partnerships, branding & revenue with josh baker of pbr
In this week’s episode of the Press Play Podcast, Derek Gerber sits down with Josh Baker, Chief Revenue Officer at Professional Bull Riders, LLC. Operating outside of the “Big Four” professional sports in the United States, Josh has the opportunity to create unique, lasting, and impactful partnerships with brands through the PBR.
“We’re starting to kind of crack the egg on non-endemic brands that don’t really care about bull riding per se. What they want is access to our fans.”
EPISODE 17 HIGHLIGHTS
Josh grew up in a small town in Oregon, later attending and graduating from the University of Oregon. After graduating, Josh worked for several different organizations, including the Tacoma Rainiers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and eventually the PBR.
Working with the PBR, Josh has new opportunities that weren’t available in previous positions. For example, endemic brands that partner with the PBR have a much different relationship with fans than in other sports leagues. Consider the NFL. Have you ever been out on the town and seen someone wearing the helmet of their favorite football team? What about the pads that their favorite player sports?
Ultimately, the PBR is a lifestyle brand. Professional bull riders compete in the same brands and clothes that they wear to dinner. Many riders wear Wrangler jeans, Ariat boots, and American hats, just like their fans. Similarly, Ford trucks and Cooper Tires are staples both at PBR events and on the ranch.
Brands that are endemic to the sport have a unique opportunity to be part of the sport and be part of the fans’ everyday lives.
On the other hand, the PBR has begun gaining traction with non-endemic brands that want to partner with the organization. Josh played a crucial role in creating partnerships with brands such as Tractor Supply Co. and ZipRecruiter.
“We’re starting to kind of crack the egg on non-endemic brands that don’t really care about bull riding per se. What they want is access to our fans.” (6:17)
For years, Tractor Supply Co. had been a white whale for events and organizations looking to partner with nationwide sponsors, but the business never took the bait. Josh suggested creating a “College Gameday” type environment to the pitch to Tractor Supply Co., and long-story-shot, the PBR now owns a portable television studio covered in Tractor Supply Co. endorsements.
The PBR uses this portable studio for pre and post-game coverage for many CBS sporting events. One unique trait of the PBR is the only sports entity on national television that produces all of its own content. Practically, this means that the organization controls the narrative surrounding the sport by producing all of the social media content, television programming, etc.
“Due to how we’ve captured the market with content, if someone wants real, high production Western sports content, they have to come through PBR.” (17:57)
This creates a rare opportunity to connect with fans in a way that no other American sports league can. They control every entry point for the sport’s content, allowing the organization to promote itself and its partners effectively.
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