Sports Marketing Trends. Smart People. New Thinking.

A story from the ‘real world’ of sports marketing. Tony Ponturo, who for 26 years was the Vice President of global media, sports and entertainment marketing at Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and also President and CEO of Busch Media Group, has made a minority ownership investment in the Leverage Agency and will serve as Chairman.

Regarded as one of sports and entertainment marketing’s most influential people, Ponturo led Anheuser-Busch’s development as a sports and entertainment juggernaut during his career with the renowned brewing company. Through Ponturo’s leadership, Anheuser-Busch gained valuable sponsorships ranging from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Olympic Games. Today, Anheuser-Busch products are staples of sports and entertainment events including the World Cup and Super Bowl to the Academy Awards and Grammys.

CNBC’s Sports Business Reporter, Darren Rovell asked Ponturo and Ben Sturner, the CEO of Leverage, to discuss the future of sports marketing. Here are some of the questions and answers.

Rovell: Leverage has negotiated deals with Kraft, Gillette, Nestle and KFC – some of the biggest companies out there – what are these companies looking for?

Sturner: These companies don’t just want signage, they want a robust platform. They require that any deal that is done touches the influencers. That it has interactivity, that it is inclusive, but has the feeling of privilege and that it cuts through the clutter.

Further to our post yesterday about social meda, the experts have no doubt.

Rovell: Over the past month, social media – especially Twitter – has exploded. How do you see the sports world embracing this?

Sturner: Something like Twitter is an amazing tool that everyone should embrace. It allows teams, leagues and athletes to spot trends, to become opinion leaders, to learn real time about how people feel about the fan experience. In the next six months, I expect teams and leagues to start hiring social media experts to allow them to monitor, initiate and integrate what is going on out there. So anyone in college who is looking for a job in sports, this position might be the easiest way in.

We’ve created a new page which lists some of the more interesting people in the sailing business who are using twitter. It’s a small list for a ‘global’ sport. See our Sailing twitter directory here.

Read the full Darren Rovell article on