- Published on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:26
Brett Favre, once thought of as a likely star NFL TV analyst, will get a big on-air audition Sunday before Super Bowl XLVII is played between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
MORE SUPER BOWL: Why Katherine Webb feels like a player
NFL Network, which has an 8½-hour pregame show, will use Favre as an analyst on its NFL GameDay Morning, which begins at 9 a.m. ET Sunday.
"I don't miss the grind and stress of day-to-day football, but I do miss my teammates and coaches," Favre, who retired after the 2010 NFL season, said in an email to The Associated Press.
He spent much of 2012 playing fantasy football, finishing next to last in his league.
Favre will be on the set with host Rich Eisen and former players Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner and Deion Sanders.
"We've been trying to get Brett into our shows for a while," NFLN executive producer Eric Weinberger told USA TODAY Sports. "We're thrilled he's ready to do it."
On whether NFLN would like to add Favre on-air permanently, Weinberger says, "We'd love to get Brett's perspective as often as we can. But we're taking this one show at a time."
Asked if more announcing is ahead, Favre wasn't sure.
"I don't see it any time soon but that interest may change in the future," he said. "I think being involved in the Super Bowl was too much to pass up."
Interestingly, Favre returns to the NFL in the city where he led the Green Bay Packers to a 35-21 victory against the New England Patriots in 1997 Super Bowl. As of now, he said he is not making a prediction who will win Super Bowl XLVII.
Favre said he chose NFL GameDay Morning because he could work with friends such as Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders and Warren Sapp, and because the game is in New Orleans.
"Players and coaches who I have great memories of, and to do it from the field where I won a Super Bowl was a tough combination to pass up," Favre said.
"Between my appearance on NFL Network and my work with Virtual Fan Network, a new digital sports marketing company, it will be great to reconnect with NFL fans around the Super Bowl."
His work with San Francisco-based Virtual Fan Network has allowed Favre to see the 49ers more closely.
"I think both teams are good and very deserving of being in the Super Bowl," Favre said. "Both are very well coached and have great story lines.
"I have probably followed the 49ers more closely, and the way (quarterback Colin Kaepernick) is playing makes me think they have the advantage."
- Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 11:01
As we reflect back on 2012, there is no doubt that VFN has seen significant growth due to our amazing and committed team; Without their hard work and dedication none of our successes would have been made possible. While 2012 has been quite the milestone for us; we know that our best days, and yours, are ahead. Happy Holidays everyone!
- Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 11:00
Throughout the year, VFN successfully launched digital media campaigns for a variety of brands and athletes. Highlights include: San Francisco based snack company Popchips' Game-Changers' (15 Markets, 15 Athletes), Limos.com (NFL Draft theme), iShares (Olympics theme) and Gatorade (SuperBowl theme). Contact us and learn how to capitalize on new opportunities.
- Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 11:00
Illustrated below is the Virtual Fan Card evolution influenced by major developments and management strategies to create the richest and most engaging fan experience in digital. This means a greater opportunity for VFN athletes to make off the field income by unlocking the digital spend.
Starting with individual athletes Virtual Fan Cards we established a partnership with Sporting News where the Fan Cards are placed into player profiles. The next evolution was development of the Virtual Fan Card Collector.
The VFN Collector were developed to provide athletes additional revenue streams, to give fans a way to engage with groups of athletes, and to help publishers further monetize their visitor traffic. VFN Collections can exist as a standalone product, as a Facebook app, or as a fully integrated content module in a website. In Q3 of 2012, the MLB Player’s Association utilized the first VFN Collection to promote the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award on Sporting News. Each week, new publishers and advertisers are expressing interest in VFN Collections and seeking to integrate them into their sites. In 2013, fans will have the ability to create their own collections.
Click this link to see a football collection live on Sporting News. (http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/fancards)
- Published on Thursday, 29 November 2012 01:26
Virtual Fan Network is the approved Digital method of activation of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Contact us and learn on how to capitalize on this opportunity. World Baseball Classic is the only international tournament to feature the world’s best baseball players all competing for their national teams. Virtual Fan Network will be displaying a fully integrated brand experience throughout Qualifiers, Semifinal’s and Finals with rich media Virtual Fan Cards compiled in a World Baseball Classic Collector.
