With the second week of The National Football League (NFL) season this coming weekend, here is a good look at how the NFL has ruled the sports marketing industry for the last decade. Here are the five reasons why the NFL dominates in marketing:

Commercials and Advertising

To start of this list, I first had to mention the ridiculous amount of money the NFL makes by simply selling a thirty-second time slot during the Super Bowl. For Super Bowl 50, last February, the NFL and NBC set 30-second ad rates at $4.5 million for the game, a $400,000 spike from the previous year, generating roughly $350 million from ads according to Forbes. Fun fact, the top advertiser over the past 10 years is Anheuser-Busch, which spent $287.3 million on ads, according to Kantar Media. Also, throughout the year, companies are still spending money for ad slots every week, including the playoffs. Professor Chris Mahar, a member of the Department of Marketing faculty here at the University of Akron. Sports marketing is an area of research for him and he provided some additional insight on the power the NFL has as it pertains to marketing. Dr. Mahar said, “The NFL doesn’t need to spend money on marketing or advertising because companies come to them with their own money.” He also says, “The NFL gladly welcomes companies such as Castrol Motor Oil or Quaker Oats despite their small size. It’s all about brand awareness, and the NFL logo can be seen everywhere, including these brands.” These companies are spending millions of dollars for 30 seconds of airtime, all in hopes of us purchasing their products, yet generating a wealth of cash for TV companies and the NFL.

Passionate Football Fans

It has become a household tradition for many families, friends, and co-workers to sit around a TV all day, whether it’s the bar, a house, or at the stadium, and watch football. In fact, if you google “Sunday” you will find pictures from around the league and nothing else. Whether it’s your favorite team or just an overall great game, Sundays are for watching football. The NFL made football a daily thing through fantasy football, special game nights (Thursday and Monday games) and NFL Network, promoting the league every single day. In particular, fantasy football continues to lure passionate fans into watching the big game just so they can see how their players are doing for their fantasy teams. It is estimated that nearly 75 million people play fantasy football. Here is an article that further describes the influence fantasy football has on fans. I was absolutely shocked when I saw these numbers and realized just how big the NFL really is. For fans, football isn’t just a game; it’s a passion, a lifestyle.

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The NFL Community Promotes the Game

Every former player, coach, assistant, etc. loves to talk about the league, easily creating a large word of mouth source. People love to talk about themselves, and the NFL takes advantage of this without even moving a finger. Former players and coaches travel back home creating camps to give back to the community they grew up in and to assist the next generation of football stars. Also, they travel around the country helping colleges and high schools develop their players. This is all free for the NFL and essentially pushes football into people’s minds.

Team Apparel

If you’re going to a football game, don’t you want to wear your team’s colors and gear? The NFL has its own exclusive shop and sells their items through local sporting goods store and online stores. Jersey sales are always booming due to the constant flow of star rookies, solid veterans, and break out players. Combine that with the sales of novelty items, other clothing, household items and you’re looking and some more millions of dollars the NFL makes. This also promotes the NFL and their respective teams, something many people don’t look at. If you haven’t picked this up yet, the NFL is a money making machine, yet markets itself for nearly no cost, just profit!

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Women watch football? International Efforts

Breaking news! Women actually watch football! Back in the day it might have been the ideal sport for men to watch while kicking back a couple beers, but now more and more women are watching football. In recent years, the NFL has pushed its marketing efforts to try to appeal to woman, especially with its jerseys. It started on TV through ads from the NFL, marketing their woman’s jerseys in an attempt to target females. The NFL has also been trying to target the Hispanic audience by launching NFL-Latino.com and having special content in Spanish through that website. One of the highly controversial topics in the league revolves around going international. American Football is dominant in America, but across the globe it is very lackluster. The league has been holding games in London twice a year, for the past several years as well as occasionally in Mexico. Much of the NFL’s recent efforts have been to make the game more internationally well known and promote their brand across seas.

By: Alex Siminoff