Here are two words that you never thought you’d hear together.

Sports

and

Theater.

Sports shows haven’t been that successful on the ol’ Bway (except for Good News and those Damn Yankees), especially when compared to other entertainment mediums.  The movies do sports oh so well, so we’ve stayed away.  (There was a rumor about a Rocky musical, but admit it, just the thought makes you smirk in a Lestat kind of way.)

But there’s a show on Broadway right now that’s getting some athletic attention:  Lombardi, which is sponsored by the mammoth machine known as the NFL.

One of my marketing mantras that was taught to me by a smart press rep I’ve worked with is . . . get off the theater pages.

Well, Lombardi managed to do just that recently, with an article in AdAge about the unique partnership between football (which probably has more people watching on a Sunday than going to church) and Broadway.

Since we talked about the challenges of Broadway and sponsorship, I thought you’d be interested in checking it out.

Read it here.

And just imagine what could happen to the Great White Way if this partnership works:

NASCAR presents Earnhardt: His final lap.

Major League Baseball presents:  For the love of Pete . . . Rose.

PGA presents Tiger:  He’s in the woods again.

What do innovators have in common?

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Susan Lee.

You don’t know Susan?

Well, you should.

Susan is the CMO of The Nederlander Organization, the founder of Camp Broadway, the Executive Producer of The Jimmy Awards, one of the engines behind Audience Rewards (Broadway’s only loyalty program), and more.

In other words, she is a super passionate person who has dedicated herself to expanding and building the audience of tomorrow.

So, she called . . . and duh, I answered.

I was honored when Susan told me she was inviting me to participate in the event held yesterday as part of Advertising Week, called The Innovator’s Forum.  The Forum was a group of about 30 marketing “Thought Leaders” in both the profit and non-profit sectors of our industry.  It was sponsored by The Nederlander Organization and The National Corporate Theatre Fund, led by an innovator himself, Exec. Director, Bruce Whitacre.

What happened during this 7-hour marketing-fest?

We discussed RenGen, and multicultural marketing.  We talked new ways to bring brands to the sponsorship table, when they didn’t even know where the table was the year before (check out Long Wharf‘s tactics for ideas).  We talked metrics, and money, and ways to make the consumer feel more like he or she is at the “center of the universe.”

It was an inspiring day, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

But the most inspiring part of the day wasn’t the specific action item we all walked away with.  The most inspiring part of the day was seeing the faces of the other folks in that room.

What did they all have in common?

There wasn’t a scowl on one of them.

In the ‘free-speech’ wrap-up at the end of the day, a colleague of mine brought up exactly what I was thinking, which was that everyone . . . everyone . . . in that room was an optimist.  This room knew more about the huge challenges facing our industry than most, yet they all still believed there was a way to make things better, and most importantly, that the fight it would take would be worth it.

This forum could have been the biggest bitch fest our industry has ever seen.  And then, it would have been like so many other sessions I’ve been to.

But it wasn’t . . . and that’s when I realized that the “change agents” of the world have to be optimists, otherwise, they would never be motivated to get out of bed in the morning.

And the real innovators, like Susan and Bruce, are the ones that usually never go to bed in the first place.

How do you see the world in which you work?

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