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The NFL can help YOUR business

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This past weekend the NFL kicked off another season.  Despite labor unrest anticipated in 2011, the NFL is a very successful and profitable sport.  Today, I will begin a 2 part series on what we can learn from the NFL and apply to our businesses. 

The NFL has done several things over the years to grow their revenues.  Starting in the late 70’s they created more revenue from thin air – they added two games to the schedule from fourteen to sixteen.  They were correct when they thought they had enough demand to support the two extra games to fill stadiums and to sell advertising revenue.    There is serious talk that the season will be expanded again to 18 games.  Years ago they added a bye week to the schedule.  They did this not for the health of the players but it gave them an extra week to the season. 

Another thing they have done over the years has been to tweak the rules of the game to meet the demands of the football consuming public.  They made the games more exciting to sell more tickets and garner larger television contracts.  The rules were slanted towards the offense and scoring and ratings went up. 

Throughout the years they have played games in Mexico City, London and in Japan.  The games in London were regular season games while the others were preseason.  They also added a new product – NFL Europe which began in 1991 and ended in 2007. 

There was a time that football was played on Sundays.  That ended long ago when Monday Night Football began in 1970.  Now, there is Sunday night football, Thursday night football and Saturday night football.  They have recently added a third game on Thanksgiving.  I suppose if they could do it, every game would be a nationally televised special event.  Why have a full slate of regional games with smaller audiences and lower advertising revenues if you can have a national showcase game.  They have also gotten creative with the opening of the season by having a marquee match-up on Thursday night to kickoff the season.   The first Monday night of the season has had a double-header with a Seven PM and Ten PM game to maximize prime time coverage across the nation.

As I mentioned above the NFL added a third game on Thanksgiving.  This third game is now televised on the NFL network.   The NFL has discovered vertical integration for a part of their business.   How long before they televise most or perhaps all their product through their own distribution network?  They already televise late season Thursday night games on their network.  Of course they can cherry pick any match up they want for those games.

In its quest to maximize total customer revenue they began to actively market to women some years ago.  It was a good step but somewhat rudimentary.  Their concept was called “pink it and shrink it” by some since they used pink color schemes and simply took the existing templates for apparel and reduced the size.  They are now becoming more sophisticated in their approach to marketing to the female fan.  The clothing is now more form-fitting and designed for the female figure.  They are also rolling out products designed specifically for women such as purses, intimate apparel, maternity clothes and jewelry.  I suppose if you offer intimate apparel it makes sense you would have to offer maternity clothes – very sneaky indeed!

As you can see, the NFL has been very active in their business responding to customer needs as well as looking for ways to increase sales.   Next week we will see how we can apply some of these concepts to our businesses.

Have a great week.

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Written by pacelinebiz

September 13, 2010 at 8:39 pm

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