Sports marketing company Playfly Sports is launching a new production and creative services division, called Playfly Creates, with one-stop shopping in mind for its partners. The new agency-like arm gives Playfly the ability to produce content in-house, tied to the deals it has done and to support additional marketing efforts by its partners.
Productions will include long-form video content, like documentaries and shows, digital content for brand or property partners and commercial advertising campaigns. The division plans to also venture into podcasts.
The goal is to expand Playfly’s production footprint, now formalizing work the company has increasingly done in pro, college, high school and esports into a cohesive division and broadening the scope of its services. In 2021, Playfly was responsible for LSU’s BMW-sponsored Cruising with Coaches series and a number of commercials for brands. Athlete-studded campaigns for employment website Indeed, global manufacturer Mars and digital car retailer Vroom were among Playfly Creates’ products.
The new division will also oversee Playfly’s live sports production. The company currently handles game production for many of its high school athletic association and esports partners, as well as live pre- and postgame shows at select college partner schools, like USC.
“If you think about the historical way you access a fan, it was through a TV broadcast or someone coming into a venue. Now, the way you access fans is most likely first through a digital platform: a website, social stream, application, OTT experience, you name it,” CEO Michael Schreiber said.
“Part of the vision behind Playfly Sports is not only to be really good at sponsorship and media, but it’s to drive innovation around content, digital storytelling and all the elements that really [open up] new categories for sports organizations,” he continued. “So we’ve professionalized the pieces and parts of production we were doing and brought it into one organization, which is Playfly Creates, and added a significant amount of new opportunities and initiatives inside of it.”
One of those growth areas is in NIL for college athletes. Schreiber described potential overlap between athlete marketing rights and future content created for brand partners, where college athletes could star. While some individual state NIL laws restrict the involvement of university partners, Schreiber said Playfly interprets most as being “relatively liberal on that specific topic.”
Playfly has upwards of 2,000 partner brands and properties. Its MMR arm currently manages rights for more than 40 college athletic departments, including LSU, Michigan State and Virginia, as well as a number of conferences. Villanova athletics, another Playfly Sports partner, has tapped the newly formed-Playfly Creates division for wide-ranging custom production efforts. Production, Schreiber said, is already built into many of its multi-media rights deals. The cost of other initiatives will fall on advertisers’ shoulders.
Excel Sports Management, the agency that represents golfer Tiger Woods and MLB legend Derek Jeter, similarly launched a media-centric division in May 2021 as it sought to explore original programming and branded content development, but few in the sponsorship space have done the same.