As well as using brand Integration with targeted media allocations that will be displayed domestically and internationally with all participating teams and players.
The World Baseball Classic is the world’s premier international baseball tournament, which names its winner the “World Champion”. It will be the first WBC to include a qualification round that expands participation in the tournament from 16 to 28 teams. Host countries are Germany, Panama, Taiwan and USA.
First round games will be played at Chase Field in Phoenix and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz. Second-round games will take place at Marlins Park in Miami. Lastly, semifinals and final of next year’s World Baseball Classic will be played at the San Francisco’s AT&T Park.
- Published on Thursday, 29 November 2012 01:25
- Published on Thursday, 29 November 2012 01:24
- Published on Sunday, 28 October 2012 01:26
Who said trading cards were dead?
Sports Marketing is evolving, though at a much slower clip than most other industries on the globe, but where it will eventually end up is still uncertain. One thing is for certain: Brian Wilhite, CEO and Founder of the Virtual Fan Network, intends to lead the charge for where sports marketing is going and what it is going to become.
I had the opportunity to sit down on the phone last week with Brian to discuss his companyVirtual Fan Network, or VFN for short, and I learned that perhaps one industry that many have declared DEAD in the sports marketing world (trading cards) may be where Brian and VFN have found new revenue streams for both athletes and companies in the age of digital marketing.
We also discussed where VFN came from, what it is now, and what the future holds for the San Fran Bay Area based company.
How did VFN begin?
Brian noted to me during our great conversation last week when he started the company in June 2011 he had observed that the social web and the world overall was manifesting into something that in his opinion was a game changer in how we interact especially on the mobile platform.
Brian also felt that the one thing without a solution already was working with professional athletes. (Something that is always preached, find your hole in the social and business landscape and do it better than anyone else in the world.) Brian thought the world of sports marketing had not innovated very much since IMG was created over 50 years ago.
Brian contended that if was able to design a turnkey consumer platform that was shareable and technology driven and gave the fans a new and extra unordinary relationship with fans that it would be able to have a huge market and entry point into dollars that were now being spent in huge chunks on the world wide web.
The future is NOW!
With so many high barriers to entry the world of sports marketing has always to a degree been inefficient. I see this everyday when I am talking with my clients or friends when one person gets all of the blame or the love for winning a game when it really takes about 50 to 75 people in an organization to get a W or take an L. But, because of this 99% of athletes don’t have endorsement deals and it is isolated to the top 1% of athletes. VFN thought there were opportunities to bring the other 99% of athletes and the other million brands that are out there today. Since it is digital it can be targeted and it is possible to take local and regional fans and unlock localized brand dollars for the athletes. It is an opportunity for much smaller brands to localize and humanize with a major high end athlete and connect with their fans.
Really in my eyes what VFN is doing is what famed social media and digital age author Gary V wrote about in his most recent book “The Thank You Economy” (two thumps up from me!) It talks about how we are going to go back to a small town approach where, because of the digital age and social media, we interact with the little guys again and small business are just as important as the big brands. VFN has opened up the door for the other 99% of pro athletes and 101-1 bazillion other brands!
How does it work?
VFN allows fans to download digital player cards. These are not just your ordinary old Topps trading cards. They have twitter and facebook links to the athletes, favorite music, hobbies, upcoming events and so much more. It enables the fan to interact with the athlete on a level they couldn’t reach before. Hand in hand with this comes VFN’s agreement with the athletes to produce this information on the cards and to get them digital endorsement deals with brands that want to pay and have the connection of an athlete but would be unable to do it on a national level.
VFN has had success with many different types of companies and clients in doing successful digital platforms for them. They range from Limos.com, a campaign with Black Rock investments utilizing Olympic athletes just prior to and after the black out stage for endorsement deal around the summer games, Gatorade, and the Bleacher Report.
