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Podcast

Fobi Insider - Episode 2: Keeping the Game Alive

Exclusive interview with Brooks Downing of bd Global sports. Hear how Brooks built one of the largest college basketball content production companies in North America - and how this pandemic put everything in jeopardy until Fobi stepped in with a solution.


Exclusive interview with Brooks Downing of bd Global Sports. Hear how Brooks built one of the largest college basketball content production companies in North America - and how this pandemic put everything in jeopardy until Fobi stepped in with a solution.

Listen to Fobi Insider - Episode 2: Keeping the Game Alive

The following is a transcript of the conversation between Fobi Marketing Director Devon Seidel and SVP of Strategy & Corporate Development Richard Lee.

bd Global Sports, Brooks Downing: Everything we put into place, added up to success for us. In Las Vegas, for instance, we had three people we put out from our game staffing, one test positive and another one just rode with that individual to the test. A third came in, tested positive. Those folks could have been working our event and it's because we had the contacts tracing. We had the testing and that saved us. 

Fobi Marketing Director Devon Seidel: And I was down there for the Fort Myers bubble in Florida. Being able to work on the venue tracing and Loop implementation site, seeing how well and smooth this event was able to run with COVID and all these certain restrictions, have you seen COVID impact live sporting events?

Brooks: Let me start by saying this, had we not had the success we did back in November with Loop and our events and being able to execute all of our events, we would not have an opportunity to do what we're doing today with the Big West Conference.

Devon: Hey, you're listening to Loop experience podcast. Join us for exclusive interviews and behind the scenes updates and all things Loop. Coming at you from the head office storage room, I'm your host, Dev.

I'd like to introduce our next guest on the podcast, Brooks Downing. We're happy to have you on. I bet there's been a lot of buzz recently around the events with your company, which is very exciting. But we want to dig a little bit deeper into your background and kind of the relationship between bd Global and Loop. Brooks, you launched your national sports and marketing firm back in 2012 for the focus in collegiate sports, tourism, coaching and events, kind of, how did that all start?

Brooks: Well, my background obviously has been in college athletics. I came up through the ranks as a PR director for Kentucky basketball. And those who follow NCAA hooks will quickly identify Kentucky as one of the blue blood programs. I was employed there during an era, if you will, the 1990s when it was pretty darn good. And we were going to final fours on a regular basis. We won national championships two out of our three years, three straight final fours. In that setting, it afforded me the opportunity to meet a lot of folks in the business. To experience college basketball at a high level. When I got the itch, after eight years at Kentucky to kind of get out on my own in the early 2000s, I had some great mentors, a couple of different folks that helped me get started and really taught me business. I didn't really know business as well. You get with a university program, it's kind of like being part of a government employee in a way. You can kind of show up and walk through it. We can't do that at Kentucky. You can't do it with this basketball program. You're fully involved, 365 days a year with that sport, with that team, with that public relations effort that we were going with. 

Through that whole deal, you meet so many folks, you get out, you take a chance, kind of a leap of faith and God willing, we were able to succeed. And by 2012, after a few years of learning business, having good mentorship and so forth, we were able to start bdG. And from that, we've grown it into what it is today, which is one of the largest college basketball content producers in north America. Second only truly to ESPN, which obviously has its powerhouse there in Bristol with all of its networks. We obviously don't have a network, but we'll produce 125 to 150 college basketball games, all the division one level, men's and women's as well. And then we turned around and at some point here in the last eight, nine years, we decided, we needed to have a second division. Something that was unrelated to college athletics. And that kind of led us into the professional golf space. And what led us there, it was really just our love for the game. And obviously having connections, having a network through our other business, provided us an opportunity to make a few calls and as an event manager, event space, you know the opportunities that are there. You know how to manage just about any sport. 

Obviously, everyone has its own DNA, if you will. But we were quick to get up to speed on golf. So now we've been in professional golf since, I guess it was January of 17. For the last four or five years, I have really enjoyed that space and continue to grow there as well. So that's kind of how it all came about, basketball and golf. 

Devon: That's awesome. Are you looking to stay kind of in the basketball and golf rounds or expand kind of in the future to different passports?

