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Time Warner Cable, ESPN Deportes Combine On Soccer Double Play

After scoring with a multifaceted promotion surrounding Spain's Super Copa tournament, Time Warner Cable and ESPN Deportes are preparing to flank that effort with another futbol-centered campaign this fall.

The nation's No. 2 cable operator and the sports programmer's Spanish-language service will roll out a campaign in October and November configred to boost acquisition of the MSO's El Paquetazo video package, as well as its high-speed data services.

According to executives at the companies, creative is being formulated for spots that will run in cross-channel avails touting the above-mentioned double-play, as well as ESPN Deportes high-definition and's coverage of matches from Spain's top soccer circuit La Liga, England's Barclays Premier League and Mexican futbol.

"We're looking to build on the success of the Super Copa promotion by kicking up awareness for our services and tune-in for ESPN Deportes soccer presentation," said Marisol Martinez de Rodriguez, senior director of target marketing at Time Warner Cable.

Noted David Preschlack, ESPN executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing: "We think it's going to be another win-win-win, where we help Time Warner Cable boost its double-play through the promotion of our linear and online soccer coverage."

The upcoming initiative follows a multipronged promotion the companies executed this past summer around Super Copa de Espana that kicked off the 2011-12 La Liga season and culminated with two of the top clubs in the world, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, squaring off on Aug. 17.

Supported by an array of media and tactics, including a consumer sweepstakes for a Barcelona excursion, the promotion aimed to score by driving acquisition/retention of Time Warner Cable's El Paquetazo digital TV package, augmenting the operator's Facebook activity and bolstering ESPN Deportes HD viewing and loyalty. Time Warner Cable customers also could watch the tournament live on and/or review the games via its on-demand, Lo Mejor on Demand service.

Three sweepstakes winners and their guests, plus Time Warner Cable staffers, traveled to Spain from Aug. 15-18, where they had VIP tickets and suite access to watch Barcelona top Real Madrid 3-2 at Camp Nou (the 2010-11 La Liga winners beat the Copa del Rey victors 5-4 on aggregate following a 2-2 draw in Madrid on Aug. 14).

As part of the accommodations, they stayed at the W in Barcelona, dined at exclusive restaurants and took in the sights, including Sagrada Familia, Columbus Monument, Park Guell, La Rambla and Montjuic.

The effort was fueled by a national cross channel tune-in spot, plus a sweepstakes promo in DMAs served by Time Warner Cable. The TV gambit was supplemented by email blasts and e-newsletters delivered to the MSO's subscribers, as well as rich media ads on The Super Copa trip was also featured in Eclipse Marketing's Nexos Latinos quarterly magazine, which is distributed to over 315,000 of TWC's Latino customers in New York, California, Texas, North Carolina and Kansas City, among other markets.

Preschlack, pointing out that the programmer and the cable operator co-launched, which launched in Los Angeles in May, said Time Warner Cable was "looking boost to El Pacquetazo sales and increase their Facebook friends. Results matter and we'd like to think we helped energize things."

Indeed, the results were strong for El Pacquetazo, the video package of general-market and Spanish-language channels the MSO proffers from $29.99 to $39.99 per month, depending on the DMA. In Los Angeles, for instance, El Pacquetazo comprises 220 networks, including 80 in Spanish,

Rodriguez said the Super Copa campaign netted a 5% increase in El Paquetazo sales overall -- at regular package pricing -- during the promotional period, including upticks of 6% and 5% in New York City and Texas, respectively.

It also led to a quite-friendly Facebook performance, as TWC's added 10,000 friends to lift its total to some 41,000, according to Rodriguez.

"We'd never done anything with such a 360-degree integration," she said. "The Super Copa promotion gave our regional teams something to really get behind. It was a very successful effort that was certainly better than direct-response initiatives."

There were also qualitative anecdotes that also put the promotion in the back of the MSO's net. "The word of mouth positivity was tremendous. We had comments from the sweepstakes winners like "I don't want to wake up from this dream trip to Barcelona,'" Rodriguez noted. "Those are things you can't put a value on."

Rodriguez said TWC's multicultural team wants to continue teaming with ESPN Deportes: "Whether it's sending more people to Spain or working through another promotion, we'd certainly like to expand the relationship."

Preschlack said ESPN is up open to such opportunities and wants to evolve its promotional game plans.

"The Hispanic market is a very important one for us and our partners and we're committed to it," he said. "We want to continue to look at new innovative ways to help our affiliates drive their business."