Athletic Motion Measures Effect of Celeb Sponsorships

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Athletic Motion Network is ranking the popularity of celebrity sponsorships on its Web sites and selling the information to its retail partners as Athlete Effectiveness Reports.


"What we've seen so far in the history of sports marketing with celebrity athletes is that, yes, athletes are oftentimes very effective in endorsing products, but it is very difficult to measure one athlete's popularity or effectiveness against another athlete," said Bryan Sise, president of Athletic Motion, Denver.


Athletic Motion Network hosts Skiingmotion.com, Climbingmotion.com, Skateboardingmotion.com and Snowboardingmotion.com, which was added to the network this week. Each site contains downloadable video clips of athlete tips and techniques.


Athlete Effectiveness Reports compile visitor ratings of athlete videos, interest in brands sponsored by athletes, and comparisons between athlete popularity on the same and opposing teams.


Estimated generation time for a report is five business days. Each report costs $300, with discounts of up to 25 percent for multiple reports.


Sise said Athlete Effectiveness Reports allow companies to adjust the purchase compensation for an athlete, determine an athlete's status within the team or address performance issues. Companies also purchase reports for athletes they do not sponsor, to gain competitive intelligence or to explore the prospect of sponsoring that athlete, Sise said.


Athletic Motion currently partners with about 70 online retailers, including Fogdog.com, Rei.com and Altrec.com.


"The compensation for us partnering with these sites is purely performance-based," Sise said. "We are taking commission based on the sale of products we generate for our partner retail sites."


Mitch Nelson, for example, sponsors M3 snowboards, which are sold by one of Athletic Motion's retail partners, Bigdeal.com.


"There are perhaps several other retailers that sell that exact same model of snowboard," Sise said. "We provide a choice to the consumer as to which retailer they would like to click through to learn more about the product and perhaps purchase it. We call ourselves a 'broker of customer referrals,' in that we can refer customers to a variety of different entities and thus drive commerce for any one of those partners."


Sise said Athletic Motion Network ultimately serves as an alternative outlet for retailers and manufacturers that have spent large sums of money on customer acquisition in the past.


"I think we are going to become the most cost-effective marketing partner for these retailers, and I think they are going to see their traffic jump very quickly upon partnering with us," Sise said.


In driving eyeballs to Athletic Motion Web sites, Sise said he is avoiding mass-marketing tactics that might trigger a high burn rate.


"We very much hold the philosophy of targeted marketing," Sise said. "It's relatively less expensive to advertise in sports-specific publications than it is to advertise in mass-market publications."


Sise said grass-roots and guerrilla tactics, such as trade shows, chat rooms and newsgroup postings, help drive Web site traffic. A viral aspect allows Athletic Motion users to e-mail video clips to friends, who then are directed to the Athletic Motion Network.


"And because we work regularly with role model athletes, we can get them in different gear, from sweatshirts to hats," Sise said. "That promotes our name, and it's a pretty cost-effective marketing strategy for us."


Athletic Motion was created eight months ago through venture capital funding.


"We're debuting this small amount of sports to prove the concept before we expand into more sports," Sise said. "We're planning to include other lifestyle sports like mountain biking and kayaking. From there, we'll expand out into more mainstream sports like golf and basketball."


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