The athletes are catching on and understand the potential to make money through VFN. Brett Favre is an investor in the company and ambassador for the NFL. They have lined up spokespersons for all the major professional sports and more and more brands are understanding the localized and humanized approach to using VFN. The athletes can maintain and hold onto any conflicts that they have or don’t want to be used or featured in an endorsement for.
The brands usually need to commit to a minimum spend around $20-30k to begin a campaign with an athlete, which is not a high amount at all compared to top level endorsement deals and spends. The radio station I work at typically charges a minimum spend for one of our high ranking on air guys around a similar level and that is just for spots on the radio station.
It is an all encompassing circle between VFN, the fans, the athletes, the brands, and the publishers to create a new platform of engagement in sports marketing.
The NEXT STEPS!
Brian feels they are refreshing sports marketing. It is a global business now and they are “a platform dedicated to the relationship between the athlete and the fan and improving it over time.”
VFN seems to have a dedicated workforce, a forward thinking model to capture market share, a goal to care not only about the dollars but make sure the fan gets a super experience, the athlete makes money (VFN and the athlete split everything 50/50!), and a genuine concern and excitement to give brands a client experience with an endorsement deal that they have never received before.
The sky seems to be the limit for VFN. Sports Marketing is turning its head to the future slowly but surely. (In my book I speak about a few ways to stay ahead of the curve as the digital age continues to rear its head.)
VFN clearly knows that this is happening and is leading the charge. Refreshing Sports Marketing. VFN may soon enough be the new era of Sports Marketing if everyone else is not careful. Until then Brian and the team at VFN will be taking care of one fan, one athlete, and one client/brand at a time!
- Published on Friday, 26 October 2012 01:26
Team sports have always been inherently social, as demonstrated by the phenomenon of baseball cards, which could be amassed, shared, and traded; now a new company called the Virtual Fan Network, founded in 2011, is helping athletes and advertisers reach fans via “virtual fan cards,” which carry key stats and can be shared via social media, and which can also carry advertising and sponsorships.
The virtual fan cards are designed to be rich media experiences, giving fans access to the individual player’s real-time stats, social feeds, and videos, in addition to online stores and other related digital assets. The cards can be stored in a “digital shoebox” which allows access across a range of devices, including desktop, smartphones, and tablets; they can also be integrated into online games, contests, and fantasy leagues.
The cards can integrate advertising in a number of different ways, including display ads delivered on the download page and interactive units on the cards themselves, which can include sweepstakes, photo galleries, social streams, and video, among other elements. Some initial advertising clients include Gatorade, Popchips, Bleacher Report, Sporting News, and Limos.com.
VFN founder and CEO Brian Wilhite (who played shortstop for Louisiana State University) explained that the cards enable pro and amateur athletes alike to generate income via digital advertising, regardless of whether they have built a large social media following. For example, if a relatively obscure player suddenly breaks out with a spectacular touchdown or homerun, his updated virtual fan card, highlighting the moment,can be available for download from a variety sports-focused publishing partners almost immediately, offering advertisers greater scale than a Facebook page with just a few thousand followers.
Advertising on virtual fan cards also allows brands to associate themselves with athletes without taking on the risk of reputational damage which can result from endorsements (amply illustrated by the fallout from Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal).
So far VFN has signed up over 1,200 former and current athletes for its virtual fan cards, while over 10 million fans have joined the network.
FORBES "Social Sports "Fan Card" Service Snags Tim Lincecum, Brett Favre And Over 1,200 Other Athletes" by Darren Heitner
- Published on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 01:26
Professional athletes have a variety of options to communicate and engage with their fan-bases. Some athletes choose to set up a Facebook page and post updates, photos and contests. Others select to activate their followers on Twitter and submit messages in 140 characters or less. If an athlete wants to share video updates, he can create a YouTube channel and upload videos. But the myriad of social media sites can make it confusing and time consuming for a fan to get the information about the sports heroes they admire. A company named Virtual Fan Network (VFN), started in June 2011 by former LSU shortstop Brian Wilhite, packages all of an athlete’s social content into a “fan card,” making it easy for consumers to receive the information they crave and providing a new source of revenue for athletes and their representatives.
