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Archive for September, 2014

Protecting the Brand

Posted by prof e on September 21, 2014

NFLShieldThe Broncos and Seahawks gave us a great game this afternoon. Millions tuned in to see the rematch of last year’s Superbowl, and this time it was a much more interesting affair. But if you’ve been paying attention to the news the past few weeks you know that the NFL is in the spot light…but not for the right reasons.

The PR debacle that has the media in an uproar didn’t start with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, nor will it end there. But eventually the media attention focused on NFL players behaving badly will come to an end because the NFL is first and foremost about money…and these momentary distractions, if left unchecked, will get in the way of making money and that would be (according to owners and league officials) an even greater problem than this current mess.

Anheuser-Busch spends upwards of $200M a year advertising on NFL broadcasts and have publicly said that they are “disappointed” in the NFL. That kind of money talks, and Commissioner Goodell is listening. That’s why Goodell made a public apology…or at least I think that’s what the press conference a few days ago was supposed to be. The top three rated TV programs last week were…you guessed it…Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football. As long as American continue to watch NFL broadcasts, and as long as advertisers pay big bucks to reach those viewers, the NFL will continue. Sure they’ll make a few changes and get rid of a few bad actors. But when the average “career” of a pro player lasts only four years, losing a player or two over bad behavior off the field will not change the game or the bottom line.

I realize this perspective comes across as cynical and jaded. I wish it were different. I wish that the institutions surrounding professional sports, including the media empires that have learned to monetize and merchandize athletic achievement, were more sensitive to the long-term cultural implications of their choices. I wish the NFL brand stood for something more.

 

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Posted in advertising, media industry, PR, tv | Tagged: , | 16 Comments »