NFL is the most popular sport in North America, drawing in hundreds of millions of fans each year. With the sport being so popular, its athletes, and retired NFL Alumni, are amongst some of the most recognizable names in sports. In fact, a lot of players gain even greater popularity after their playing days are over. What does this mean for consumer brands? It means the playbook is simple: get a former NFL player on your team!
In this article, you will learn how to pair your brand with a NFL player, the benefits of doing so, and how MILLIONS.co can make it happen for you seamlessly.
The NFL audience is massive and growing
The NFL is constantly pushing the envelope for growth. According to Forbes, the league had one of its best seasons in terms of viewership in 2021. Of the 100 most watched programs, NFL games accounted for 75 of them.
If you look at Nielsen’s list of the most watched television programs, the top four were all NFL shows. This included a pregame and postgame show which simply show the highlights of the day and provide analysis.
The league averaged more than 17 million viewers per game across 272 regular season games in 2021. This represented a 10-percent increase in viewership over the prior year. Many consumers base their television and streaming choices on the inclusion of NFL programming.
The NFL’s dominance in viewership and sheer visibility means there are a lot of eyes on the product and the people involved.
Annual revenue continues to grow for the league as its aggressive marketing and growth strategies increase its reach. The annual revenue for the NFL reached $11.1 billion in the last calendar year. This means each of the 32 franchises earned an estimated $345 million share. All while still grappling with the COVID pandemic. Revenue is drawn from local and national media rights and yes, sponsorships. Teams will reach a $400 million share when new TV deals begin in 2023.
Ex-NFL Players as brand partners
You do not have to look hard to find a former NFL player who is partnered with a consumer brand. You likely saw one in an ad on your laptop today or this morning while you watched the news. Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Dan Marino are just a few who have helped build brand awareness with their name and likeness. NFL players have turned to successful careers as spokespeople, business partners, influencers and brand ambassadors for decades. They are only becoming more prominent in the business world.
One example of a modern gridiron star becoming a trusted voice in consumer marketing is Super Bowl Champion Marshawn Lynch. The former Seattle Seahawks running back is the face of several brands both large and small. He turned his famous love for Skittles into a partnership with Mars Wrigley. His passion for gaming made him a perfect fit for video game developer Activision which featured him in advertising and even made him a character in a Call of Duty game. PepsiCo, Nike, Frito Lay and Subway have all benefited from Lynch’s persona, presence and unmatched likability.
With the eruption of the sports betting industry, ex-athletes of all types are easy candidates for sportsbooks to partner with. BetMGM selected Lynch as one of its prominent brand ambassadors. Along with appearing in TV ads and social media content, Lynch promotes BetMGM and more of his brands during talk show interviews and at promotional events.
Lynch is also a forward thinker. Like many of his NFL colleagues, he is motivated to do more than be a partner in name only. He, like the consumers who are drawn to the NFL, has many interests outside of the game. One of them being BMX biking. He turned this interest into a Beast Mode Ripper bike from BMX.
Lynch makes an effective brand partner, in part, because he established a following in his playing days and even increased it in his ventures outside of the NFL. His nickname “Beast Mode” has become a brand in itself, with a line of merchandise and apparel to go with it. The official BeastMode Instagram account is followed by more than 1.9 million users. Its posts result in more than 100,000 engagements each.
Lynch’s success as a brand partner speaks to the visibility of former NFL players. He played 12 seasons in the NFL, which is a long career by football standards. Yet he remains in the public consciousness more than six years after his first retirement. Players like himself, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning will one day be as popular to new audiences for what they did after their playing days. They will continue to appear in the media, even becoming members of the media in the case of Romo and many others. They will branch out into new ventures in television, film and entrepreneurship. They are media savvy by the nature of their job alone. Along the way, they will provide an opportunity for a brand to become synonymous with their name.
Athletes build trust
While we talk about the visibility and fame of a former NFL player, who they are, and what their experience is off the field, can also be valuable to a brand.
Every professional athlete who made a name for themselves has a story to tell. Those stories can be impactful tools when trying to reach an audience. Oftentimes, those stories are more relatable to the average consumer than they could have imagined.
According to a Trust in Advertising Study conducted by Nielsen, brand sponsorships related to sporting events are one of the forms of advertising consumers trust the most. The only avenues people trust more are branded websites and people they actually know.
Nielsen also found marked increases in conversion rates and purchase intent among sports fans who were exposed to sponsorships through the sports industry. Conversion rates even increased at a greater rate than brand awareness itself.
The high level of visibility and brand awareness an ex-NFL player brings to the table, combined with the fact that consumers trust the athletes they are fans of results in high conversion rates.
Give MILLIONS.co the ball!
If you are ready to work with a former NFL player for your brand, you are in the right place. MILLIONS.co is taking athlete-centric sports fan engagement to a whole new field of play.
You will not find another platform that can help your brand build a turn-key campaign with a professional athlete that is managed, comes with guaranteed impressions, offers deep levels of measurement, includes more derivative media than any other product, and does it all at a fraction of the cost of working with anyone else. Why? Because MILLIONS.co is an exclusive partner with the NFL Alumni Association and PFRPA, and manages all the independent brands for the athletes.
With a vast roster of currently active and former NFL players, the possibilities are endless.
The NFL season is here and there is no better time to put a NFL player front and centre with your brand. NFL games are a communal event, best enjoyed with a full party. Partner with a player today to host a sponsored WatchParty with MILLIONS.
What superfan would not want to enjoy game-day with their favourite athlete? These players have been on that field and know more about the game than anyone. During the WatchParty, they will share that knowledge and more with the fans. An experience unlike any other, where your brand is the focal point and integrated throughout the entire experience. In turn, the awareness of your brand will reach an all-time high.
Taking advantage of this opportunity is simple. Just follow the link to MILLIONS.co and get started today!