NFL Brand Assessment

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NFL Brand Assessment

  1. 1. Brand Playbook
  2. 2. Laura Buchholtz 10/29/2010 Welcome I am excited to welcome you to the NFL the #1 sport within the United States. I am confidentyou will be valuable asset to the NFL and will find the work challenging as well as fulfilling. Yourposition will be in the Brand Management department as the AFC’s Brand Representative. Your startdate will be on May 20th 2010 which will start with a two week orientation to get you better ac-quainted to the NFL brand as well as your role and our expectations. Until then I have included the NFL Brand Playbook to give you an overview of the NFL’sbranding strategy. Below you will gain knowledge on our brand history, current situation, futureroads, as well as some personal perspectives from myself to give you an overview of not only theposition but of the NFL as a whole. In the pages that follow is the playbook of the different brandingexperiences the NFL has had and why.NFL Branding History 1920 - Today The NFL, National Football League, was originally known as the American Professional Foot-ball Association which was established in 1920 and the name was change two years later. The NFL isthe top tier in football professional sports currently with 32 teams and two divisions: AFC (AmericanFootball Conference) and NFC (National Football Conference). However to better understand howwe got to the now, light needs to be shed what happened since 1920. From 1920 – 1933 no championship games were held during this time regular season gameswere only played between fluctuating 8-22 teams. In 1933 a championship game established as wellas having a set number of teams allowed to play within the league. During this time the perceptionof the NFL was associated with that of professional wrestling: bloodthirsty and brutal. This harmedtheir fan base because fans of college football did not transfer to professional football. The NFL did not try to alter fans perception till the 1950s when Bert Bell became commis-sioner. He did not apologize for the NFL’s past rather he started to focus on the idea that the gameis for everyone. The games allowed for fans to escape from boredom of reality and watch what somecall “sanctional savergy” The games during these times had no cheerleaders and had very lim- ited fan spirit. Very bland but very raw game. On 12/28/1958 when the Balitmore Colts and New York Giants championship game was televised and had over 30 million viewers, this became the catalyst for change. Pete Rozelle, NFL commissioner during this time period, started to grasp the power and transformation 1
  3. 3. abilities TV may have on the NFL. Over the next year the NFL created their own regional networksand signed contracts with these stations as well as entered into the memorabilia market through NFLEnterprises. Within a year NFL Enterprises had over 45 manufacturers making and selling 300+items. By monetizing their logo and copyrights NFL reined in the money. Pete Rozelle did not stop there. Prior to his time in the office the NFL did not have a publicrelationships department, his first acts as commissioner was to es-tablish the NFL’s PR department. From here additional moves wererolled out where Pete saw the opportunities to make fans not only fansof their teams but also of the game. Pete ended the separate TV dealsamongst teams and created a single TV deal for all of the NFL whichwas around $4.6 million however in the 1970s contract deal was wortharound ten times that at $46.25M. Pete marched on by controlling thebrand image by suspending players and sending a message to the fansthat he wants to safeguard the NFL’s integrity as well as the idea theNFL cares about the game. The theme of the NFL caring continued on with Paul Tagliabue as commissioner from 1989-2006. During this time salary caps and profit-sharing was inacted amongst teams and franchises tocreate equal opportunities amongst the large and small teams. Player payouts and cost of tickets roseduring this time and talks of team owners not making money brought up the idea of a strike left a badtaste in the mouths of customers because of the high ticket prices as well as not understanding thefinances due to the NFL being a private organization. The current commissioner is working diligently to ensure a player strike does not occur so theintegrity of the game is not injured. Roger Goodell took over in 2007 and has several potential issuesbefore him he is trying to divert and this is where you will be stepping in to help. Roger current issuesare: • Cable providers wanting to place NFL games in a special sports package, which customers have to purchase. While the NFL wants some games in the basic cabl package. • Steriod and player misconduct issues. Setting the proper tone to ensure fans as well as send a message to the players. • Player safety concerns regarding concussions and illegal hits. 2
