The NFL has successfully extended its popular brand into a way of life with TV, sports radio and satellite radio coverage, a super-interactive Web site, its own cable network and plenty of licensed merchandising....
In the 1970s, fans could watch Sunday afternoon pro football games on the CBS and NBC networks, and Monday night football debuted on ABC in 1970.
With the push of far-sighted past commissioners Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue, the NFL's broadcasting agreements with ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC–as well as its own cable network--offer fans dozens of games every weekend afternoon, and Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights during the regular season. Now, the NFL is everywhere. Newly installed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will no doubt, carry on the legacy of his predecessors and continue to expand the reach of the NFL around the globe.
The league's well-designed Web site is packed with information, game schedules and player/team information for fans, a newsletter and extensive merchandising of sports apparel, equipment and video games. The NFL site also wisely offers an NFLatino link with much the same information as the main site for Spanish-speaking fans.
Sports talk radio stations around the country, and especially in major sports markets, are already discussing their 2007 Super Bowl picks and predicting the winners. Even while preparing for baseball's playoffs, pennant races and the World Series, there's still plenty of air time dedicated to football. After all, the preseason games get TV coverage and create lots of hype.
Let's face it: pro sports rule and their power have translated into lifestyle brands in the United States. The NFL has arguably branded itself the most effectively since it is the #1 pro sports choice in the country and generating the most TV revenue dollars and the largest audiences of any team sport.
One of the most successful licensing partnerships -- the NFL, EA Sports and John Madden -- has borne fruit for years. The Madden NFL 07 game–featuring some of the most realistic graphics and action ever–is a hot item. EA Sports' Madden NFL '07 game turned in its best performance ever, with over 2 million units sold in its first week–a record for the 17-year history of this popular video game. Gross sales hit the $100 million dollar mark in its first week of sales, as well. "Madden" is the largest U.S. sports video game franchise in North America.
An ever-more realistic football experience is something fans can never get enough of. The product branding and packaging leverages the core assets of the NFL and gives fans what they have come to expect from pro football: plenty of excitement, action and the representation of their favorite teams and players.
NFL videos become cherished mementos for fans. Especially Super Bowl videos. And fans can't seem to get enough of team t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps and jackets depicting their favorite teams' logos or jerseys with the names and numbers of their favorite players.
As we kick off of the regular 2006-2007 season, with its unpredictable highs and lows, has the NFL turned into a "lifestyle brand" for many of us? Can there be such a thing as too much of a good thing? Are you ready for some football?
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