Thus far, over 1,200 athletes have become involved with VFN, including Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Hunter Pence, all members of the World Series-bound San Francisco Giants. Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre has also become VFN’s official NFL Ambassador. ”[VFN] is so simple…I was sold right away,” said Favre. ”I can’t say I understand the technology behind it or how it works, but it’s marketing that eliminates the middleman. It wasn’t possible until this.”
What is unique about VFN is that its assets act as advertising units, can be placed anywhere on the web and are easily accessible on mobile devices. ”The individual athlete didn’t have a platform that really allowed him to engage with an audience and ultimately be able to monetize that audience,” explained Wilhite. ”We created a virtual fan network that is a turnkey platform of digital assets. We manage the whole process and share ad revenue with athlete.” VFN receives payments from brands that sponsor fan cards and by integrating advertising networks into its service. Popchips teamed up with VFN, and the brand saw an 18% sales lift nationally. Blackrock iShares, Gatorade, and Limos.com have all run advertising campaigns on VFN, as well.
A plethora of information about a player is packaged into a fan card, which includes real-time updates, an athlete’s stats and sometimes more personal items such as an athlete’s favorite music and/or charity. The goal is to provide consumers with an athlete’s complete digital presence in one location. VFN’s first athlete client was pitcher Tim Lincecum of the Giants. The company now has a digital license with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), which grants it access to all Major League Baseball players. It has also structured deals with over twenty sports agencies on behalf of their clientele.
Wilhite admits that most athletes do not have a social graph large enough to motive a brand to get involved with them, but he believes in his technology platform that he says conforms to how advertisers spend money online. ”We deliver a really engaging and cool experience that allows people to engage with a sports hero. We are really dedicated to that fan sports hero experience.” VFN hopes to exploit that experience to continue to enable athletes to make off-the-field money and build their personal brands socially in conjunction with providing brands a new, precise social media channel.
Darren Heitner is an attorney at Wolfe Law Miami, P.A. in Miami, Florida, Founder of Sports Agent Blog, and Professor of Sport Agency Management at Indiana University. Follow him at @DarrenHeitner and learn more about him at http://www.darrenheitner.com.
- Published on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 01:26
With the World Series back in San Francisco (yes!), the depth of support for the Giants by the local fan base amazes everyone who visits this place.
The town is awash in orange and black jackets, hats, T-shirts, and blankets, not to mention Panda hats, baby giraffe hats, and much, much more.
Even the buses proudly display messages reading “Go Giants!”
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are alive with fans posting and sharing photos, links, and exhortations in support of their stars.
Amidst all this frenzy is a local startup, theVirtual Fan Network (VFN) that has radically updated that old tradition of the collectible baseball card that was once a part of so many kids’ childhoods.
The result is a free digital fan card, interactive and with real-time updates, including the relevant social media chatter, the latest stats, photos and video.
VFN has cards for over 1,200 athletes, but who was the very first one to sign up when the company launched last year?
Giants’ pitcher Tim Lincecum.
“Tim has a lot of very forward-looking people on his team,” says VFN founder Brian Wilhite, himself a former shortstop in college at LSU.
In this case, the “team” he is referring to includes Lincecum’s agents and business partners, which include a T-shirt company.
The enigmatic pitcher also has an active presence on social media. As of earlier today, Lincecum had over 458,000 “likes” on Facebook, for example.
Three other Giants have since joined Lincecum on VFN – fellow pitchers Matt Cain and Barry Zito, and slugging outfielder Hunter Pence.
Of the four, Pence is by far the most active on social media. “Hunter is crazy active on Facebook and Twitter,” says Wilhite. “He takes it to a whole new level.”
This kind of interaction and engagement with fans, which was never possible before digital media, represents an opportunity for athletes to take more control of their own brands and earn new revenue streams.
Which is exactly what VFN is about.
“We're unlocking the digital advertising media spend for athletes,” says Wilhite. “They’ve never had access to that before.”
At the very top of each VFN card is what looks a bit like a banner ad. This is where companies like Verizon, All State, Gatorade, The Sporting News, and others are running advertising campaigns targeted at fans.
A typical media buy of this type may yield around $10,000 for the athlete, although Wilhite says several of VFN’s sports stars are approaching “six-figures” at this point.
