James Kotecki (00:08):
This is CES Tech Talk. I'm James Kotecki, bringing you an interview that I recorded live at the C Space Studio at CES 2023. Enjoy. Hey. Welcome back. You're in the C Space Studio, sponsored by Salesforce here at CES 2023.
I am James Kotecki and I'm joined by a Super Bowl champion, Jen Prince, chief commercial officer of the Super Bowl champion LA Rams. Thanks so much for joining us here.
Jennifer Prince (00:37):
Of course, James.
James Kotecki (00:38):
So chief commercial officer at an NFL team. What does that mean? What do you do day to day?
Jennifer Prince (00:44):
That's a great question. So I started December 1st. It was the first time that the Los Angeles Rams brought in a chief commercial officer, which is essentially creating partnerships that span across working with brands to technology partners and thinking about, "How can we catapult our business forward," but by way of other brands getting to sit alongside the Los Angeles Rams.
And so, commercially we are working with partners and we go very deep in our partnerships. We do not call our teams, "Sponsorships," for example.
James Kotecki (01:15):
Jennifer Prince (01:15):
We call ourselves partnerships. We're a team of almost 35 people strong. We are very excited about the conversations that we've had and the partnerships that we've developed. Plus, what is to come in the future.
James Kotecki (01:28):
I know they're probably all your children and you appreciate all the partnerships that you have. Do any stand out as particularly interesting or maybe relevant for the CES audience?
Jennifer Prince (01:36):
James, you're not supposed to ask that if they're all equally important. We have almost 90 partners. From a few years ago, when we opened SoFi, we have our founding partners, our naming rights partner in SoFi, for example. But really, when we think about the categories of companies that want to connect with us, it really does span across everything from auto to technology to travel, media, entertainment and more. So I do love them equally.
James Kotecki (02:06):
Of course.
Jennifer Prince (02:06):
They all play a role in how we get to show up, because we're sitting alongside of them. And so, they all really stand out.
James Kotecki (02:11):
How does technology play a role for you in what you do? You're obviously here at CES for a reason. How are you using technology to promote these partnerships?
Jennifer Prince (02:18):
Yes. Technology innovation is at the core of how the Los Angeles Rams have always been thinking. We're first in everything when you look back at our history. From having the first openly gay player, to the first black contracted player, to the first male cheerleader, and on and on and on. When we think about everything from football, our coach, our style, how we do things differently, challenging the status quo, we think about innovation and technology.
And so, we showed up at CES, which is not as expected for a sports team yet. We are using innovation throughout the fan journey, how we think about our brand, the types of partners that we're aligning with, how we are operating, and really, touchpoints and engagement with consumers.
CES has been really meaningful for us to not only think about the next technologies that are going to make us better and smarter with how we engage, from the football field to with fans partners alike, but also, how to stay ahead of the curve, think differently, and be defiantly original in our thinking.
James Kotecki (03:27):
What are some of those technologies that you think fans will get to experience in the coming years that will change and elevate the brand experience?
Jennifer Prince (03:33):
When you think about Gameday as an example, which is our season. Our season is about to end, and we have to think about the off-season and 365 and our touchpoints with fans, because they never sleep. They never take breaks. And so, I would say that the touchpoints are the in real life venue experience. How do we make them meaningful? How do we bring innovation, the freshness, into each season?
We have been at SoFi for the last two years with fans in stands. And so, we have taken all the learnings from these two years, but we're just getting started. The state-of-the-art facility has incredible technology innovation and capabilities. We continue to pull levers, but when we think about our technology stack and how we can layer things on top of that, it's all to surprise and delight fans and to keep the experience very fresh.
James Kotecki (04:24):
Do you use the term Metaverse in how you're thinking about the future? We talk about that a lot here in the C Space Studio. If so, what does that mean? What are you thinking along those lines?
Jennifer Prince (04:31):
We definitely think about the Metaverse. We had partnered earlier last season with 6Connex as one example, where we have a virtual Rams Fan House. A Rams House that, virtually, if you can't be at SoFi Stadium for our games in season, or if off-season you want to get that surprise and delight and connection with the Rams, you can go to the fans ... Sorry. The fans can go into the Rams House and into the stands virtually.
James Kotecki (04:59):
This is a physical building?
Jennifer Prince (04:59):
James Kotecki (04:59):
It's all virtual?
Jennifer Prince (05:00):
This is in the Metaverse. So it's all virtual.
James Kotecki (05:03):
Cool. Cool.
