sustainability strategy nearly two years ago, focusing on environmentally-friendly stadiums, waste management, community support, reducing and offsetting CO2 emissions, renewable energy, climate change and knowledge transfer. FIFA strategy is based on international standards such as ISO 26000 and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as well as on the development policy of the Brazilian government. Once again, FIFA is supporting a wide range of social projects, has launched a nationwide health initiative, and is organising a “Social World Cup” at which 32 social organisations will take part in their own World Cup.

Additional measures will be implemented in the areas of health, infrastructure and women’s football as part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust.

FIFA believes that its social responsibility is a crucial element of the sustainable success of its events, but the World Cup can only be used as a tool or as a catalyst for change in a country if everyone involved pulls in the same direction as part of a global strategy.

FIFA is responsible for forced evictions in Brazil.
FIFA has never demanded any such evictions. FIFA has received in writing from the Federal Government and the Host Cities that for none of the 12 stadiums constructions or renovations, somebody had to be evicted or moved.

FIFA drives out street traders to ensure the sponsors’ exclusivity.
On the contrary, FIFA works hard to ensure that street traders are part of the World Cup. In the immediate stadium environment, however, security concerns mean that there is an area that only people with match tickets or accreditations can enter. Therefore FIFA, building upon the experiences gained at the World Cup in South Africa, sat down from the very start with the local authorities and World Cup Host Cities (who are ultimately responsible for trader activities) to put special programmes in place for traders.

In the majority of Host Cities, street traders who were already working around the stadiums have been registered and will therefore be able to work close to the stadiums and the FIFA Fan Fests™ during the World Cup. The traders have also received special training, a uniform and an accreditation that allows them to sell authorised products. By way of example: Sao Paulo, the Host City for the opening match, currently has a total of 600 registered street traders in the vicinity of the FIFA Fan Fest™ and the Arena de Sao Paulo. This is a standard procedure that is necessary, particularly in the interests of safety, for major events. A similar accreditation process was also in place for the Olympic Games in London and Vancouver, for example. It also helps to ensure that fake products are not sold in contravention of both Brazilian and international law.

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