Brooks: Well, as an entrepreneur, at heart now, I couldn't have said that back in my Kentucky days, but once you get out and get a taste of it, you sure do enjoy being able to create events in areas you want to be in, both the various sports, both the various locations around North America. But we're always opportunistic, if there are other opportunities. We've run bowl games, we've done a number of other events. We run pro tennis tournaments. We run a series for Nike with a lot of the golf pros that are employed, that are brand ambassadors around the country. We're even in their other offshoots within the various sports that we operate. We'll always take a look at growth and other opportunities when they present themselves.

Devon: Yeah. That's great. I just want to kind of go back to you saying there's ESPN and then there's bd Global. Are you saying that they're kind of on the same par, what's your experience in kind of being compared to such a large company as ESPN?

Brooks: Well, it's obviously a tremendous feat that we've been able to develop content that is substantial. Where it falls then in comparison, it just falls. But when we started out and I branched off from Lagardere Limited, one of the bigger agencies out of Europe that we had sold to at one point as I was making my progression up in the business world, took our small business we started, became part of an international firm and then was able to pop out and start bd Global. In the process of all that, we were able to kind of step into the college basketball state space, own and operate some of the destination events like we've done with Loop, as well as start, basically, contracting out with teams to set up home events for them. Just like a broker would. We were brokering events. We'll go out and secure at Kentucky, if you will. We might go get an Indiana and then we'll get three teams to come in and play both of those teams. And then Kentucky and Indiana will play at the end. 

Those are opportunities that we try to put together where those teams are getting home games, which are very valuable for them, but we're able to, as a third party, go out and negotiate better rates for them and putting those events together. We really dove into that space as we continue to build out our destination events. And then collectively, next thing, you looked up and wow, you've got 10 games being played in this event, 24 games being played down in Fort Myers and 12 games up in Vancouver, and as you add all this up, it's like, wow, we just contracted 150 college basketball games, who does that? I mean, really the only people that compare to it are the networks. That put us in some elite territory, but it's been important for us to be in that space. We don't necessarily want to be the largest. We try to be a group that offers a quality relationship, delivers on what it promises to deliver. And at the end of the day, folks can trust us, can utilize us, can be an extension of their program and getting what they need to do along the lines of scheduling. 

We've been successful there. But it also goes back. I mean, we first got started, Nike jumped in with us as a brand. Gatorade jumped in as a brand. We then created a brand relationship with MGM Resorts International. As those brands started to populate in and around bd Global, that really gave us the wherewithal or the pump, if you will, to go out and compete with just about anybody. And we've been very blessed to be in that spot.

Devon: And I wanted to touch on one piece that you said there. You said that your company creates content. You're not just creating these events or creating a way for sports to have tournaments. What do you really mean about, your company creates content?

Brooks: Well, it's multi-leveled and I say that Dev, but first and foremost, we are creating games. We're creating games and match-ups in a location. Then we're creating opportunities to broadcast those games, whether it be network driven, streaming, whatever the options are given the level of match-ups, the time and space. If you come in with good mid-major options or nice match-ups even with Power Five programs here in the US, and yet you're in a location, let's say, over Thanksgiving week where your time windows are really tight because college football, college basketball, NFL, and NBA are all overlapping at the same time. It doesn't give you a lot of good windows. So now we've created that streaming platform, getting it out to the consumer, being able to then leverage sponsorship. All of this kind of intertwines together to where we're a turnkey operator and creating the event, developing the content, bringing on the partnerships and putting that all together to deliver a nice packaged sporting event.

Devon: And I think you hit it on the head exactly there with the turnkey content or the turnkey solution, because nowadays somebody who are wanting to put on events, but if you don't have those industry connections to the streaming, the filming, the referees, to really create an all encompassing event, it's very hard to do. And I bet that was a lot of your history, is just building up those connections in the industry to be able to offer something like you do at such a level that you do.