Jennifer Prince (05:03):
And so, it's just this nice enhancement and compliment to being in the building. For those of the fans who can't be there or those who are interested in seeing SoFi Stadium, you can get into the culture and the ethos of the Los Angeles Rams with the ... Sorry. With 6Connex and with everything that really matters.
We're creating other Metaverse-like experiences, which is even when we think about AR, which is also why we are here, is how we're using AR as this incredible enhancement to the experience of what you see and what meets the eye, versus what you can through a screen, and how we're democratizing the way that AR impacts our fans as well.
James Kotecki (05:47):
And this would be for folks who are at the game? They can look onto the field and see different overlays and things like that?
Jennifer Prince (05:51):
Yes. With our partnership with ARound, we have tested this season ... When you're in the stadium, you can use their app, which we're prompting you to from our Infinity Screen. And then, when you're sitting there, you can see more from your actual seat and location. But for those who are not at SoFi Stadium on Gameday, we had another experience. It was a choose your own adventure through the app ARound to then see SoFi Stadium from afar as well.
James Kotecki (06:19):
Did winning the Super Bowl ... This was about three months after you joined the organization?
Jennifer Prince (06:23):
James Kotecki (06:23):
Your organization won the Super Bowl.
Jennifer Prince (06:24):
James Kotecki (06:25):
Did winning the Super Bowl change your job in any significant way? Did it make it harder? Did it make it easier? You're holding up the ring right there.
Jennifer Prince (06:32):
That's for you, James.
James Kotecki (06:34):
This is for me?
Jennifer Prince (06:34):
James Kotecki (06:35):
I'll hold this up for folks. I don't know if we can get a tight shot of this. This is a legit ...
Jennifer Prince (06:39):
This is the Super Bowl ring.
James Kotecki (06:40):
Obviously, this is the Super Bowl ring. I guess the fact that I'm holding it makes me a de facto or second tier Super Bowl champion for the moment until I give this back. Thank you so much for this honor.
Jennifer Prince (06:50):
James Kotecki (06:51):
I feel empowered. But did it change your job in a significant way?
Jennifer Prince (06:56):
Winning the Super Bowl is the North Star for sports and NFL, and it has really elevated what's possible. Not only on the field, but in the business. I walked in December 1st, I got to finish the season and the Super Bowl. But then, thinking about planning the future, not only for this next season and beyond. It really helped us think about, "How do we stay humble, but have this incredible win to really help elevate what we are?"
If you think about our brand, for example, the Los Angeles Rams is really a global brand. We pride ourselves on that. In that, we're not just an NFL team sitting in Los Angeles. We get to sit in the center of SoFi Stadium, which has become this mecca of entertainment sitting in the heart of Los Angeles, and is bringing more than just the Los Angeles Rams into the building.
But we think with all of the assets and all of the wins, plus what's to come in our business and how we continue iterating on our thinking ... The Super Bowl helped catapult what's possible with partnerships, community events, player interaction, bringing more attention to SoFi Stadium and more.
James Kotecki (08:11):
Beyond your industry, beyond the sports world, is there someone else or something else that inspires you to innovate?
Jennifer Prince (08:18):
I would say CES has been this incredible place that I have been to probably a dozen years. Coming here, there are so many individuals plus innovations in technologies that I think have played a major role in my career, getting to this place.
However, I am newer to sports, sitting at a team directly. Stan Kroenke and what he brings with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Even though he sits within sports and within the Rams organization at the top as ownership, what he brings with all of the other assets, teams, and capabilities to what we think about in our business ... I would say it's Stan Kroenke and his organization.
James Kotecki (09:01):
Well, thanks so much. I'm going to put this on and see if I achieve ... Can I put this on?
Jennifer Prince (09:05):
I want you to put that on.
James Kotecki (09:06):
I'm going to see if I achieve new powers here in the studio. Thanks so much for joining us.
Jennifer Prince (09:11):
Of course.
James Kotecki (09:11):
Jen Price of the LA Rams. And of course, I'm going to give this back to you. I'm almost nervous holding this. Thank you so much for joining us here in the C Space Studio.
Jennifer Prince (09:18):
Of course. Of course. Thank you, James.
James Kotecki (09:21):
Well, I hope you enjoyed that live conversation from CES 2023. Look up the CES C Space Studio for more conversations like that and get even more CES at ces.tech. That's ces.tech. Of course, please subscribe to this podcast, so you don't miss a moment. I'm James Kotecki talking Tech on CES Tech Talk.