Wilhite stresses that VFN is not just for “A List” athletes, but for all athletes. In that regard, he points to a partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Association to promote all of those active in the sport today.
“We work with guys who are not superstars but maybe utility players, like Mike Fontenot or Ryan Theriot,” he says. “They all have fan bases somewhere, like where they played in high school or college, and we can target those local areas with advertising campaigns quite easily.”
VFN has recorded 50 million ad impressions so far and is growing fast. One surprise is how popular many American athletes are overseas.
“We’ve discovered that the fan base of the athletes, especially baseball players, knows no boundaries -- it is global,” says Wilhite. “Lincecum is very popular in Southeast Asia.”
(I suspect that may be partly because Lincecum is part Filipino; his mother is the daughter of Filipino immigrants.)
Wilhite says the large U.S. military deployments overseas are probably also driving some of the global demand.
While the cards are available on the web, Wilhite says the company is “mobile first” and that hand-held devices are driving the business. The cards are written in html5, but custom mobile apps are on the way.
The company, which is bootstrapped with one strategic investor, is headquartered downtown and has 12 employees, including a former senior engineer from Google.
VFN anticipates earning over $1 million revenues this year and projects reaching $7 million in 2013. Ecommerce is being integrated into the content. (Some athletes, like Lincecum, already have “shop” as an option on their cards.)
Since many of the athletes are active with charities, links to those activities are on the cards also, so basically fans can find everything they want to know about the stars in one place.
Beyond that, Wilhite envisions a company that will just keep growing.
“Every year there are new sports heroes born. And their fan bases don't abandon them after they've stopped playing.”
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is a spokesperson for the company, for example.
And although the younger set (15-35) of fans are very active on VFN, as you would expect, older demographics, such as executives who are fans of pro golfers, also form a significant base, one that is also easily targeted in this digital age of online advertising.
- Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 01:26
Athletes want to interact with their fans, fans want engaging experiences with their idols, and advertisers want to generate awareness and sell products. Virtual Fan Network created an integrated solution that solves these needs with one product, the Virtual Fan Card, which is rolling out it's new ad units.
Interactive Brand Unit - For a functioning example CLICK HERE
For generating brand awareness we created two types of engaging content. The first, is our interactive brand shade that features a suite of rich solutions including sweepstakes, photo gallery, social streams, video and plenty more.
Direct Response Brand Unit - For a functioning example CLICK HERE
The second is geared for brands interested in Direct Response. When a user hovers over the initial banner ad above the athlete content, a full takeover featuring a standard 300x250 banner ad will appear with a strong call to action to illicit clicks. To see this in action, CLICK HERE
- Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 01:26
(Steve Elkington and Terrell Jones at Virtual Fan Network headquarters in San Francisco)
"The Virtual Fan Network is fantastic. For fans, it puts what they need to know about their favorite players into one concise and simple package. Instead of going on a wild goose chase, the most relevant information is right at their fingertips." - Steve Elkington
Elkington has 10 wins on the PGA Tour and 10 top-10 finishes in major championships, including a win in the 1995 PGA Championship at the Riviera Country Club. His experience and reputation bring value to Virtual Fan Network as Steve continues to have a strong digital presence with his social media site, Secret in the Dirt, where golfers thoughout the world connect.
Steve has spent over 50 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings from 1995 to 1998 and has been a member of Champions GC, site of 1990, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003 TOUR Championships.
- Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 01:26
VFN's new product is rolling out with several sports agencies in the following months, including Beverly Hills Sports Council, The Institute for Athletes and BC Sports. Agents can now feature all their talent in a custom VFN collection showcasing athletes Virtual Fan Cards. This collections will live in their websites, facebook pages and the VFN Zone. If you are a sports agent and want to learn about this opportunity CLICK HERE.
- Published on Friday, 05 October 2012 11:26
San Francisco Business Times by Eric Young, Reporter
Pro athlete player cards used to be something that kids collected in shoe boxes. Now a fast-growing San Francisco company is creating the next generation of player cards: digitized pictures of players for use in web-based ad campaigns to build exposure for companies and create a new revenue stream for athletes in the process.
