The NFL season starts this weekend and people can’t wait! I do believe that Major League Baseball is still the national pastime, but football is right there as a close second. Being a football fan in New England the past decade has been an easy task: Heck, the Patriotshave won 3 Super Bowls, our quarterback and coach are considered to be the best, and generally our team wins when they play! What’s not to like?
BUT the love affair with football is more than here in New England – stadiums are packed and people seem to “adopt” their team wherever they live. Go to any sports bar on a Sunday afternoon and you will see multiple team jerseys . . . following your team has become the Sunday religion for some folks.
Why the love affair with the NFL? One simple reason: Marketing! The NFL does it right – they schedule games in neat 3-hour packages so games start at 1:00, 4:15 and 8:00. This is not a coincidence that as the early game finishes, the 4:00 games starts; then they give you a break to have dinner before the 8:00 game. Of course, if you need some football in that “open slot” at 7:00, there are highlight shows to keep you going.
During the season, the stadiums are all set up for tailgating, a ritual to draw fans together before games. Then as playoffs approach, they move games to Saturday nights to capture prime time audiences. Playoffs end with the Super Bowl, which has basically become a national holiday.
Football has always been considered a “guys sport” but the NFL caters to the females and kids as well. Go to any sporting goods store and you will see apparel geared toward men, women and children. Plus, the NFL has clamped down on unruly fans, making a family day at an NFL game possible.
For us at The Allied Group, we can appreciate these moves by the NFL – game times, apparel, highlight shows, tailgating – all done in the name of marketing a brand. I know some people brush off football as a sport of “big guys hitting other big guys” but many businesses would do well to learn from the NFL and how they market. You can talk about creative design for team logos. You can talk about web design branding for the league. You can talk about mail order fulfillment services for their apparel. These are all parts of a marketing program and the NFL has found its way to “Marketing Paydirt.”
Good luck to your team this season!