Brooks: Well, just case in point, I mentioned my start at the University of Kentucky, and when you go to Rupp Arena and you run a home game, you got 23,000 people in attendance. It's the largest fan base, arguably in the country. It rates as the number one college basketball program in attendance, year in and year out. You have the largest media following of any program. I mean, the whole state of Kentucky really gets behind and is very, very interested. Well, it's not a huge state, nonetheless, they're very proud of their basketball program and the championships has brought the pride and the effort that it's given Kentucky from border to border. There's such support from local community to statewide, to international media that attends. And being a part of that team and helping run those home games, you learn so much. You learn how to put it together. You make mistakes. You recover, you build upon that. And so then when you step out on your own like I did, to get into the private business and started doing this for programs all over the country and events and so forth you, you feel like you've seen just about everything.

And obviously the travel and stuff adds another component to it. But at the end of the day just, just very fortunate to have come up through a pathway that taught us a lot and were able to implement those lessons now to be one of the more successful college basketball operators in the business. 

Devon: I've got to see firsthand how successful your events are. I was down there for the Fort Myers bubble in Florida. Being able to work on the venue tracing and Loop implementation Insight, but also seeing how well and smooth this event was able to run with COVID and all these certain restrictions. So kind of, how have you seen, let's look at a wider picture here, have you seen COVID impact live sporting events since you're so connected in that?

Brooks: Obviously, it's not the same. One, not having a crowd. And yet we were fortunate enough because of the local laws where we were playing there in Fort Myers to at least have some of the better crowds that probably we've seen all season and all of college basketball were right there in the Golf course showcase. Alico Arena there at FGCU, Hertz Arena for the men's over their locally right off I-75. I mean, we were able to bring in team less, might have 50 fans per team. People would love that.  They're just not happening outside. Maybe parts of the south here in the US, most places are having zero fans. And that's tough. I mean, it creates all these challenges from the operation standpoint of what do you do with your sponsors.

How do you market this, et cetera, et cetera. It's simplifies event management in one respect, because that's one element that you don't have to really put a lot of effort in because that takes away a big chunk of your marketing and game operations or event implementation. But at the same time, we were struggling trying to figure out, how do we just keep our tournaments alive? How do we just get those done, because one, we wanted to just from our own selfish reasons of keeping business afloat, keeping cashflow going for bdG, critical that that happened. Next, we're very vested in the college basketball landscape. Being able to provide the opportunities for those participating teams was critical. And yet we had some folks bouncing out, not wanting to travel, scared of the pandemic scared of the pandemic. Scared of what could happen if they got caught and half their team got ill while on site, how do we get them home?

We can't fly them. We're 1200 miles away. Whatever the situation may have been. All of those hurdles kind of lined up to where, Hey, we've got these nice and neat 18 tournaments lined up over Thanksgiving week here in the US and the next day we're down to six. We're down to four, we're scrambling. And it's just like, all right, you can't get mad. You want to, you're disappointed, but you can't get mad because it's such uncharted territory everybody's in. We had to come up with a plan to sell to our teams that wanted to participate, that would give them the confidence that they could show up and get games played, because they that's so critical to their success. And I'll tell you, it all starts with Loop. We get Loop involved, was a critical piece of the puzzle for us, because if that doesn't happen, then there's no way we can sell through. If we don't have Loop, plus the right testing protocols put in place, we don't have tournaments.

That's simple. And I'm sitting here today going, man, I don't know if I would have had to lay off the entire staff. We'd be counting down the days to get to next fall, to when hopefully events returned. But instead now, we're looking at even new opportunities here in the first quarter to replace some of the content we did lose. We're excited about where we're sitting given all the two by fours over their head, we've been given, been hit with. We're still alive, we're still afloat, and it's because of those couple of pillars that we put in place to be able to activate and go forward. 

Devon: And thank you for being so candid about that too. I can only imagine the struggle of trying to plan an event. There's no case study out there to look at or no foundation or set of rules to follow. What was it like with your team to really sit back and say, "Hey, going to go forward with these tournaments." What does planning look like?

Brooks: Well, we do a lot of work in Vegas. Everybody associates Vegas as gamblers. And sometimes you feel like you're gambling a little bit by trying to move forward and forge your head. I mean, we had some of our competition that turned around that laid off their entire staff early on during the pandemic. And they're not even planning to come back. We had others that were trying to hang on and here we were going. All right, we've got a plan. Is this making sense? Are we going to be able to go forward with that plan? And to be honest, there were times when we weren't sure. There were times we were thinking, we're going to be better than we were even planning, that they're all going to come to us. We started creating all these scenarios to your point.