Virtual Fan Network, a 15-employee firm started last year, lines up pro athletes across various sports who are willing to have their images used in online promotions for companies such as Popchips, Gatorade, Bleacher Report and others. Among more than 1,200 athletes with VFN are some of the most famous, such as Tim Lincecum and Larry Fitzgerald, to the lesser known, including Dee Gordon and Nichole Denby.
The digital “player cards” – which can be viewed on a computer or cell phone – are meant to appeal to fans by incorporating links to players’ Twitter or Facebook accounts, biographical information and videos. Those “cards” can also be shared among friends via Twitter or posted on Facebook.
Many athletes already use social media. Some players have millions of Twitter followers. VFN’s strategy of merging commercialism and fandom is a natural outgrowth of the social media phenonmenon, experts said. “Players understand there is not only money to be made but also a branding opportunity” for both players and companies, said Bryan Srabian, who closely follows the use of social media by players, teams and companies as the social media director for the San Francisco Giants.
Lincecum was the first athleteto strike a deal with VFN. As a player with some 452,000 “likes” on his Facebook page, the Giants pitcher’s online appeal was already established. Apart from the money a player can get from being part of an ad campaign, the digital player cards can help a player boost the number of Facebook “likes” or Twitter followers. That, in turn, can make a player even more desirable for yet another online ad campaign, said Mika Marquart, director of athlete marketing at Lincecum’s agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council.
VFN’s business has taken off. Founder and CEO Brian Wilhite said he expects $7 million in sales this year, up from about $1.5 million last year. “We are unlocking new revenue for athletes and making (players) accessible to brands,” he said. Companies can use one player or groups of players’ digital cards in an online banner advertisement or other promotion. Companies such as Popchips and Gatorade have run online campaigns using several athletes to build awareness of new products.
VFN’s offering has especially strong appeal to companies that might not be able to afford to strike a deal directly with a well known athlete. Those kinds of exclusive promotional deals can start in the high five figures.
Companies such as Limos.com, a San Francisco – based provider of limousines said that VFN enabled it to run an online promotion with Morris Claiborne, this year’s Dallas Cowboys’ first round draft pick, that would have been too expensive otherwise, In exchange for placing its corporate logo on Claiborne’s player card on Facebook, Limos gave free limo rides to the NFL draft. The campaign helped drive home the point that Limos.com provides, “not just a car service and a driver, it’s an experience,” said Tim Black, Limos.com spokesman. For athletes, the Virtual Fan Network is a way to make money from an advertising campaign without doing much more than approving the use of their image.
For athletes, the Virtual Fan Network is a way to make money from an advertising campaign without doing much more than approving the use of their image. The money spent on an ad campaign is split evenly between the athlete and VFN. That can result in payments to players of around $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the length of the ad campaign.
While well-known athletes will naturally be in highest demand, lesser-known athleteswho have a niche following can alson cash in, said Brett Favre, a retired NFL quarterback and now VFN investor. “it’s a way for players who can get lost in the shuffle” to reap some commercial success, he said.
- Published on Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00
Last week, lawmakers in California approved Senate Bill 1525, which may have a tremendous effect on the athletic programs of several California universities. The bill, also known as the Student Athlete Bill of Rights, requires universities that generate on average more than $10 million in sports media revenue, to provide added protections to their student athletes
Starting January 1, 2012, the bill will require universities that generate more than $10 million in sports media revenue a year to:
· Provide a student athlete with an equivalent scholarship if they suffer an incapacitating injury or illness as a result of participation in an athletic program, and as a result the athletic program does not renew their athletic scholarship;
· Provide a student athlete with an equivalent scholarship if they exhaust their athletic eligibility and are in good standing with the university;
· Pay health care premiums for low-income student athletes;
· Pay all deductibles for injuries related to a student athlete’s participation in an intercollegiate sport;
· Adopt and implement guidelines to prevent and treat sports related concussions and dehydration;
· Afford student athletes the same disciplinary due process as other students; and
· Hold financial and life skill workshops for first and third year student athletes
“With this bill, California is leading by example. Neither personal injury nor poverty should dim the dreams of a student-athlete pursuing a college degree, particularly when their performance has enriched their college,” said Senator Padilla.
