When we sit down to watch a little weekend gridiron action, my daughter politely asks, “What team are we cheering for?”
“The black team,” I announce if my lovable Bears are playing.
She doesn’t quite follow the ebb and flow of the game, yet she continually asks about the score and what’s happening. If the Bears are winning, I’ll prepare a glowing monologue about the running game or the Bears’ 3rd down efficiency. If the Bears suffer, I’ll try to sullenly instruct with one word answers. I can sometimes be a sore loser. Despite my hidden bitterness, my near-silence never suffices for my insatiable daughter.
Why can't the Bears run, catch, or throw the football?
I made one observation (with my daughter) that symbolizes the cash-heavy beast that is the National Football League. As I watched a recent battle between my Bears and the New York Giants, (I’d rather not get into the particulars from that affair), I noticed that nearly 50% of the audience is wearing some type of ‘fan gear’ (jerseys, hats, shirts, etc.)
The NFL is huge business. The yearly revenues of approximately $7.8 billion are by far the largest of all major US sports. It’s amazing and scintillating to watch a game that’s so successful and extremely entertaining.
It seems NFL fans have an undeniable allegiance to their squad, and they are proud to display that loyalty for all to see.
Let’s calculate something: (thanks to Wikipedia)
- The average NFL stadium seats: ‘about’ 70,000 fans
- 50% of that stadium is wearing ‘fan gear’: 35,000 fans
- Average cost of ‘fan gear’: (average of team shirt, jersey and hat): $55
$55 x 35,000 fans = $1,925,000; think about that large number; this is only from one of the NFL’s 32 stadiums.
I think I am ‘underbidding’ by thinking that only half the fans in attendance have NFL gear. It appears to be more like 75%.
Could this incredible ‘franchise’ of the NFL even grow larger by tapping into the younger generations? As I watch my daughter become intrigued by the running, throwing, and tackling on Sunday afternoons, I have to ask: is their ‘market potential’ here for the NFL?
Now I’ve seen young children sporting NFL gear. Many years ago, I caught backyard touchdown passes from my friend Kevin with a wool Bears cap on my head. Flurries sometimes drifted from the sky; a chill hung in the air, yet I was warm. Today, I see many youngsters branding the Cowboys star here in the Lone Star state. Our neighborhood seems like an extension of Cowboys Stadium on Sunday afternoons.
But should the NFL be building products and services that cater to an ‘even younger’ generation?
Should the NFL let 'Sweetness' rock you to sleep?
What about NFL-themed diapers? The fuzzy, bleary-eyed 2am diaper change might be more satisfying with a Bears ‘C’ on display.
Would your infant be especially soothed with a Monsters of the Midway-branded pacifier?
If you can plaster your wall with a Brian Urlacher skin from Fathead, why can’t you get a Chicago Bears plastered car seat?
How about a NFL mobile with the retired numbers of Bears greats dangling from the ceiling? Wouldn’t your child sleep better if Sweetness (Walter Payton #34) or the bruising Dick Butkus (#51) were watching over?
Who knows if this ‘market slice’ is ripe for the taking? I might be watching an upcoming Bears/Packers game while my daughter plays with her Bears tea set with dark blue dishes and orange cups. I’ll join the party when that happens.
Until next time,