It’s Getting Close to the Time the NFL Threw Advertisers a Hail Mary…

The NFL has built something that advertisers drool over (Besides Tom Brady). The NFL has an audience of passionate fans in a controlled environment for a set period of time. It’s a marketers dream and they will do/spend just about anything to have access to such a targeted audience. How many times have you seen or know of people who pick brands based on an association with their home team or even star player (NASCAR fits here as well). The trouble is, the longer this lockout goes the more advertisers will look for something to cure their itchy feet. Currently, they are having trouble finding it. Take a look at the why the NFL is so addicting to advertisers.

NFL.com’s audience is perfect if you are looking to target 18-34 year old men whom on average earn more than their peers and have more disposable income. WOW! That’s an advertiser’s dream and the NFL is premier place to find it. Many advertisers know this, including Old Spice, and it’s one of the reasons why they have been so successful capturing that segment. It is also one of the reasons why the NFL can justify charging billions of dollars for access to that audience.

Should advertisers try to find that audience elsewhere as this lockout continues? It would be a pretty risky bet at this point, but they should start planning for it in the off chance that the NFL does not resolve the lockout. The data that tells us that the NFL is NOT losing the interest of the majority of fans during this lockout – however –that locker door is quickly closing.

First the good news:

We analyzed the traffic going to all NFL related sites and found that year over year visitors to those sites were down over 14% and page views (what advertisers purchase) down just over 30%. These big numbers should naturally make advertisers nervous, BUT there is a silver lining. The trended data tells us that May and June is the ‘quiet’ period for the NFL audience. This means that this year’s attrition is probably not because the audience suddenly has lost interest in the NFL, but rather that they are finding other things to occupy their time until the lockout ends. For me, I actually have a little bit of a tan from the pool and a nicely manicured lawn.

Now the bad news:

It’s JULY! In July 2010, NFL related sites started its seasonal rise by growing 25% in traffic from May 2010, and in August 2010, it started its seasonal peak of 2.5X its offseason traffic. The NFL is in the seasonal growth window and it is closing quickly. There are around ten more days left before the monster money making advertising machine they have created will start stumbling.  There is a potential scenario showing that with further delays, advertisers could have a pile of money and not enough audience to advertise too. In hand with an increase in competition this could cause that audience to become too expensive for them to advertise to and they will turn elsewhere.

The NFL is very aware of this and my guess is that they will come to an agreement in the next two weeks for a fall full of touchdowns, sacks and Hail Mary’s to excite passionate fans whom might just be interested in trying a new product here and there, of course with the right ad to help them. What’s your guess?

About Gregg Poulin:
Gregg Poulin is a General Manager at Compete. Gregg spends his time at Compete ensuring information is available to the masses. Before Gregg joined the Compete Team he sold womens' shoes and coffee machines online. Gregg hopes to one day be a toll taker or chief hamburger flipper. Follow Gregg on Twitter @greggpoulin or connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=4373891&authType=name&authToken=TdwV