I've probably written about this theme before, but it never gets old.
The National FootballLeague reigns supreme in sports today for two reasons: a) it has the most special attraction to promote and b) it doesn't miss a trick. The NFL personifies innovation. The latest example is the gambit of holding the Super Bowl outdoors, in February, in cold-weather New Jersey. The idea was to come to the media capital of the world and get New York companies and potential advertisers and sponsors excited about having the game in their backyard. Innovation, again.
Companies are spending about $4 million this year for the right to air a 30-second commercial during the game. The NFL aims to amass $25 billion in revenue by 2027, up from about $10 billion now.
The NFL is all about one thing: making money for its owners, the people who run the league. The commissioner serves their needs.The NFL owners are wildly successful entrepreneurs who are accustomed to getting fabulous returns on their investments. The NFL is a continuation of their enterprising nature.
The Super Bowl will likely set a viewer record, surpassing the 111.3 million from two years ago, when the New York Giants edged the New England Patriots.
The NFL has managed to present a product that appeals to all sorts of people, ranging from hard-core fans to FantasyLeague devotees. Even the potentially destructive publicity stemming from the epidemic of severe head injuries to NFL players has failed to dim the popularity of the sport around the world. The NFL recognized early on that the gambling community's embrace of fantasy leagues was yet another way to innovate and create further excitement.
Broadcasting companies can't get enough of the NFL. The games are now being shown on Sunday afternoons, Sunday evenings, Monday nights and on Thursdays in prime time. The bidding for the rights to secure the Thursday night games promises to be intense. Foreign cities also want franchises.
Further, don't be surprised to see NFL games being presented before long in cooperation with Google or Netflix or Apple or some other tech company's gadget. The NFL understands the necessity of having a foothold in mobile devices and it won't be denied. The money is too great to reject.
The NFL has the hallmarks of a very smart company. Every company talks about having a global reach. The Super Bowl is being shown everywhere, regardless of a cultural gulf, a nation's lack of understanding about the nuances of and the personalities of American football or any kind of time-zone snafu.
The Sochi Olympics has the challenge of keeping the sports events relevant in the United States, where the outcomes of many events will be known by the time they come to us in primetime. The NFL couldn't careless, really, what time the big game goes on in London or Sydney or Tokyo.
There were reports early this week that the Super Bowl had hardly made a dent in the pulse of New York City.People weren't talking about the game and even the local media took to talking about the strange disconnect.
But by Saturday night, when the real football fans had arrived in town, everything changed. The Super Bowl Mall in Midtown Manhattan had been overtaken by football-crazy fans. Some compared the vibrancy to New Year's Eve in Times Square, the city's greatest annual party.
Then there will be the game itself. Can Denver's high-powered offense dent Seattle's crunching defense? Will Denver quarterback Peyton Manning take a step into football immortality by snaring his second title? Can Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman shrug off the distractions he has caused with his outburst of bravado immediately following the Seahawks' victory over the San Francisco 49ers?
I have been going back and forth all week because the game looms as being that hard to predict. But I think the final score will turn out to be Denver 27 Seattle 23. The Seattle Seahawks have stumbled this year at times away from their cozy confines and manic fans. manning's offensive line has afforded him terrific pass protection all year long. If Denver can shut down Seattle's running game, the Seahawks' Russell Wilson will have to win the game by himself, a daunting challenge for such a young quarterback.
Enough of the hype already. Bring on the game.