Leisure marketing: What the NFL can teach you about leisure marketing.

With $7.8 billion in revenues, the NFL is the ultimate leisure marketer.

The NFL understands the power of expanding your fan base, leveling your playing field, and limiting the exposure of your brand.

As we approach another Super Bowl that promises to set new records for TV viewership and ad revenues, it’s a good time to ask ourselves what the NFL has done right to put themselves in such a powerful position.

5 reasons the NFL puts out the best sports product in America:

1. They give every fan a chance to win.

The NFL is the only major pro sports league that shares TV and clothing revenues equally among all teams, and has a salary cap that really works.

The net effect is that there is parity among teams, so fans from markets large and small have an equal chance of seeing their clubs become a winner, which keeps fans interested.

2. They don’t require fans to make as big a commitment as baseball or basketball.

You only have to watch your team one day a week versus the three or four games a week a die-hard basketball or baseball fan has to endure.

3. They play on the quietest day of the week.

People have time to watch football because the games are played on Sundays, when families have fewer unscheduled activities.

4. They always leave you wanting more.

There are only 16 regular season games a year, compared to 162 for pro baseball and 82 for pro basketball. So fans feel like every game is more valuable.

5. They give fans at home a great view of the game.

The average game uses 10 cameras, a Monday night game uses 20, and at the Super Bowl there are 30 cameras. When a great play happens, people watching at home can enjoy it from 3 or 4 angles.

5 lessons leisure marketing specialists can learn from the NFL:

  1. Expand your fan base by making the leisure activity associated with your brand more accessible to users in big and small markets.
  2. Reduce the time commitment required to enjoy your leisure brand/activity.
  3. Recommend that users participate in your leisure activity at the same time every day or week, and encourage use during days of the week when they  have more free time.
  4. Make it easy and inexpensive to be a fan of your brand, and to watch expert users engage with your brand.
  5. Demonstrate how your leisure brand can bring like-minded users together to share their passions.

After 91 years, the NFL brand just keeps growing stronger.

  • In the latest Harris Poll, Americans picked the NFL as their #1 spectator sport, for the 43rd straight year.
  • This year the league will take in a record-breaking $7.8 billion in revenues from television, sponsorships, licensed apparel and ticket sales.
  • Forbes recently reported that the average value of an NFL team was $1.02 billion, down 3% from last year.
  • The average Super Bowl spot will cost $3 million in 2011, up from $2.7 million in 2010.

Don’t kid yourself by thinking the NFL just got lucky.

  • I’ve heard people say that the only reason the NFL is so popular is because it’s a gladiator sport and Americans like violence.
  • But if that were the case, why don’t more Americans rank pro hockey (5%) or boxing (1%) as their favorite sport?

That’s one leisure marketer’s view of NFL marketing. What lessons have you learned from the NFL to create more loyal fans of your leisure brand?

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