Master of Science in Sport Management Online

How Brands Are Preparing for Football Season

The NFL is a major force in the U.S. economy. According to USA Today, “The league supports about 110,000 jobs in NFL cities,” and “together, the games add about $5 billion to the economies in NFL cities.”

Football’s economic reach goes further, however. Marketers from every industry use the public’s obsession with the sport to their advantage. With football season approaching, find out how brands have prepared to make the most of the season.

Analyzing the Demographics

Image via Flickr by PhilipRobertson

To prepare for the football season, brands have to know who cares about football. As the most popular sport in the U.S., many people assume that most of its major fans are men. However, in 2014, The Washington Post reported, “Women make up an estimated 45 percent of the NFL’s more than 150 million American fans …. Female fans, a group beloved by advertisers, represent the league’s biggest opportunity for growth. Keeping these women spending has become a chief goal of the NFL.”

Advertisers also have to pay attention to age groups. The league’s young group of fans, those between 18 and 49, has declined in numbers in recent years. Of course, millions of people in this age group still pay attention to football, but the downward trend could affect how advertisers prepare for future seasons.

Sport managers and marketers who work for NFL teams have to analyze how they can evolve the teams’ brands to appeal to a generation that seems to lack the passion possessed by older viewers.

Using Hot NFL Topics

Brands need to pay attention not only to who watches football, but also to what is happening in football. For example, Marshawn Lynch, beloved running back for the Seattle Seahawks, is notorious for refusing to talk to journalists. At one press conference in early 2015, he said, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” Progressive and Skittles both took advantage of Lynch’s famed reticence by putting together funny ads that feature the player.

The Event Television Advantage

As brands prepare for this upcoming football season, marketers pay particular attention to designing effective television ads. Thanks to event television, no one wants to watch a game hours or days after it airs. Since fans are more likely to watch football live, they are more likely to watch commercials.

In 2014, several major brands, including McDonald’s, Verizon, Visa, Levi’s, and GMC used football season to launch new ad campaigns.

Many brands tie football themes and football players into their ads for greater impact. In the past, State Farm ads have featured Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Peyton and Eli Manning have both participated in ad campaigns for major companies, including DirecTV.

The 2015-2016 football season is approaching quickly. Fans count the seconds until kickoff, and brands count the days before they launch new ad campaigns. Companies that want to get the most out of the season should prepare by analyzing football’s audience, taking advantage of hot topics in the sport, and designing attention-grabbing television ads.