Thursday, September 16, 2010

NFL Marketing Genius?

As I was scanning Twitter the other night I happened upon a tweet by Darren Rovell of CNBC. He's the financial sports guru of the network and often has some very, very interesting sports business news posted upon his Twitter account. The news ranges from contract details, franchise values, and marketing ideas.

The particular Tweet listed above caught my eye based on it's wording:

A Brett Favre jersey you can hunt in. MUST SEE:

Well, you've got my attention Darren. Let's click this link.

When I did I saw something that I found fascinating in it's simplicity, how outrageous it was, and the humor in it all. For those that didn't click the link, it was none other than this:

Yes, a camouflage Brett Favre Minnesota Vikings jersey. Made with a collaboration between Reebok and the Realtree company who specialize in various types, colors, patterns of camouflage they decided to tap into a community which existed but had never been reached before: the NFL fan/hunting enthusiast.

I'm not a hunter but my Grandfather was. He was also a huge NFL fan. Truth be told, his passion for the NFL and the Steelers is what got me involved in following the Black and Gold, which then spread to (unfortunately) the Pirates and eventually the Penguins. All that being said, do I think for a second that he would wear one of these?

Not a chance. No way. However, aside from an old school Steelers knit beanie from the 70s, I don't really recall my grandfather wearing much, if any, sports related garb. That doesn't mean people won't buy these, though. Oh, they will. I can see many an Eagles fan hitting the Poconos with one of these bad boys on:

With the vast amounts of Dallas Cowboys fans scattered about throughout the country in places where hunting is very common and popular, it would hardly shock me to see anyone darting about in the woods sporting one of these:

Even the standard Carolina Panthers fan that wants to unleash their inner redneck in a subtle way while going about their business in their daily lives can do so on their smoke breaks:

Your favorite Packers fan can show a bit of their country side as they sit in the Lambeau Field parking lot, making up another round of brats and they await kick off of the Pack:

And the Bears fan in their life can show a splash of sexy outdoorsman while checking the time. If they can ever find the clock, that is:

All this, and so much more, was available just by searching "Realtree" in the NFL Shop. If you're morbidly curious, or genuinely interested, there are pieces of clothing and various wears available for all 32 NFL teams. By all means, take a peak. It's extremely interesting to see what they were able to come up with.

While browsing the Realtree website I noticed a pre-existing partnership with NASCAR, which is very appropriate given the standard stereotype of their fan base. When I went to the NASCAR Super Store website and searched Realtree I found a handful of results, but nothing to the extent or dedication with which they've approached the NFL.

The NFL realizes that of all the big five (let's say) pro sports out there, no other sport (other than NASCAR) has a "need" in the market for this kind of product. No NBA fan will drool over a Lebron James camo'd Miami Heat jersey. No NHL fan is going to be out in the winter, ducking behind trees with a Sidney Crosby sweater in leaf pattern. No baseball fan will have a Jeter jersey that they will don every time they go searching for deer in the woods.

This is part of why the NFL is what it is: the biggest thing in sports in the United States. Beyond having a very good product on the field, they know how to perfectly market themselves. Which some advertising steps have failed, by and large their attempts to reach as board of an audience have worked out amazingly.

How long the partnership with Realtree will last is unknown, as is the effectiveness and profitability of such a venture. However, with a broad enough appeal of the NFL and a fanatic fan base which will scoop up anything with the NFL's license of approval (much like Star Wars or Star Trek fans), it's a likely bet that this will stick around. Just remember, there will be a reason that you don't see anyone wearing it.

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