Based on current media contracts, only four universities in California receive the threshold amount in sports media revenue. These include University of Southern California (USC), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California, Berkeley (Cal), and Stanford.
Presently, there is no uniform policy that protects a student athlete’s medical coverage, nor are there policies that safeguard the educational support of a student athlete who loses an athletic scholarship due to injury. This bill is an attempt for lawmakers to protect student athletes; however it comes at a high price for the four universities to which it applies. It will be interesting to see how these universities react to the bill.
- Published on Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00
The MLB Players Association has teamed up with the Virtual Fan Network (VFN) to drive visibility and celebrate the annual award for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year.
Taking in consideration the importance of this award for professional baseball players around the country, the VFN decided to honor their efforts by launching its new product, the 'VFN Collector', featuring Virtual Fan Cards for all 30 nominees and placing them within a custom Players Choice 'Collection'. While fans can take a look at the nominees' Virtual Fan Cards, which they can easily navigate from one player to the next, fans can also vote for who they think made merits to win this award.
To garner further visibility for the Award the VFN partnered with SportingNews.com to incorporate the Collection within the MLB section of their website. Follow the link to see who has been nominated and take a look at the Collector. -Players Choice Collection' - Don't forget to vote for your favorite player!
- Published on Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00
Yes, it's true that the US womens' soccer team has been dominant in this sport for a very long time. However, heading into this year's Summer Olympics, a gold medal was by no means a certainty. With last year’s upset at the FIFA World Cup championship game against Japan there was a sense of urgency to determine which team was the best in the World.
Well, both teams met again in a highly anticipated championship game and this time the US displayed the kind of heart, fight, and courage that is expected from Gold medalists and ended the game with a dramatic 2-1 victory.
The VFN Congratulates Christie Rampone, Shannon Boxx and Amy Rodriguez for their tremendous efforts at these Olympic games. Combined they have a total of 9 Gold medals!
Take a look at their Virtual Fan Cards!
Amy Rodriguez --- Shannon Boxx --- Christie Rampone
- Published on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 10:26
The Virtual Fan Network is happy to announce Michael Hoffman as our new CTO. He will bring plenty of experience and value to the company. An ex-Googler, Michael helped build YouTube Live and designed the architecture for streaming the 2012 Olympics on YouTube. Before that, Michael was a lead engineer at Nike working to build Nike iD (now a key component of Nike+).
- Published on Saturday, 14 July 2012 00:00
Congratulations, Matt Cain! You had one of the best nights of any pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.
As professional athletes excel in their careers, there is a key moment where they elevate themselves to the next level, a level where they become stars and eventually legends. Well, Matt Cain just added perfection to his resume and became the first pitcher for the SF Giants to throw a perfect game.
As an effective turnkey platform, the Virtual Fan Network activates these key moments and makes it possible for brands and consumers to enlighten an athlete's success. Through the VFN publisher network, Matt Cain's Virtual Fan Card (VFC) was quickly put up in Sporting News (where it still resides) and was featured wherever his name was mentioned.
- Published on Monday, 09 July 2012 00:00
San Francisco (July 9th, 2012) In an effort to attach their name to such a high-profile event, iShares, a family of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) managed by BlackRock, worked with the VFN to access, activate and amplify their brand in conjunction with four professional athletes participating in this summer's Olympics.
- Published on Monday, 11 June 2012 00:00
Congratulations to VFN college baseball teams LSU and Georgia Tech on winning SEC & ACC conference championships. The VFN can deliver major Division-1 universities to brands that want to align with loyal and passionate fan bases. Capitalize on digital and social media and email us to help with your efforts!
The SEC title for LSU is a league-best, 15th in school history and the Tigers' second conference championship in four seasons. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech's Baseball team became the first-ever No. 8-seed to win the ACC Baseball title at the Gainesville Regional Central.
