Alchemy – Sports branding is not a zero sum game.

Alchemy – Sports branding is not a zero sum game.  Football grows if Fútbol grows.

The NFL is one of those companies that make me go “what the hell are they thinking?”  At least every time I attempt to watch Monday Night Football.  The reason is simple; there are more commercials than football.

“Right now the NFL looks invincible. Everything about pro football keeps soaring: popularity, ratings, gate receipts, licensing. The reason is product quality — NFL games are fabulous. But could the NFL take a basketball-style tumble? Sure.” – Gregg Easterbrook
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/8841434

I remember years ago swearing never to watch a major league baseball game again after one of the 932 different strikes.  America, me definitely included, finds a prim Dona millionaire vs. prim Dona millionaire dispute reprehensible.  The phrase “just shut up” comes to mind.

So the NFL pitches Monday Night Football to television stations through an auction.  Bidders.  Winners.  Winners saddled with a bill they can’t cover.  Ridiculous commercial content 95% of the time.  And now ESPN is going to step in and save the day, and increase shareholder value by advertising even more on our cell phones.  Really?  Oh freakin’ please!

Fútbol on the other hand is known for NO commercial interruptions.   Discrete logos are shown at the bottom of the screen, and on the field, during play.  But there are no bustiere beer commercials during play.  The clock counts up, not down; as if tension is not the point.  The “stoppage play” mocks the time clock with a variable hanging out there the entire time.

The NFL is hosting football games in the home of Fútbol games, Mexico City, because they want to recapture some of the alchemy they specifically killed.  Like a 60 year old wearing a too-short-skirt they yearn for days gone by.  And of course they SHOULD do this.  But it is nothing more than chemotherapy on a limb in an alternate country; it does not address the root cause.

From a social software perspective the NFL has successfully created a monopoly (commons) through legislation.  They have not found auctions successful in solving the problem of the commons.  From a socio-political perspective, neither has anyone else.  The real problem is deeper than that, obviously, and requires a more complex systemic solution.  We get that.  The details are challenging.