  4. 4. Although Roger has come into office during some hard times he has also seen the wonders NFL has showcased to the fans as well as the impact it has on it’s communities: LT touchdown run, Romo coming forth and bring- ing Dallas back from the ashes, Manning finally getting a ring, and the Saints winning a superbowl that reguvenated a city. Sprouted by the NFL shows fans got a more in-depth and revealing look at the NFL and players during cham- pionship games. Alongside the players the NFL has taken their position and used that to iniate and help charities and organizations such as the United Way, American Cancer Society, and America Play for 60. As you can see the NFL brand has continued to morph and changewith three things in mind: players, fans, and their communities. However media struggles will consistbecause without the media the NFL will have a hard time surviving due to bringing entertainment tothe fans which establishes an emotional tie and a reason for people to congregate together to enjoy thepresence of one another as well as America’s number one sport: professional football. 3
  5. 5. An NFL Insider Exclusive Having the opportunity to run the offfensive spreads and plays in the brand department Ihave learned many more than I can put down on paper. But I will give you some exclusive tips onabout the NFL. They are caring and entertainment conscious. The current administration continuesto find ways to utilize their power to help charities out and highlight the good things the the playersand teams are doing around the nation. Of course this is also the department next door, PR, way ofoffsetting senseless and arrogant players who get in trouble for drugs, women, drinking, and evendog issues. They are people just like you and I but coming into the NFL makes them entertainmentfigures which are held at a higher standard than you and I are. What I mean by entertainment conscious is that they understand how it works. The NFL iscontinuous being proactive in finding innovative ways to engage the customers to create a relation-ship with them. They just updated the fantasy leagues where it involves videos instead of their cur-rent system. Before starting I was not involved in fantasy lagues but when I started I thought it wasrequired, although it is not. However I instantly became hooked. I go to the site at least once a dayand for any customer that is several impressions for NFL. Personally this has lead me to pay more at-tention and have more ties with other players that are not on my team, which ties into being a fan ofthe game and not just my team. If you are not currently in one I highly encourage it. The last thing I will pass along to you are some brand guiding principes that will help youbecome the MVP in the brand department as well as some common themes to keep in mind as youproceed in your position. Good luck in your position and if you need anything feel free to get aholdof me. My contact information is at the back of this pamphlet. Guiding Principles Common Themes Choreographed Safety Enduring Fun Engaging Family Innovative Caring Entertaining Ritual Philanthropy Year-Round 4
  6. 6. Play #1 Play #2 Supplier TelevisionDefense Defense Equipment and gear needed by teams, players, TV meidia outlets trying to control how andand fans when customers watch games via special or basic tv packagesOffense UnderArmor, Nike, Reebok, Adidas Offensive NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, MNF, and TNFOverview These offensive weapons endorse and sponsor Overviewplayers as well as teams. They compete against A changing NFL strategy to allow customers one another to grab the pass and score a viewing options. However having a mutual contract, ensuring that team only uses them respect because without an oponent their is for their equipment needs. no game. No TV is no NFL. 5
  7. 7. Play #3 Play #4 Sponsors EventsDefense Defense Plateaued customer views and conversions Customers pre-occupied or not engagedOffensive Offensive Endorse non-football related products to in- Draft Day, Fantasy Football, MNF, SNF, TNFcrease awareness and interaction OverviewOverview Finding holes in the defense to engage the Montetize league and player assests to customers to come back for another game. Inter-capitalize on profits. Searching for new oppor- acting by being a team manager or establishing a tunities and ways to get the fans on their feet to ritutal to congregate with friends to compete or cheer and show their NFL spirit. hear the NFL’s theme songs. 6
  8. 8. Play #5 Play #6 Charities ServicesDefense Defense Negative persecptions from the league and it’s Fans and spectators are not getting any enoughplayers NFLOffensive Offensive United Way, Boys/Girls Club, NFL Charities NFL Insider, NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL NetworkOverview Overview Need to show people the positive aspects the Creating the ability to make the teams moreNFL has done so they can pick up their fumbles transparent so fans can follow and cheer on theirand return it for a touchdown to win the hearts players. Establishing a way for fans to follow the back of their fans. game and players making them more knowledge and potentially passionate. 7
  9. 9. Adam BischoffNFL Branding CoordinatorAdam.Bischoff@NFL.com (260)-416-9125 ext. 007 8
  10. 10. Sourceshttp://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/142006http://www.seniormarketadvisor.com/News/2010/10/Pages/Sideline-strategy-Marketing-tips-from-the-NFL.aspxhttp://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/104293http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-reasons-the-nfl-is-dominating-the-sports-industry-rohit-bhargavahttp://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/branding-brand-development/4679817-1.htmlhttp://retailleverage.com/2010/04/21/private-brand-nfl/http://www.brandchannel.com/features_profile.asp?pr_id=316http://www.amazon.com/Brand-NFL-Selling-Americas-Favorite/dp/0807831425 9

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