Click below to see the teams' Virtual Fan Cards
- Published on Sunday, 10 June 2012 00:00
San Francisco (June 12th, 2012) As the popchips Game Changers campaign enters into its final stage, the athletes are making the winning charity appearances. The digital promotion went exceptionally well with the average fan spending over 30 seconds on the Fan Cards and delivering a whopping 20% Engagement Rate. After a "Significant National Sales Lift" - (Michael Parisi - Field Marketing Director), the San Francisco based snack company announced winners for its game changers campaign.
- Published on Saturday, 09 June 2012 00:00
San Francisco (June 9th, 2012) Christie Rampone and Shannon Boxx have been named to the18-player roster for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team 2012 Olympic games. Both were members of the Gold Medal winning team in the last two Olympics and know what it takes to win at this year’s Olympic tournament edition. Congratulations to Christie who has played 256 times for the USA and becomes the first player to be named to four Olympic teams.
The Virtual Fan Network Launches VFN Golf with Fuzzy Zoeller, Nick Price and Blair O’Neal to Drive Engagement With Brands
- Published on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 00:00
The Virtual Fan Network Launches VFN Golf with Fuzzy Zoeller, Nick Price and Blair O'Neal to Drive Engagement With Brands
San Francisco (February 28, 2012) Amplify Social's Virtual Fan Network today launched VFN Golf division to extend to the world of golf its proprietary platform that enables professional athletes to monetize and amplify their digital presence. VFN Golf launches with iconic PGA TOUR champion Fuzzy Zoeller, World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Price, Big Break winner and model Blair O’Neal, and LPGA rising star Allison Walshe. Mike Galeski, formerly of Peter Jacobsen Sports and Callaway Golf, joins Amplify as Director to run the VFN Golf division.
- Published on Friday, 20 January 2012 09:56
The NFL Players Association has teamed up with the Virtual Fan Network to create a Fan Card for the upcoming Astroturf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl - check out more info here
- Published on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 00:00
10 Tech Start Ups That Wowed Us - iMedia Connection, by Jim Nichols (December 14, 2011)
The market is stuffed with fascinating digital marketing startups doing everything you can think of, and a bunch of things you couldn't even think of. In this midst are a collection of outfits focused on solving your digital marketing problems. Find your problem below and check out the company focused on solving it.
- Published on Monday, 21 November 2011 00:00
San Francisco (November 21, 2011) Amplify Social, a San Francisco-based digital technology company, today announces the launch of The Virtual Fan Network a rich media content network that empowers brands to work directly with athletes to engage with their fan-base in short term, CPM-based, media campaigns. Amplify Social launches with exclusive contracts for over 300 active athletes in major sports including MLB's Tim Lincecum, the NFL's Marcedes Lewis, Mike Wallace, Michael Turner, and NFL legend Brett Favre. Additional athletes include Shannon Boxx, of the Women’s US Olympic Soccer Team, and Freestyle Skiers Simon Dumont and Sarah Burke, with many more being signed daily.
- Published on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 00:00
Amplify Social Launches The Virtual Fan Network To Enable Brands to Associate With Professional Athletes For Fast, Low-Cost, Viral Digital Sports Marketing
San Francisco (November 15, 2011) Amplify Social, a San Francisco-based digital technology company, today announces the launch of The Virtual Fan Network a rich media content network that empowers brands to work directly with athletes to engage with their fan-base in short term, CPM-based, media campaigns. Amplify Social launches with exclusive contracts for over 300 active athletes in major sports including MLB's Tim Lincecum, the NFL's Marcedes Lewis, Mike Wallace, Michael Turner, and NFL legend Brett Favre. Additional athletes include Shannon Boxx, of the Women’s US Olympic Soccer Team, and Freestyle Skiers Simon Dumont and Sarah Burke, with many more being signed daily.
- Published on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 00:00
Blending digital media and sports marketing, Amplify Social's new network teams brands with professional athletes' endorsements.
According to the recently founded shop, The Virtual Fan Network already boasts exclusive contracts for over 300 active athletes, including Major League Baseball's Tim Lincecum; the National Football League's Marcedes Lewis, Mike Wallace, and Michael Turner, as well as (retired) NFL great Brett Favre.