There wasn't a playbook for this. In order to do what we actually did, that was actually hanging on by our fingertips to keep our events alive. At one point, we thought we could have a 100 basketball teams in Las Vegas and a bubble during December. And then the winds changed on the pandemic and the attitudes from the bigger schools were, you know what, we're going to pull back and play at home. We're going to get people in here, we'll test them ourselves. We're just going to kind of stay close and tight. If the opponent doesn't test through, then we just won't play the game, but we're going to not travel. We're not going to go to a bubble. We don't want to be housed for three weeks in a one location. Let's pull back. All of a sudden, over a course of several weeks there, and let's say October, everything changed. We went from going bubble directive to now we don't have a bubble, let's just hang on to what we have. That's kind of what we dealt with during that term. I mean, literally, it depended on the day. You'd walk out of the office going, Hey, this is great. I think we've got a great plan. We might increase our revenues in production in our content that we were initially planning. The next day going, crap, I'm not sure I'm going to have an event.

Devon: Yeah. I can only imagine the kind of winds of change there. Kind of what were the things that you were able to instill in these teams to give them the confidence to join your tournament and really take a chance with bd Global?

Brooks: Well, I think when we married our two groups, we had Summit One source as our testing provider. And when John Ballester and our friends out in Las Vegas that we're working with Rob and you and Mike at Loop, when he introduced us, then all of a sudden, we had two teammates that we felt like, get us over the hump. We started working on our testing protocols, putting that in place, seeing what that would look like. We started working on our contact tracing which was critical too and then implemented both of those together in a dashboard setting to where we could actually monitor, our medical team could make the right decision. We could then go back to our teams, as other events were failing and falling apart because these two pillars weren't buttoned up, we were able to go back with confidence and say, "Here's what we're doing in testing. Here's what we're doing with contact tracing and together, we're going to give you the confidence that you can come down and you're going to get games played."

We had teams tell us that. Got on the plane, flew to Fort Myers, came in and going, man, I can't believe this. We're thinking we're coming down here. We just might have a three or four day vacation because we're not sure any games are going to get played. Because they were seeing what else was going on in the college basketball landscape. We got all of our games done. We didn't have anybody test out. Nobody caught it during our tournament. Nobody caught it immediately afterwards, traveling home, they were able to continue to play. Everything we put in the place, added up to success for us. And it's because we had the contact tracing. We had the testing. We also had an attitude, we were trying to figure out a way, if safe for all participants to play the games. We have a medical director in place that would pull together the teams, athletic trainers or physicians to discuss any issues that arose. We could do our contact tracing to see what others were affected. We implemented the same strategies for our game operations folks, and that saved us.

In Las Vegas, for instance, we had three people we put out from a game staffing that may or may not have come in contact with the players, but at the end of the day, would have been sitting right there, court side, running the clock, doing whatever, asymptomatic, one test positive, another one just rode with that individual to the test. A third came in, tested positive. Those folks could have been working at our event had we not had that in place. All of those elements, testing, contact tracing, added up to playing basketball. And for us, I mean, not only did it help us weather this pandemic storm in the heart of this horrible second or third wave, we were all in, in November, but I think it also earned us strikes to where we'll be able to go forward, being able to put together even higher quality events and hopefully with more ease because teams know we are the folks that got it done in the business.

Devon: Yeah. And have you had a lot of reach out? Are people noting bd Global as being this group, this company that can put successful events on, creating these bubbles with like what you said, contact tracing, onsite testing? Are you realizing that now, are you getting phone calls, emails?

Brooks: There's 357, some odd division I men's programs just about the same on the women's side. Basically 700 basketball teams in the country. As large as that sounds, it's still a small community and people talk and yes, what we've got in the pipeline that we're going to announce here probably in the next 45 days, are some of the events, that'll be the best events in all of college basketball next season. And I think it's a direct response to how we conducted business here during the pandemic.

