Profile: Hank Adams

Jan 6, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Title: CEO, Sportvision

Background: Mr. Adams became CEO of Sportvision in December 2002 after Sportvision merged with Ignite Sports, a sports marketing firm Mr. Adams founded. The two companies have had a relationship since last spring, when they began a co-marketing deal under which Ignite Sports was to sell sponsored packages. The deal evolved into the full-blown merger.

Marketing technologies: Sportvision, the creator of sports broadcasting technologies such the 1st & Ten line used in NFL telecasts, views its technologies as marketing vehicles. “If you sponsor these enhancements you can get a strong, consistent presence with fans of the sport,” Mr. Adams said. “You are branding yourself in the fabric of the sports as opposed to halftime, when you are cutting away. You are attaching yourself to something the fans really like. You take these technologies with great audience share and add marketing capability and make them more marketing-driven products,” he said.

Interactive TV vs. personal TV: Interactivity on the TV has not taken off as quickly as expected. The infrastructure is expensive and cable operators feel pressure to realize a return on investment quickly. In addition, operators have scaled back plans to introduce advanced set-top boxes to the market, Mr. Adams said. These factors combine to make the notion of personal TV more appealing than interactive TV, he said. Personal TV means the ability to turn enhancements on and off or to time-shift programming. This type of “customized” rather than interactive TV model puts pressure on the traditional advertising model, Mr. Adams said, making product placement more essential. Already the marketplace has seen integrated advertising such as “American Idol’s” incorporation of Coca-Cola into its red interview room and the commercial-free episode of “24” sponsored by Ford and featuring Ford vehicles throughout the show. “We’re going to have to be a lot more creative moving forward,” he said. That includes offering sponsored packages of Sportvision’s in-game technological enhancements.

New technology: Sportvision recently received a new patent that allows virtual images, such as the 1st & Ten line, to be inserted from locations other than a stadium, such as from the studio or through the set-top box. Inserting the image at the studio can be more economical and it can also allow an analyst to comment on multiple games. Inserting at the set-top box allows customers to turn the enhancement on or off.