A League of Their Own: Sony launches sports sales and marketing division

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Sony Electronics has launched two sports sales and marketing teams to address the growing demand for video, audio and broadband technology across the nation.

“We recognized the growing importance of sports as a market for HD production and other technology,” says Alec Shapiro, Sony Broadcast and Production Systems group SVP sales and marketing. “It also lets us focus on college sports and tie that area together with educational sports sales.”

Steve Stubelt, who was most recently regional sales manager and national accounts manager for the sports OB truck market will head up the team serving the professional teams and leagues. The sports and educational sales team will focus on the collegiate Division I marketplace and be headed up by Mary Schoof, national sales manager. Chris Sullivan will address the needs of the sports venue market.

“We have good relationships with the leagues and we’ll be delving into the team and coaching levels by working with third-party companies that provide coaching software,” says Stubelt.

And with stadiums and arenas converting display technology from SD to HD Stubelt says there is a need and opportunity for a focused sports marketing division. It can also more accurately meet the needs of truck vendors.

“The business challenges in the remote production market are tremendous,” he says. “There’s a lot of pressure from clients to keep costs down and yet on a production level the clients are driving more complex productions.”

Schoof will target 127 Division I programs, what she terms the “first layer” of the collegiate market. “The HD transition isn’t quite to the level of the professionals but bigger schools with multiple arenas are on the cusp of the HD transition,” she says. “

While the focus in many of the sports business and technology journals is on the high-profile events like the Super Bowl and Olympics Stubelt says the real opportunity for growth lies in lesser-known events. “There are thousands of events that have a long way to go before they’re at the top level of productions,” says Stubelt.

With the newly formed division Sony believes it can provide the sort of knowledge and focus that can make it easier than ever for those productions to continually improve.

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