Welcome to the MACtion

As the college football season draws near, Jon Steinbrecher, Commissioner, Mid-American Conference, discusses the state of the conference.

NFL coaching great Marv Levy got it right when he said, “When it’s too hard for them, it’s just right for us.”
In the Mid-American Conference, it’s long been an anytime, anywhere mentality. There’s a palpable hunger for a challenge. A determination to the settle the score. And while some may view us as a modest or humble Midwest conference, we produce a disproportionate amount of greatness.
MAC_Media_Day_Meme1_FacebookWe have Academic All-Americans. Athletic All-Americans. Students who are leaders in community service and social awareness. First-round draft picks and national champions.
In football, we have our own Gameday during the month of November, plus five guaranteed bowl games. We’re fresh off of an exclusive rights agreement extension with ESPN. And we’re celebrating a new relationship with CBS Sports Network.
Heading into the start of the 2015 season – the 69th season of Mid-American Conference football – our institutions and sports teams can expect exposure like never before. And we’re poised and ready to market the competitiveness of our programs, coaches, and students on a national stage.
It’s time to tell our story.

Last week, timed to Media Day, we launched a multi-year, national branding campaign centered on the conference’s commitment to excellence on the playing field, in the classroom, and in the community. With the help of branding agency 160over90, we’re inviting college fans, students, and alumni to ‘Get Some MACtion’ via a nationally televised, 60-second PSA; a custom microsite, GetSomeMACtion.com; student success stories; and a special ‘MACtalk’ meme generator and Social Stadium that curates #MACtion social conversations.
mac-hero-screengrabBeyond awareness building, the brand narrative and messaging platform will serve us in areas where we believe we need to ‘Take MACtion’ and lead a national effort – especially in the social consciousness space.
We’re taking a hard look at the current collegiate experience — from initial and continuing eligibility, to retention and graduation, transfers, and time demands – and considering a new paradigm.
We’re aiming to move the needle in an area of great pride for the MAC and among our membership: student-athlete wellbeing. Later this academic year, the Student Athlete Advisory Committees at each Mid-American Conference member institution will hold their second annual Mental Health Awareness Week. And next February, we will collaborate with the NCAA to host the Mid-American Conference and NCAA Sport Sciences Institute Mental Health Summit.
And we’ll be tackling diversity in hiring. A review of national statistics over the past decade shows that the number of ethnic minorities hired for head coaching positions in football and basketball has remained proportionally low, and relatively flat. And the number of women being hired into head coaching positions is decreasing. The time has come to take steps to alter these trends, and so the MAC has appointed a task force to consider this issue. And this season, we’ve added several female officials to our roster – not because they are female, but because they have worked their way up through the officiating ranks, have mastered the rules and mechanics, and are prepared for this next step in their careers.
All along the way, we’re setting new expectations for success on the field. We expect to win non-conference games. We expect to win bowl games. And we expect to challenge for the College Football Host Bowl slot.


Welcome to the MACtion.

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Hyundai Signs Four-Year Deal With the NFL, Replaces GM as Become Official Automotive Sponsor

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In its latest sports marketing venture, Hyundai is now an official automotive sponsor of the National Football League. The NFL has the largest and most avid fan base among U.S. sports, and Hyundai will soon connect this passion with the enthusiasm Hyundai owners have for their vehicles.

“We are huge football fans at Hyundai and feel there is no better venue to reach consumers, increase consideration and tell the Hyundai brand story,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We can’t wait to show the NFL’s 188 million fans the great design, advanced technologies, dynamic performance and numerous safety features within the Hyundai lineup. The NFL and Hyundai also share a commitment to helping the communities where we do business, another important aspect of our sponsorship.”

Hyundai NFL 300x293 As part of the new sponsorship, Hyundai will have use of NFL trademarks across various marketing channels, including branded content, advertising and promotional materials. The NFL has become a year-round sport and Hyundai will have access to some of the biggest events on the calendar, such as the Super Bowl, NFL Combine, NFL Draft, NFL Kickoff and NFL Playoffs. Hyundai will also provide promotional vehicles at the Super Bowl and other events throughout the year.

“We are pleased to welcome Hyundai to our family of sponsors,” said Renie Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of sponsorship. “We appreciate Hyundai’s enthusiasm as we work together to reach our fans with innovative programs during our season and with our major calendar events throughout the year.”

As NFL fans everywhere celebrate the start of the new season, Hyundai will launch its activation with a major presence during NFL Kickoff activities on Sept. 10.

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Stadia Ventures Launches Accelerator That Expects to Invest $10M in Sports Startups


Stadia Ventures, the Sports Innovation Hub, announced its plan to launch Stadia Accelerator, a business development accelerator for sports-related startups. Stadia Accelerator expects to invest $10M over the next five years to help sports startups get to the next level through the combination of up to $100,000 in equity investment, intensive mentoring, and connections to the top sports business executives in the country.

