4 OUR THOUGHTS ON The draw of the NFL International Series for brands It’s that time of year again when the NFL Series crosses over the pond to take over London; here at Leo Burnett we’re gearing up for all the touchdowns and dabs! With four games this year (an all-time high), London has been chosen as the NFL’s gateway to the international market. NFL in the UK continues to see accelerated growth throughout the UK, with an 80% increase in NFL viewership over one calendar year. Last year an estimated 170 millon people around the world tuned into the SuperBowl. The commercials have become the most intriguing part of the SuperBowl for some, as a result brands are now in fierce competition to secure advertising space. To put this into perspective the AMA revealed a 30 second ad in the very first SuperBowl in 1967 cost $42,000, today the same 30 second spot will cost you in excess of $5 Million. With this in mind, the NFL Series has the potential to become one of the UK’s most lucrative sponsorship opportunities. Following the rise in popularity of the NFL in the UK, we have used our Sponsorship IP SponsorDNA to explore awareness, fan attitudes and perceived sponsorship fit for the NFL International Series. SponsorDNA allows us to match sports events with suitable brands and analyse the perception of existing sponsorships. Our research analyses the UK’s perceptions on the NFL International Series, with fans noting quality, uniqueness and family friendly as the top three attributes of the event. Perhaps as a result of the NFL’s ongoing investment in their international growth strategy, particularly in Europe, 78% of fans from our research marked the NFL as a high quality event. This research reinforces the potential for brand's to enhance and develop their brand image through partnering with the International Series. Emirates claimed the top spot in terms of perceived fit for the International Series, the luxury airline surprisingly pipped the NFL’s official Airline Partner Virgin Atlantic to the post. As Emirates already sponsor Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG and the ATP World Tour, the airline already has a strong affiliation with sponsorship in the UK market. With the International Series continued growth in popularity we predict there will be fierce rivalry between brands to win the airline sponsorship rights in the future. Dairy company Arla Protein had the second highest perceived fit. Our research showed the protein yogurt had similar characteristics to the International Series as both are growing in popularity. Due to the explosive and physical nature of the sport, it may be of value for Arla Protein to look into becoming a supplier to the NFL, contributing to the player’s maintenance of muscle mass and health. The NFL International Series is now into its 1 0 th y e a r . It ’ s a b i l i t y t o s e l l o u t f o u r ga me s i n some of the UK’s largest stadiums is a statement of how far the sport has come. With well attended fan rally's in Trafalgar Square and Regents Street and widespread media exposure, the sport offers a great platform for the world’s most exclusive brands to gain coverage. Not only this, NFL are also on track to realising it’s 15 -year plan of fielding a NFL UK team, which would bring even more exciting opportunities for brands looking to associate themselves with the sport.