Sportskool enlists Navy sponsorship

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Sportskool, the free on-demand sports network dedicated to athletic instruction, has announced a sponsorship deal with the U.S. Navy that it said will integrate the Navy into the "very fabric" of the network and create a new custom-branded sports conditioning and training series featuring authentic Navy Seal exercise regimens.

Sportskool said the deal signals an effort to broaden a television advertising standard that maximizes the power of VOD and also underscores Sportskool's commitment to provide custom advertising solutions to its partners.

"This new and original sports conditioning and training series is an effective way for us to expand our VOD offerings and uniquely platform the Navy brand," said Dan Ronayne, GM at Sportskool, a division of Rainbow Media Holdings.

For the Navy, the Sportskool integration and sponsorship deal is an effective way to reach the younger viewers it is seeking to recruit. "Younger audiences, key to the U.S. Navy's recruitment marketing initiatives, are increasingly fragmented in their media choices," said Lt. Cdr. Olivia Bethea, director, advertising plans and operations, Navy recruiting command. "Innovative video-on-demand programs like those offered by Sportskool are an effective way for us to engage audiences who tend to consume media on their own terms."

Filmed at the Navy special warfare center in Coronado, Calif., the series features the authentic Navy fitness techniques completed by all Navy Seal trainees.

In addition, as the exclusive sponsor of Sportskool's "Team Sports" programming block, the Navy will receive "immersive" brand integration in each "Team Sport" episode, including original series on basketball, lacrosse, soccer and football, as well as in the "Action Sportskool" programming block's BMX and skiing content, which includes such series as "Skiing With Bode Miller" and "BMX With Chad Kagy." The Navy brand will be integrated throughout the programming via a sponsored open, pre-roll and post-roll spots, distinctive graphics and callouts to Navy.com. Sportskool also will build a custom Navy Team sports microsite on Sportskool.com.

Sportskool also announced the expansion of its sponsorship deal with Chrysler Jeep to create a VOD campaign to help promote the 2008 Jeep Liberty. Sportskool will integrate Jeep into a new specially produced series featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White. The new series will consist of stories and commentary from the X-Games athlete as he provides viewers a behind-the-scenes look at his life. Produced by Sportskool, which is available to virtually all VOD-enabled homes nationwide, "Action Sportskool With Shaun White," presented by Jeep, will premiere on demand and online beginning in December. In addition, Jeep will be integrated into the network's "Action Sportskool" skateboarding and snowboarding VOD programming.

Sportskool and Jeep first joined forces last year on a VOD sponsorship to promote the 2007 Jeep Patriot. "Through our original sponsorship venture with Jeep, Sportskool established an innovative advertising model, and we are excited to continue and build this relationship and deliver measurable results," said Phil Summers, Sportskool's vp integrated sales and marketing. Added Ronayne, "Sportskool continues to set itself apart in VOD by offering unparalleled immersive branding to advertisers and allowing them to be uniquely integrated into original content that features high-profile talent and engages a targeted audience."
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