Stadia Accelerator will be a 10-week business development program held twice a year in St. Louis, Missouri. Each program is expected to feature a cohort of five companies, with each company receiving an equity investment of up to $100K and committing to attend a targeted curriculum in St Louis each Thursday-Friday of the program (founders fly in Thurs AM and depart Fri PM). Portfolio companies will be matched with mentors and advisors with specific experience in their focused areas for growth.

Stadia Accelerator is now accepting applications for the first class, which begins on September 10, 2015. Interested start-ups should visit: stadiaventures.com/accelerator.

Stadia Accelerator targets sports-related companies with proven product and sales in any of the following categories: Software/Apps, Big Data, Equipment, Apparel, Fantasy, Gaming, Nutrition, and Training. “ We are a business development accelerator”, says Stadia Ventures co-founder and Managing Director Tim Hayden. “We target companies with existing sales who can leverage our experience and connections to increase their company’s value. Our strength is our mentors and advisors, who represent a “who’s who” of senior executives from the team and corporate side of the sports industry.”

Stadia Ventures co-founder and Managing Director Art Chou states “Stadia Ventures is designed to create an ecosystem for three parties: sports entrepreneurs, sports executives, and sports investors. These groups are all focused on sports innovation, but currently there is no structure that connects them. Programs like Stadia Accelerator provide each stakeholder a network that is built around the pipeline of sports innovation.”

Stadia Ventures is a business development company in St. Louis, Missouri focused on innovation in the sports industry. Their services include start-up funding & mentoring, industry consulting, and investor education. For more information visit: www.stadiaventures.com.

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Infographic: Wage Inequality in America

Wage inequality is not unique to sports; it’s a nationwide epidemic across all industries. That’s why, even though it’s not directly related to sports, we’re sharing with you this infographic created by Britney Fong. The original infographic was posted on BFong Data.

Brittany Fong looks at the wage gap between the genders in different employment categories across the US. Use the drop down menu to change the location. Hover over the “information” icon in the top left-hand corner for more usage information.

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KAEO Startups: StadiumPark

The KAEO Startups series features entrepreneurs and the businesses they are creating in the sports industry. Click here or the logo to see of all previously featured startups.
StadiumPark Logo (1)

KAEO The Details:

Name: StadiumPark
Launched: January 2015
Founder: Jeremy Crane
Concept: Mobile payment app for stadium, arena and other venue parking.
Website:  www.stadiumparkapp.com
Twitter: @stadiumparkapp

Stadium parking can be a nightmare. When multiple venues share the same parking facilities, game nights can be problematic when multiple teams play at the same time. Even for single team venues, parking can be a logistical nightmare. Fans who drive to a game have come to expect long lines just to pay to park. While some newer stadiums are built with better access to public transportation, driving is still the most common method of transportation for most venues.

The process for parking at venues is broken. Long parking lines and the cash-only payment system which is common at most venues cause several major problems. Most importantly, fans become disgruntled with their first point of contact with a venue. For the venue, fans who are waiting in line in their cars are not in the stadium buying merchandise and concessions. Additionally, many venues only accept cash as payment for parking making it the only place throughout the gameday experience where cash is necessary. No one benefits from long lines just to pay an attendant in cash.

Jeremy Crane seeks to alleviate parking problems with StadiumPark. StadiumPark is a mobile app that allows parking attendants to accept cash-less payments through a simple QR code. Using a designated parking line drivers can scan a code and pay for parking simply by opening the StadiumPark app. It’s similar to EzPass or SunPass but for parking.

StadiumPark is a free service for the venue. The app collects a small fee from each customer transaction.
iphone dualThe idea for StadiumPark came to Jeremy while working at a mobile parking payments startup focused on municipality meter payments.  He realized there was a significant need for mobile parking payments in the stadium, arena and event business. The first developments of the StadiumPark app began to come together earlier this year in the middle of the NHL hockey season.

During the last few months of the season, Jeremy was able to test StadiumPark for Buffalo Sabres games at First Niagara Center. While drivers initially had to be trained to use StadiumPark, frequent visitors to First Niagara became familiar with StadiumPark and expected to see StadiumPark at their parking lot. After the initial success in Buffalo, as well as a successful event at the Citrus Bowl, Jeremy is now raising capital with the interest of growing StadiumPark rapidly on a national scale. Jeremy’s vision is that fans will be able to pay for parking with StadiumPark at any venue. “StadiumPark is gaining substantial interest from stadiums, arenas and other venues throughout the United States.  As the organization continues to grow, we look forward to providing great benefits to sports fans and venues alike.”

To learn more visit www.stadiumparkapp.com.

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