Information Technology – Digital Innovation and Strategic Transformation

Information Technology – Digital Innovation and Strategic Transformation
1. Read articles 12, 2 and 3.

2. Read the NFL and MLB articles. Perform a compare contrast of NFL’s and MLB’s customer experience and information strategies. Take a position on which one of the two developed a stronger customer experience strategy and which one of the two developed a stronger information strategy.
The NFL’s Digital Media Strategy

We are a media company as much as we are a sports company.

-Brian Rolapp, senior vice president of media strategy and digital media for the NFL

In late 2009, the National Football League (NFL) had wrapped up its most-watched season in
twenty years-with games averaging well over 16 million U.S. television viewers. Yet Brian Rolapp,
the NFL’s senior vice president of media strategy and digital media, had little time to celebrate the
league’s latest milestone. As fans across the country were getting ready for a set of playoff games that
would culminate in the 44†‘ Super Bowl, traditionally one of the year’s biggest and most anticipated
events, Rolapp was at work in his New York City office.

After months of in-depth research, Rolapp and his Digital Media team would soon have to present
their strategy for the mobile space at the NFL Owners’ Meeting, where the league’s new strategic
initiatives were debated and, when the time was right, put to a vote. Various potential allies were
vying to replace carrier Sprint as the NFL’s official wireless partner. With the fate of valuable rights
hanging in the balance-such as video highlights, access to live games, and live streaming of the
NFL’s flagship cable channels NFL Network and NFL RedZone-a lot was riding on the team’s
ability to assess the best strategic direction.

Because television rights were at the heart of the NFL’s business model-the NFL’s media
partners, which included the broadcasters CBS, FOX, and NBC, cable channel ESPN, and satellite
provider DirecTV, collectively paid the NFL over $4 billion annually-Rolapp knew he would have
to consider the impact of a wireless deal on the NFL’s overall ability to monetize its content. As
media landscapes were changing dramatically, he wondered about the desirability of working with
broadcasters versus wireless carriers and of forming exclusive versus non-exclusive content
partnerships-and how to balance those considerations with the league’s objective of providing a
compelling experience for as broad a fan base as possible.

Upping the ante was an ambitious goal set by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who wanted the
NFL to reach $25 billion in revenue by 2027-an amount that would mean adding nearly $1 billion in
new revenue on average each year} Rolapp realized that Goodell counted on new-technology deals
such as this one in the wireless space to generate the double-digit growth he envisioned. What was
the best course of action?

Professor Anita Elberse, Kelsey Calhoun (MBA 2010), and Daven Johnson (MBA 2011) prepared this case. HBS cases are developed solely as the
basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective
management.

Copyright © 2010 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685,
write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu/educators. This publication may not be digitized,
photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.

This document is authorized for use by Nara Latip, from 8/15/2013 to 10/30/2013, in the course:
Digital Innovation and Strategic Transformation – Granados – Fall 2013, Pepperdine University.
Any unauthorized use or reproduction of this document is strictly prohibited.

 

Maj or League Baseball Advanced Media: Amer1ca’s
Pastime Goes D1g1tal

It was January 29, 2010. At the Chelsea, Manhattan, offices of Major League Baseball Advanced
Media (commonly referred to as BAM), a team of executives, product managers, and engineers had
gathered in a fifth-floor conference room as Bob Bowman, BAM’s chief executive officer, energetically
walked in to lead their weekly mobile meeting. Among the team members were Chad Evans, director
of mobile product development, and Tracy Pesin, director of mobile engineering, who had just
returned from a three-week assignment at electronics giant Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino,
California – a visit that culminated in Evans and Pesin sharing the stage with Apple’s chief executive
officer Steve ]obs in the much anticipated unveiling of Apple’s new mobile device, the iPad.

It was fitting that Jobs had selected BAM to showcase the only sports-related application for the
iPad. BAM was widely regarded as having the best league website and being one of the most
remarkable success stories in digital media in general} Started in 2000 with a relatively minor
investment from each of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, BAM now generated around
$440 million annually from ticketing, paid content, advertising, and merchandising. In a digital
environment in which most media businesses had failed to find viable business models, BAM, in
2009, had amassed well over 50 million unique visitors per month and 1.5 million subscribers paying
for multimedia content delivered via the web, including half a million subscribers for BAM’s flagship
video product MLB.TV priced at $100 or more a season, while the company’s At Bat Apple iPhone
application was the second-highest selling †app” in Apple’s iTunes store in 2009, with two million
downloads and 60 million videos streamed since its July 2008 debut.

After congratulating Evans and Pesin for pulling off their demo of a baseball app for the iPad to
much acclaim from a worldwide audience of technology enthusiasts, Bowman quickly steered the
meeting to the project’s next steps. He knew much work was still to be done in the roughly 60 days
until the iPad’s launch in March 2010. All BAM had was the set of screen displays shown during the
iPad unveiling that gave an idea of the look and feel of the product, how video highlights could be
integrated, and how users could access statistics on players, games, and game settings. An actual
working app still had to be built, and critical marketing decisions would have to be made. What
would be the right name, set of features, and price for the new iPad app?

Each of the mobile-team members weighed in on the decisions. †You just don’t know in this
technology world what is going to take hold,†concluded Bowman, as he reached for his third Diet
Coke. †The iPhone has been a great success, which led to strong sales for our At Bat app, and the iPad
could become equally important. We have got to get this right.â€

Professor Anita Elberse and Brett Laffel (MBA 2010) prepared this case. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are
not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management.
Copyright © 2010, 2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-
7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harVard.edu/ educators. This publication may not be
digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.

This document is authorized for use by Nara Latip, from 8/15/2013 to 10/30/2013, in the course:

Digital Innovation and Strategic Transformation – Granados – Fall 2013, Pepperdine University.
Any unauthorized use or reproduction of this document is strictly prohibited.

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