By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
Janaury 1, 2017: According to Merriam-Webster, America's leading dictionary publisher, the Word of the Year for 2016 is “surreal,” so designated based on a “high volume of lookups and a significant year-over-year increase in lookups.”
Merriam-Webster defines the word surreal as "having the disorienting, quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic."
And that may be one way to also define the Top Ten Sports Marketers of the Year for 2016.
Surreal could include the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908, the NFL’s Rams moving back to Los Angeles after more than 20 years in St. Louis, the 500 NFL players who helped to design their own shoes for the "My Cleats My Cause" campaign, Los Angeles being selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee to bid for hosting duties for the 2024 Summer Games after Boston dropped out and NBCU’s success broadcasting the 2016 Summer Games despite a plethora of challenges.
Sir Real would be a way to refer to Craig Sager and his amazing fight with cancer until sadly succumbing on Dec. 15, with one positive result being the attention and public awareness for the Sager Strong Foundation and its support of cancer research.
And the real deals would be a category for the American Cancer Society and its joining with universities and college coaches for nationwide cause marketing efforts; the glittering growth of Topgolf and the NOW line from Topps over the past year; and the NHL putting together the World Cup of Hockey, a success on the ice and in marketing.
There were many reasons that the ten leagues, organizations and events were selected as the Top Ten Sports Marketers of the Year by the staff of NYSportsJournalism. But the underlying and uniting reason was that they separated themselves from all others in marketing, activation, awareness and creativity.
The list was compiled after a review of the stories, articles, Q&A's, features, social media strengths, marketing, business efforts and response from readers, consumers and industry peers about companies, people, organizations, teams, leagues, agencies, medial outlets and others throughout the year.
This was also the reason why two men and two women were named, respectively, as the Male and Female Sports Marketers of the Year: Shaquille O’Neal, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Simone Biles and Carli Lloyd.
The ten companies, leagues and categories will now go to a vote among the public-at-large.
Ultimately, one of them will become the Grand Sports Marketer of the Year and join past winners including BBVA Compass (2010), Mission AthleteCare (2012), Stand Up to Cancer with MLB and MasterCard (2013), The ALS Assn. (2014) and Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles (2015).
Congratulations to all of those nominated for the work and achievements you have had in 2016, and to the achievements to come in 2017 and beyond.
The Top Sports Marketers of the Year for 2016 (in alphabetical order): 2024 Olympics L.A./Paris, American Cancer Society, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Rams, NBCU Rio 2016 Olympics, NFL "My Cause My Cleats", NHL World Cup of Hockey, #SagerStrong with Turner Sports/NBA, Topgolf and Topps NOW.
Top Ten Sports Marketers of the Year
• 2024 Olympics L.A./Paris (See the full story here.)
• American Cancer Society (See the full story here.)
• Chicago Cubs (See the full story here.)
• Los Angeles Rams (See the full story here.)
• NBCU Rio 2016 Olympics (See the full story here.)
• NFL "My Cause My Cleats" (See the full story here.)
• NHL World Cup of Hockey (See the full story here.)
• Sager Strong with Turner Sports/NBA (See the full story here.)
• Topgolf (See the full story here.)
• Topps NOW (See the full story here.)
Male Sports Marketer of the Year: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (See his full story here)
Female Sports Marketer of the Year: Carli Lloyd (See her full story here.)