Monday, May 9, 2011

NTN and BWW reach an agreement. This is news? We'll see.

I never got around to mentioning this, but I guess I should devote some space to a recent announcement:

Thursday, 28 April 2011 00:00
National Sports Grill and Bar Dedicated to Using Buzztime's Restaurant Entertainment and Marketing Platform in its 750 U.S. Restaurants

CARLSBAD, Calif. and MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (April 28, 2011) - NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE Amex: NTN), the leading digital interactive restaurant and bar entertainment network, today announced its multi-year partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (NASDAQ: BWLD), the national sports grill and bar known for its New York-style chicken wings. Buffalo Wild Wings will utilize Buzztime's out-of-home interactive technology to enhance their Guest experience in their 750 restaurants in 45 U.S. states.

I'll spare you the quotes that the marketing people wrote up and assigned to various executives, but if you want to read them you can go here.

Unfortunately, the press release didn't really spell out the meaning of this. Buffalo Wild Wings and NTN Buzztime have been working together for a long time. Buzztime appears at BWW restaurants. Custom BWW games appear on the NTN Buzztime screens at BWW restaurants. So what's new?

To find out, I turned to the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, which presumably had the inside scoop on all of this.

National sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. has entered into a multiyear partnership with NTN Buzztime Inc. that will bring interactive sports and trivia games to BWW's 750 restaurants nationwide.

Yes! They...uh, they rewrote the press release. Well, they did include, verbatim, one comment written by the marketing geeks in the back room.

(And before the marketing geeks hurl epithets at me, I'm one of you. I know the process. Write the quote, take it to the person who presumably said it, make sure they can live with it, then go to the lawyers.)

So I figured I'd go to the Buzztime website, and I began reading about the Buffalo Wild Wings Pick 'Em Challenge...which occurred last year, before this agreement was signed.

It turns out that Buffalo Wild Wings had an earnings conference call in late April, around the same time that this agreement was announced. However, the big news from the call concerned speculation about the possible effects of an NFL strike on Buffalo Wild Wings' business.

"Disruptions to the regular NFL season have the potential to present a temporary challenge for our business and many others," said Chief Executive Sally Smith on a conference call. "But the more months we have of high sales and low wing prices, the more weeks we'll be able to cover of an NFL season if we end up missing some of those weeks."

The company plans to launch promotional programs on a local level that would encourage Sunday traffic....

Hmm. Perhaps Buzztime can assist in drawing Sunday traffic via other means.

But BWW is right in noting that an NFL strike could adversely affect many businesses. For example, bars could cut costs if business goes down - something that's presumably being discussed in Carlsbad.

And no, the CFL won't pick up the Sunday slack. Most CFL games are played on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. However, 2011 U.S. Broadcast information will be finalized in June..

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