Devon: That's great to hear. I mean, we're excited to continue keeping working with you. We have a lot of Loop customers and Loop investors that listen to this podcast. I want to kind of give them a firsthand or inside look into actually what it was like when we were working together on those first few events. Kind of what was it like working with our technology and team? And I mean, if you say you didn't even realize we were there, that's maybe best case scenario, because that means we were doing our job. We were out of the way, we were kind of successfully implemented, but kind of for our listeners, what was it like working with our team?

Brooks: No. And I've told you that before, for us, the ease of implementation of having Loop on board with our events can not be properly outlined. We had our calls leading up. We had our planning. We put together kind of the flow where our teams would be throughout the day, each day. With our three main locations identified. The headquarters hotel, the team resort, basically where all the teams were housed, as well as officials and other staff. Secondly, our ground transportation piece at least in Fort Myers where we had to use ground transportation to get to the venue. In Las Vegas, it was all self-contained where they could walk to the gym. We kind of took ground transportation. We were able to minimize it down to where it was just utilized for airport travel, that kind of deal.

And then third, being the arena. Knowing the primary spaces, within the hotel, within the arena and the ground transportation where applicable, we were able to kind of set aside what that schedule would look like for Loop and then Loop able to take that, set up its contact tracing, set up its equipment to where it was so easy. When they can pick up their phone and use the wallet pass and tap and go, we kind of had a flow where everybody was at all times. And that was remarkable because we didn't have to do it. We set up the plan in advance with Loop, Loop shows up with its staff. They took care of it. We gave Loop the tour upon arrival. Here's where we're going to be. Here's the location. And it was all taken care of.

And then Loop, our only interaction was, "Hey, we just had this situation pop with an individual who tested positive. What's it look like here, here, here, here," boom, done. I mean, it was just that simple of a implementation strategy to whereby it allowed us to continue to manage all the other headaches. I'll be honest, the headaches come with the testing. I mean, that was implemented. And that was a very hands-on needy situation, Dev, to where we could not, by any means, let that one sit on its own. We had to put a lot of more attention into that space. We had a couple of our own staff, have a couple of false positives, which put us a couple of men down on our arguably our biggest day in Florida. That too was a situation where it hampered our efforts. Had we had to put people on contact tracing, we couldn't have gotten the event done. I mean, Loop just took that off of our to do list, managed it, it was efficient, effective, and 100% just absolutely crushed. 

Devon: We're excited to be working with you on future events too. One of our next or one of the big ones coming up is the Big West Conference. This is a total of 19 men's and women's NCAA basketball teams. They're competing in this Big West Conference finals for a chance to actually enter the NCAA 2021 March Madness tournament. How will an event of this size kind of differ from the past ones that you've hosted and now looking at this added layer of COVID, do you see it as seamless moving forward or are there a little bit more pieces or balls in the air with an event like this?

Brooks: Well, let me start by saying this. Had we not had the success we did back in November with Loop and our events and being able to execute all of our events, we would not have an opportunity to do what we're doing today with the Big West Conference. And let me put this in context for you as well. There's no other third party running a post-season college basketball tournament. And in all my years I have been in the business, which is 30, 31 now. Wow. I don't know of a third party that's ever run a league tournament, a postseason conference tournament as part of that NCAA flow, as you mentioned. Again, the women's champion, the men's champ of the Big West Conference go to March Madness. They play in the NCAA tournament for a potential opportunity to win the national championship. The part of that field of 68 that'll go to Indianapolis on the men, and I think it's San Antonio on the women.

It's that big of a deal for us to get a call to say, "Hey, we're scheduled to play in Los Angeles. We want to move it to Las Vegas. You just put on a successful event. We want your same formula. We want your same playbook for what you did in November. That's why we're calling you." That's why we got the business. And I think that's very important to note because without Loop being part of that team and given us the success we had in November, we wouldn't have the opportunity to not only, again, plug the gap from a business standpoint from bdG. This is a new opportunity that helps us get through this pandemic that otherwise would have forced the lay offs of our staff, almost a complete shutdown for six or eight months just to get to next season.

We're alive because of these opportunities and what might happen, who knows if this goes right, we might keep the Big West Conference tournament for future years. So now we're growing our business in the process. So it's an incredible opportunity and it's all based on our success that we had in November and December. With that said, the challenge here is, the beauty of it is it's all onely. It's all men's and women's teams, 19 teams all coming to Las Vegas, all staying, being housed at Mandalay Bay. We'll be able to contact trace. As tight as we want to keep it for a bubble, we can do that. We're going to put the women in one tower, the men in a separate tower. They'll have similar entrances that'd be going through them at different times.

