Discuss the NFL's current strategy for global market entry. How has this strategy changed and why did the NFL make these changes?
The National Football League (NFL) is the highest level of professional American football. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing its name to the National Football League in 1922. The league currently consists of thirty-two teams from the United States. The league is divided evenly into two conferences — the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC), and each conference has four divisions that have four teams each. The NFL is organized as an unincorporated association of its 32 teams. The NFL is by far the most attended domestic sports league in the world by average attendance per game, with 67,509 fans per game in the latest regular season (2009). The aim of the re-org is consolidating league marketing functions. Accordingly, the new structure sees NFL consumer products marketing and league marketing functions amalgamated for the first time. The new NFL marketing department will be responsible for market research, product development, creative services, marketing programs and channel development. While it is not unusual for sports properties' licensing and marketing departments to report to the same executive — normally a properties president — combining marketing and licensing is a novel approach(Collins 2006).
Aside from all the benefits above, the most impressive brand positioning victory for the NFL is that the sport has come to represent the entire country of the United States (displacing baseball as America's real love). When troops are sent to "war" - the NFL does the over the top tributes to the troops with incessant flag waving and patriotic commentary. The NFL owns Thanksgiving day (arguably the most American of holidays) with their two game "doubleheader" tradition. The ideals of the sport mirror most American's ideals they wish to see in themselves: patriotic, tough, perseverance, etc. In short, the sport represents everything American, therefore the brand represents more than just a sport. The NFL has a brand that means something deep to many football fans, whether they realize it or not. And this is the most powerful statement one can make about a sports brand.
While may have started as the perfect sport for guys drinking in bars on Sunday afternoon, the sport has steadily focused on improving it's appeal with new demographics, and new geographies. The Super Bowl may help, with it's advertising bonanza sure to draw equal crowds of women and men, but more and more women are watching football. The NFL has also launched NFLLatino.com featuring hispanic players like Tony Gonzalez and spanish language content (via Hispanic Trending). The league has been doing preview exhibition games in international markets and has a dedicated area of their website to promoting the game internationally. When I lived in Australia, games were abbreviated to 2 hours and commercial breaks also featured football education on the nuances of the game such ...