Despite many controversies, from criminal offenses to ethical dilemmas, the NFL continues to have positive revenue growth. Just last year, the 32 NFL teams brought in 7.2 billion dollars. Consumers still continue to watch the NFL and even in the midst of all the intensive media attention, the NFL is one of the most watched programs on television in America. Furthermore, according to Forbes, women now make up nearly 45 percent of the American NFL fan base. Throughout the past few years, the NFL has been constantly trying to hedge against change as a result of the decline in both cable and satellite television viewership. In an effort to combat this issue, the NFL has continued to provide fans with digital and mobile options to keep up to date with NFL happenings.
Because football fans want more football content as quickly as possible, NFL Now was created last year in September before the start of the season. NFL Now delivers consumers a personalized video stream of their favorite NFL teams, players, and coaches. This platform was extremely successful and by the time of the AFC and NFC Championship games were aired, 22 million devices had connected to the product. NFL Now, because of its popularity, gained large brand advertisers such as Geico, KFC, Coors Light, and Lexus. Due to the success of NFL Now, the NFL has released NFL Game Pass this football season.
NFL Game Pass is a subscription service, part of a group of offerings by the NFL, designed to enhance the traditional way football is viewed on television. This subscription service is $99 a year and allows subscribers to watch regular season games on television as soon as they’re over. In addition to the NFL Game Pass, a pass app was launched which allows consumers to listen to regular season games live. The app also allows viewers to see games with different camera angles and other exclusive content not offered with traditional TV. The NFL Game Pass app is expected to become successful especially as Fantasy Football has gained popularity through the past several years. Fantasy players demand more video content, analytics, replays, and expert analysis, which the pass app provides to these consumers.
Another streaming option, announced by the NFL last week, will be through Verizon at no additional cost to current Verizon customers. NFL mobile is giving all Verizon phone customers the ability to watch games for free through their mobile device, no matter what plan they have. Furthermore, Google is seeking to help advertisers capture the attention of NFL sports fans. Google has a tool for its search product that places ads alongside football-related results. These ads will run before official NFL video clips. Besides Google, digital social media players, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat seek to capitalize on live events as people increasingly turn to social media to talk about them. These social media platforms allow advertisers to target football fans.
Roger Goodell, the current commissioner of the NFL, has a vision to increase revenue through global expansion and corporate sponsorships. As the options for fans to watch the NFL are increasingly more accessible, the NFL hopes to gain the interest of not only domestic consumers but also global consumers. With over 1.8 billion phones globally and other connected devices available to consumers, the NFL expects to continue its growth.
From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to consider:
- What steps do you think NFL should take to expand its international presence?
- Brainstorm other digital platforms the NFL should use to increase its viewership.
- What impact does the decline in cable and broadcast television have on the NFL?