As the industry leader in evaluating and measuring marketing investments, Navigate has a wealth of knowledge in the sponsorship and marketing space. This blog shares our knowledge and insights on current events in the sports business, marketing and sponsorship worlds.
The last month hasn't exactly been the greatest in terms of image for the NFL, and many in the sports business world wondered if (and when) sponsors might start to take notice. Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the league’s largest sponsors, made waves when it first declared that it was unhappy with the league’s handling of domestic violence in the wake of the Ray Rice scandal.
Considering that the league makes somewhere between $1-2 billion in sponsorships (representing approximately 11-22% of the league’s overall revenue), that kind of sentiment from sponsors is enough to make the league (and its clubs) a little nervous.
The NFL and its teams can seemingly breathe a collective sigh of relief today, as Mophie became the first company to sign up to be a Super Bowl advertiser since the league’s troubles surrounding domestic violence began.
With the average 30-second spot for this year’s Super Bowl XLIX on NBC going for around $4 million, getting a company to buy in will hopefully re-open the floodgates for advertisers and marketers alike.
In a solid proactive and public relations based move, the NFL is also going to have some of its players appear in Domestic Violence public service announcements. The PSAs will start on October 23 and will run during all NFL games. According to USA Today, three of the first men to film their spots were Eli Manning, Mark Herzlich, and NFL Exec. VP/Football Operations Troy Vincent.
The total air time for the ads during the week of Oct. 23 is expected to be around $8 million—money the NFL is more than willing to eat in favor of this cause. The spots will also be shown on Viacom billboards in Time Square and be available on YouTube.
The NFL’s recent domestic abuse issues have raised a lot of questions about the culture and direction of the league, especially from its female fan base. At a time when the league has become the most dominant in the US, the impact of these issues have been felt by a huge number of female NFL fans. However, are these issues jeopardizing the expansion of its female fan base, or has the NFL already saturated the female population?
According to Nielsen Scarborough, there are currently 49 million female NFL fans in the US, which is roughly 50% of the adult female population in this country. The NFL is easily the most popular of the Big Four sports leagues among females, as MLB is only followed by 39% of females, the NBA is followed by 28% and the NHL by 18%. This means that the NFL has over 10 million more female fans than any of the other leagues, which is a great advantage when it comes to driving up attendance, TV viewership and merchandise sales. But, as large as the female fan base is for the NFL, can it get even larger?
When looking at the female fan bases outside of the Big Four, the NFL is actually the second most popular sport, as the Olympics are followed by 56% of females, providing a fan base of 55 million people. So, to become the most popular sport among females, the NFL has room to increase its female following by 6 million people. If the NFL were able to become the most popular sport among females, that would be a huge achievement for the league, and would provide some incredible upside in terms of revenue growth. But, would there be even more room to grow the fan base beyond this point?
Among the male population in the US, an astonishing 72% are fans of the NFL, which equates to 67 million adult males. If 72% of females were fans of the NFL, that would mean over 71 million female NFL fans, or an incremental 22 million more than there are today.
While the female NFL following may never reach the male level of saturation, it’s safe to say that there is still some room to grow the female fan base for the NFL by several million people over the next few seasons.
At Navigate, we’re always looking for the newest and most innovative sponsorship activation tactics. In fact, we’ve cataloged over 400 of them on our Pinterest page (check it out here).
So, we took notice when Levi’s had a really unique activation tactic for patrons attending some of the first games at the new Levi’s Stadium. From the original AdAge article:
“During the games, fans seen wearing Levi's by stadium staff may periodically have their drink tabs picked up, or they may get invited into the 501 Club, a 23,000-square-foot space above the stadium's craft beer garden.
Also, at some point this season, Levi's reps will show up at Finnerty's, a well-known San Francisco-centric sports bar in New York City, and invite Levi's-wearing attendees to fly back to San Francisco to watch the following week's home game at the stadium.”
It’s truly a genius activation idea, and it will help position Levi’s as a brand where good things happen to you when you wear them, according to Levi’s President John Curleigh.