Excuse me, we'll have practice courts set up in the ballroom, right near their team meeting space. You remember the team meeting spaces we had for instance in Florida? We're going to have that, But we're also got a big ballroom, we're setting up two practice courts. They never have to leave the property. We'll be able to keep that very simplified from the floor that they're on, the tower that they're in, or team meeting space, the practice court and the game facility there at Mandalay Bay Events Center, where the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA play. With all that together, that's great that it's all self-contained. There will be an ease of execution element for us. But it's a lot of games over a short amount of time. While we've got practices going on all day, let's say for the men and in the ballroom or in the events center, we've got the first round of games going all day for the women. And then they'll alternate the next day. And of course, it's when an advance. You've got some components, but we're excited about the opportunity and looking forward to delivering a first-class experience and more importantly, completing the Big West Conference tournament so that when it's over on Sunday, the plane picks up the winning team, flies in Indianapolis and on into Madness they go.

Devon: From hearing you say that there's just so much more planning that goes into events of this scale now, before more than ever, just because you have to have those practice rooms planned out, you have to now look at which entrances athletes are entering through. Kind of, what do you foresee for the future of live events and sports going into 2021, but even past? I mean, once we have a vaccine, do you see this whole live sporting event adjusting or switching, or do you foresee it falling back kind of to what it was pre-pandemic?

Brooks: My hope is it comes back to what it was pre-pandemic. I think there's going to be a little bit of a curve. When do we get there? Does it happen next season? Is it a couple of years away? That's what's going to be kind of the unknown right now. It makes the other piece of what Loop brings, I'm most excited about is not having to worry about the contact tracing going forward, being more concerned about implementing the marketing element of the Loop software for how we can engage the fan base, whether they're in facility or watching at home on their stream or on the network, being able to do that direct one-to-one marketing is going to be critical for us, regardless of how it returns in arena. But hopefully, the arena comes back. I mean, like we said, what we've got in the pipeline for next season, can equate to full houses, sold out arenas in Las Vegas and elsewhere. But if that's not the case, if the culture's not there, the attitude is one of caution that's coming from the consumer, then we still want to be able to be in position to engage that consumer, because we know we're going to have a high interest entertainment platform that will engage consumers, whether they're there in the building or home watching on television. Here's hoping that it all comes back. Can't happen quick enough for guys like us.

Devon: That piece too, is so important that you touched on is maybe what comes out of this pandemic for live sports, is that new level of engagement and being that, like you said, in stadium or at home, having that same experience in being able to interact with the games and interact with that one-to-one connection with the fan is super important. And who we're seeing it really important for right now is sponsorship providers. Are you hearing anything from major brands and sponsors on what their plans are for upcoming events? What are they doing or what are they needing and wanting?

Brooks: Well, the good news is the events that have been televised, that have stayed on schedule. Like last summer we saw the NBA go into a bubble. It's ratings weren't as good as they had been in the past, because now they're out of their normal season, they're out of the normal flow. It's summertime, folks are out and about doing outdoor type things in North America. You don't see quite the same engagement numbers, but then in other things, you're seeing ratings that are going up. I think our brands that we deal with know that if you've got something attractive that's being televised in some form or fashion. They're very interested in that because they know that now their primary route of reaching their consumer, reaching that audience or demographic that they seek.

For us, I sit at home now when I'm not out at a site trying to plan one of these events and it's ESPN every night, it's CBS, or one of the networks on the weekends watching NFL or college basketball, whatever it may be. And yet I find myself with my phone scrolling through social media, doing other things. All right. I'm no different than most of the folks that I'm trying to get to watch my events. And if I'm going to have events like that in the future, and I know there's people at home sitting there doing the same thing that I'm doing, how am I on the other end of what's in their hand. How am I part of that social media platform to where they can engage with other fans like them, watching the game that they're invested in while also being able to implement those brands into a marketing campaign that reaches them through that very means. And I've not seen anything to date, until Loop came along, that has this software that gives me that opportunity. And that's what I'm most excited about going forward. 

