NFL continues to assign ‘international home marketing zones’
There’s a strange dynamic going on right now, as professional football seems to be moving away from the “N” of the NFL.
Instead of letting different teams compete for fan affections where and how they can find them, the NFL assigns specific foreign markets to specific teams.
It started in December. That continued today, with the Rams adding New Zealand and the Eagles securing access to Australia, New Zealand and Ghana. The Eagles become the first team to have marketing rights in Africa.
“The international [Home Marketing Areas] launched in January this year, grants NFL clubs access to international territories for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization as part of a major long-term strategic effort to enable clubs to develop their global brands while driving the growth of NFL fans internationally,” the league’s press release explains.
Everything is strange. Why should it be limited or designed or strategic? Why not let teams market where they choose to market?
The league tries to simulate the natural influence of geography on fan building. In other countries, there is no geographical link, no authentic, organic connection. The league tries to direct the efforts of specific teams to specific locations.
It is the antithesis of the concept of commercial competition and free enterprise. Let them fight, wherever they want to fight, for the hearts and minds of foreign fans. Instead, people browsing the web in Ghana will be inundated with advertisements for the Eagles, in the hope that those fans will become Eagles fans – no matter how good or bad the Eagles may be over the course of the game. a given year.
It will be interesting to see if this works. To some extent, it will, because advertising actually works. (For example, last week someone dusted George Costanza McDLT’s old advertisementand I spent three days craving a burger that McDonald’s stopped making over 30 years ago.)
But there will always be fans who want to cheer on good teams or specific players. It will be very interesting to see if certain teams become more popular in certain areas than the teams that hold the marketing rights.
Either way, there should be no one-time marketing rights. They should let teams compete where and how they want. But it might get too expensive. By approaching it in an orderly fashion, everything is cheaper and more efficient.
It also feels fake and contrived. Still, the league will pick that up on a free-for-all that could spark Coke vs. Pepsi-style battles in major cities around the world.