Q&A: Neil Viserto, VP, Adlink sports

Jun 9, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Mr. Viserto talked recently with TelevisionWeek’s Louis Chunovic about Los Angeles interconnect Adlink’s new sports-programming division, focusing on promotional and sponsorship packages for the Los Angeles market.
TelevisionWeek: Describe a recent interesting deal.
Mr. Viserto: Since we’re still in the initial setup phase of Adlink’s sports division, I’ll refer back to my recent tenure with the Washington Redskins as VP, broadcast & marketing.
During the 2002-2003 NFL season, we implemented a program for Chevrolet that tied in to the Redskins’ celebration of their 70th anniversary season as an NFL franchise. To commemorate this anniversary, the team dressed in retro uniforms for certain games, a line of merchandise was created, and celebration events were held during the season. Because Redskins fans are dedicated to the core when it comes to football and their team, we decided to apply this celebration to a package that targeted the fan base. The result was an exclusive development with Chevrolet of a Redskins 70th Anniversary Special Edition Chevrolet TrailBlazer, which was available to the public at participating Washington, D.C.-area Chevrolet dealers. The vehicle was outfitted with several special upgrades, including exterior styling and interior embroidery incorporating the Redskins look and logos, as well as an NFL pigskin center console armrest. There was also a consumer sweepstakes to win one of these vehicles, where four random finalists were selected during the season. Chevrolet and the Redskins partnered on the sweepstakes with various supporting media, including in-stadium, local television, radio, direct mail and a PR campaign. The finalists were invited for the season’s final game, and each one attempted a 40-yard field goal during halftime. If they made the kick, they would each win a Special Edition TrailBlazer, or if nobody was successful, a finalist would be randomly selected to win the Trailblazer.”
TVWeek: What is t he next big thing?
Mr. Viserto: An increased focus on local sponsorships of network sports in cable is the next big thing for sports advertising. In Los Angeles this last summer, cable ran neck and neck with local broadcast for the first time (each had a 43 share). Recently, in the first round of the NBA playoffs, TNT and Fox Sports Net combined to lead the ratings charge over local broadcast. This momentum carried on into the next round, with the L.A. Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs game on May 5 delivering a 14.1 household rating in the L.A. DMA.
Clients and agencies may not realize the depth and breadth of professional and college sporting events that air across cable networks. Cable has sports programming to target every demographic, from the NFL, NBA and MLB to the X-Games, as well as specific events such as World Cup Soccer, NASCAR races and the U.S. Open tennis tournament. These opportunities provide the ability to tap into such networks as ESPN, Fox Sports Net, TNT, USA Network and The Golf Channel.
What I’m focusing on now is taking this huge amount of cable sports inventory and presenting it to advertisers in a form that is easy to get their arms around. By buying this national programming on a local market level, clients can also utilize customized promotional opportunities, resulting in greater local reach and impact.
TVWeek: Is there anything you wish you had sold more of?
Mr. Viserto: Other than several stocks at their highs two years ago, I wish I could sell more integrated marketing programs. Being able to provide turnkey solutions from A to Z via various media allows me to be more involved with the process rather than just selling the air time.
TVWeek: Is there anything you wish you had sold less of?
Mr. Viserto: Nothing specific since I’ve always had quality product. In media, I can always provide a solution using inventory of equal or greater value. I’ve been fortunate enough not to overextend on guarantees; a short term killing is not a long term solution or relationship for my clients.
TVWeek: If you weren’t in media selling, where would you be?
Mr. Viserto: Football and music were and still are the most exciting things to me. One day I probably will coach high school football and teach basic economics-how to balance a checkbook, budgeting a household, what interest rates mean, etc. Of course, this is because it is way late in the game to be a rock star, and I don’t have the hair for it.”