Devon: And personalization is so key to that as well. And that's why we're super excited to be bringing it back to fans, not only fans, but the athletes for the Big West Conference as well.

Brooks: I mean, and you're going to see it, once we get that out, there's no doubt. Like I told you before, there's 700 teams in college basketball. We know there's 60 or 70 that are at the Power Five strong level. And as the word gets around about the opportunities that we're implementing in our events, I can't wait to see how many folks want to be a part of that. Want to be engaged in that to where, "Hey, where did she get that? I heard bd Global had it. I heard the University of Houston had it," and boom, boom. And next thing you know it's spreading like wildfire. I think we'll see that happen. 

Devon: Yeah. We're super excited for that. It's a big plan on our roadmap. It's something that I think it's not just a product that our team is working on and putting out, it's really a passion project for a lot of people on our team. There is a lot of excitement behind it. It's a new way of engaging fans through this wallet past medium that has really hasn't been done before. Like we said, with COVID, there is no case study for that, with this fan engagement happening through the wallet pass and fans being in stadium, some being at home, there's no playbook for it. So we're really excited to develop the concepts around that. How do we efficiently market to somebody sitting at home, watching the game live? What's the kind of messaging we'll use. What's the kind of engagement and sponsorship we'll use there. I think it is a really cool piece that at Loop we're here and we're really excited to be doing it.

Brooks: Well. With our Big West Conference tournament here in March 9th through the 13th at Mandalay Bay, we've got three games and then semi-finals and championship games that will be televised by one of the linear networks on ESPN, nationwide, billions of households and we'll have everything else streamed on ESPN+. From the local fan bases to a national international audience, there's going to be that type of platform in place to plug Loops software in, to begin utilizing and understanding how we can best impact that personalization one-to-one direct marketing that it provides us. I'm really excited about getting it full on, plugged in. I know we've got calls starting this week on implementation with the league folks themselves, with their sales agents for their sponsors and others. Really excited to see where this takes us.

Devon: Well, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule today to kind of talk with us and our Loop followers about really what's happening between bd Global and Loop. One last question I have for you, we're kind of asking this to each person, what's one thing that you've learned recently, and it doesn't have to be something business-related, it could be a new hobby or something cooking, but just we've been in quarantine, we've been at home. What are kind of some new things you've picked up or new things that you've learned.

Brooks: Oh, wow. That's a really, really good question. I have expanded my cooking. I was always the grill master. The guy out, grill the T-bone and the Savin and everything else. I'm a Weber guy. I love my authentic charcoal. I won't cook on gas. I've expanded that. And what was interesting too, in the process is once the pandemic started in, let's say, March and April, my daughters moved home from college and everybody kind of got back in the house and we're there all the time. And it kind of ran through my short list of things that I do well on the grill. We had to like, all right, if we're going to keep this up, we've got to come up with some other things to eat. Otherwise, it's going to get pretty Monday and pretty quick. It used to be pretty special, our grilling out. Something steaks and sea food. Well, we got to do it vegetables. We got to do it other seafood, other types of stuff on the grill, on the stove. 

My wife loves it. She's an excellent cook and now we're tag teaming it. I think our menu of items just continues to grow. I would say, I learned a lot more about inside cooking versus what I knew on the grill. But I really enjoyed if there's a positive out of all this, it's been the family time that we've garnered. I've got twin daughters that are 20 years old, that are juniors at the University of Kentucky. They're starting to gain their independence and not around as much. And that really brought back those girls for several months, back under the roof for a longer period of time. It's like we're stealing them back for more family time than we would have been guaranteed under normal conditions.

If there's been a positive, that would be the ultimate positive out of the whole deal. But, hey, look, I mean, if it wasn't for Loop, I wouldn't have business. I'd have more time at home, but because of this relationship and where we're going, not only do we have the Big West to there, don't forget were going to do a new deal with a professional golf tournament. We secured for April out in Las Vegas. I'm so excited about where this relationship is going and looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship for both parties. 

Devon: Oh, thank you so much.

Click here for all episodes of the official podcast of Fobi: ‘Fobi Insider' (Previously Loop Experience).

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