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11 September

It’s kickoff time for the long-awaited football season, and the brand marketers are gearing up their strategies to reach out to the fans that are eagerly anticipating watching the games and creating the buzz. This is the “salmon run” of advertising, when the audiences’ attention is there for the taking.

It seems that the popularity of the National Football League has grown in leaps and bounds and is at an all-time high. The demographics that are tuning in are expanding. Some of the fastest growing of these are women and Hispanics who, like the rest of the world, enjoy their sports across different screens and platforms. This blog will explain the most effective trends that will put your business in the ballpark, tackling the competition throughout the entire year.

This is the time of the year that people start searching the keywords Flat Screen TVs, Hot Wings Delivery. This is a sure sign that football season is upon us, and most Americans are ready to cheer. This year the NFL is more popular than ever; so popular, in fact, that it’s the most watched sporting league in the world. It trumps the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, as well as all the other sports leagues. Here are a few facts that are evidence of the current popularity of football:

  • The nation’s interest in the NFL is higher than the interest in the NBA by 65%, higher than the MLB by 152% and it continues to rise.
  • This year the pre-season games drew massive viewers. As a matter of fact, the NFL Draft drew three times the number of searches as the Emmy Awards in its peak season.
  • In 2012 the NFL surpassed the NBA in popularity, making it the top sports league in the nation.
  • More Google searches were conducted for the NFL than F1, Premier League and the India Premier League, making it the top sports organization in the world.

According to AdWeek.com, the television event that was watched the most by women this year was the Super Bowl, which is a sure sign that the NFL’s fan base is becoming even more diverse. In 2013, the search for women’s football apparel increased by 35% over the previous year. Statistics indicate that 65% of women (12 and older) are football fans.

In August of 2014 the keyword phrase “Futbol Americano” was searched over the previous year by the Hispanic fans, increasing over the previous year by 32%. This was the fastest growing faction of the NFL fans, outpacing every other group by 3.6 times. According to a Google survey conducted in August of 2014, over half of Hispanics said that they were fans of the NFL. This is a remarkable increase, as the NFL’s Hispanic Heritage campaign celebrates the league’s Hispanic players.

Most Americans know that each Sunday, fans around the nation nestle in as their favorite teams battle it out for the ultimate goal of reaching, and winning, the Super Bowl. But it’s not just the television screen that is being watched. All throughout the season, people are using their smartphones to communicate with friends about the game results, look up facts and statistics and locate scores and game schedules.

Mobile Facts:

  • Last year, mobile queries regarding football escalated 33% over the year before
  • The top mobile searches are continuing to grow, and include players, schedules, scores and teams
  • There is a substantial surge in mobile searches during games. Last year’s Seahawks vs. Packers game drew a huge number of searches; 70% of them being from smartphones
  • Searches for the “NFL Now” mobile app are increasing exponentially. This app features clips, highlights and original programming
  • 33% of the searches regarding NFL games are from mobile devices

Other huge surges in NFL interests include YouTube highlights and sports video games. The official ad for Madden NFL 15 had over 10 million views last year, winning over the new spot for FIFA 15.

Heads up marketers, as the football season has increased in length, and is now longer than ever. Interest doesn’t stop once the Super Bowl is over, either. There are marketing opportunities (with heavy fan engagement) post-season and throughout the year. Now there’s even activities to spark add interest in the off-season with “tentpole” events, which certainly boost marketing opportunities throughout the year. The NFL Draft, Pro Bowl, NFL Preseason and NFL Combine each experienced their biggest year in Google searches. This rising tide of interest provides marketers year-round campaigns that are specifically aimed at the football fans.

A perfect example is this not so typical advertisement DirecTV and the Manning brothers filmed an entertaining music video. “Your phone ain’t for callin’, your phone’s for footballin’” is just one of the memorable one-liners in the rap based on DirecTV’s Football On Your Phone (F.O.Y.P) campaign. An alternate approach to the typical TV ads, this YouTube has had more than seven million views in just over a month.

In addition to the regular football agenda, CBS is mounting a big push promoting Thursday Night Football, striving to make it a primetime event. It is definitely driving up interest online, as Google searches for “Thursday Night Football” were up 50% last year, and continues to flourish in 2015.

Fantasy Football is responsible for a whole new field of engagement for marketers during the regular football season. It has become mainstream now, and searches for “Fantasy Football” have increased stupendously to the point that one in three people say that they participate. According to Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the typical fantasy player is a middle-aged college-educated professional with a household income that averages $90,000. This demographic is just what the marketers want to cater to.

Speaking businesswise, the NFL (and the sport that it represents) provides a plethora of opportunity for brand marketing across several platforms and screens. The timing of the season, combined with the programmatic advertising expertise of Genius Monkey, creates endless opportunities to reach the fans that are ready to take heed to what you have to say.

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