NFL around the world: what would you do?

Posted by on Oct 9, 2008 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


Interesting piece here about how the NFL is trying to spread their sport around the world

Nice little creative campaign but not sure they've got it right.

They see the problem in terms of "getting" the game


"We've got to get people to a level of understanding so that when we
play games abroad or
    broadcast them, people will actually pay

Not sure this is the problem, really. Is it?

Also, I tend to think they're trying to force their sport down the world's throats, rather than working out how to make it useful or interesting according to our agenda – say, how the product might make our social interactions more valuable or even how the marketing itself might be useful to us in some way

Have to say, I think the ECB/ICC are way ahead in their attempts to bring cricket (for my money a far more difficult and arcane rule-bound sport) to new audiences. Never thought I'd say this bunch of old duffers had the edge on anyone but there you go…

So the question is, my fellow Herdies, what would you tell the NFL?


  1. Marty
    October 9, 2008

    I do agree to an extent with their program. Part of what keeps American Football out of the hands of the international audience is that the game is slow and dense if you don’t understand the rules and what is going on. In the States, they’ve turned it into a 12 month sport with a full television channel and constant hum to generate interest.
    I do think it interesting though that their NFL Europe league (now folded) did best in Germany. Obviously something they did there worked. The fans seemed to show up and treat it like a communal experience and the stands looked and felt somewhat like a soccer match.
    To be honest, the best way to market the NFL might be in a bar campaign. Get people together drinking, eating, and watching several games at once together (as they do in the states). I’ve been to these environments in Canada and even though they don’t understand the nuances of the game, they sure get into it.
    Another strength is find a way to make the “tribes” viable and relevant to the European audiences. Even a handful of fans who are strangers can band together over their love for a team.

  2. Mark
    October 10, 2008

    Niko tried to post the following suggestion:
    Make it about national teams (us feeling created at once by a rivalry) to create interest and participation.
    Then start the search for the players that will make up the national teams (having to pick 30 out of an entire nation is easier than having teams in alot of cities)
    Even better junior teams; NFL junior. that way kids who love it will pass that love to others (peer pressure) + get the kids u get the parents (build audience).
    Yes it’s long term, but bottom up is where it’s at. plus it makes it easier to cut costs as the kids are 2.0 savvy. no great need for major old school ad campaign.
    Make a show out of it, that follows the progress and selections, perhaps a bit easy, but throw in a crowd vote for the last 5 spots.
    The reason it picked up speed in Germany is the fact that there is a long history of german US love (since ’45 the Us has guarded west germany from communisme)
    So..Start in Central/Eastern Europe. There you have nations who view the US as great (poland) and Bad (Russia).
    Build on existing sentiment (pro or contra). Nationalisme is back in vogue.
    If succesfull you could build on that and grow wider. but it takes time.
    Footballs are meant to be kicked not carried 😉

  3. Mike Tyldesley
    October 11, 2008

    What would I tell the NFL to do? Improve their sport by buying a copy of the rules of Rugby League and some videos of some good recent games. Interestingly, although the above is tongue in cheek, it is worth noting that the Australian surge away from Britain at the end of the 70s start of the 80s in RL came in part from a programme of sending coaches to look at practice in the NFL.