PowerSports Business

February 15, 2016

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MOTORCYCLE Hookit takes the guesswork out of working with athletes BY LIZ KEENER MANAGING EDITOR It wasn't long ago that I was having a conversa- tion with a leader at an aftermarket company, and he was discussing an issue he'd had in sponsoring a racer. That racer had performed well the year prior and had become more rec- ognized in the industry. However, the year his company decided to sponsor said rider, the results weren't the same, and he wasn't getting the ROI he had hoped for out of the deal. For many companies, sponsoring riders has been a game of chance. Just because riders do well one year doesn't mean they'll perform well the next, and even if they're a leader in their respective series, they may not push your brand the way you'd like them to. Enter Hookit, which is trying to change the way companies offer and monitor their sponsorships and create a better partnership between the racers and their sponsors. Hookit was launched by Scott Tilton and RJ Kraus. The original company was called SponsorHouse, and it was created in 2001 as a platform for amateur racers to create online profiles to attract potential sponsors. "Over time it started to grow to a point where it was more than just sponsorship. It was more of a social platform for the athletes to use and promote themselves," Tilton recalled. With this evolution, Tilton and Kraus rebranded the company as Hookit in 2010. And then it evolved again. "It was probably about two years ago that we started to get a lot more pressure from the brands to do a lot better job qualifying who these riders and athletes are, so they didn't have to sift through finding racers versus non- racers, or racers at the level they were looking for, so [we] started measuring all of them," Tilton said. Hookit's primary service now revolves around tracking professional and amateur athletes' social media presence and race results. Each athlete tracked is given a score (the Hookit Score), which Tilton described as simi- lar to a credit score. "We track everything from events to social media to wearable tech devices, digital media like YouTube and Vimeo, and we roll all that together into a score, and that's now what the athletes use to benchmark to compare them- selves to each other, and the brands use it to qualify who they should pick for their pro- grams," he said. About 100 brands, mostly from the power- sports aftermarket, use Hookit for a variety of purposes. Some use it to track contractual obli- gations of their riders; others use it to discover new professional talent to sponsor; some grow their amateur programs using Hookit, and some TV networks use the dashboard to decide which riders to feature during their broadcasts. "Now not only the brands, but media prop- erties, teams, leagues — whoever — can use this to help measure the value of their sports marketing dollars," Tilton said. Depending on each client's needs, the Hookit dashboard can track everything from social media mentions and hashtags to its new- est image analysis service that identifies logos spotted in photos and videos. "The tool itself is designed to help brands manage their athlete programs from top to bot- tom," Tilton said. Because Hookit works to meet each client's needs individually, the platform can work for brands who sponsor only a handful of amateurs to companies like GoPro, which has about The science of athlete sponsorships 26 • February 15, 2016 • Powersports Business www.PowersportsBusiness.com See Hookit, Page 29 Hookit tracks the social media reach of both amateur and professional athletes, such as reigning AMA Super- cross champion Ryan Dungey. On its homepage, Hookit displays the top athletes in social media across a variety of sports. Recently Ken Roczen and Ami Houde held the top spots in motocross.

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