Description

“Football is the number one sport in America and is expected to maintain this position. The NFL dominates television ratings each year and generates billions in ad revenue as a result. Despite teams only playing one game per week, many fans remain highly engaged with the sport throughout the week – creating ample opportunities for brands to connect with these consumers. As with many industries, COVID-19 has severely impacted the 2020-21 football season. With several college football seasons canceled/postponed, the NFL remains hopeful it can play the upcoming season, albeit likely without fans. Should more college or professional football seasons get sacked by COVID-19, brands and consumers will both be left with massive voids to fill.”
– Colin O’Brien, Sports Analyst

This Report covers the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the football industry
  • Opportunities for brand integrations through football
  • The intersection of the sports and gaming worlds
  • How fans will watch NFL games moving forward

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview 
                • As TV ratings rise, so do network contracts
                  • Brands continue to increase ad spending with NFL
                    • Impact of COVID-19 on football in America
                      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on football in America, July 2020
                    • Opportunities and Challenges
                      • Football audibles to virtual experiences
                        • Figure 2: Virtual Tailgate and NFL Draft Experiences
                      • Sports and gaming worlds continue to intersect
                        • Figure 3: Sports and gaming worlds intersect
                      • NFL teams explore the “pod” fan experience
                        • International fandom could take a hit, but will get right back up
                          • Figure 4: NFL and Sky launch first international NFL-dedicated channel
                        • Crowded sports schedule creates challenges for consumers’ attention
                          • Embracing the social justice movement
                            • Figure 5: NFL players and league support of Black Lives Matter
                        • The Landscape – What You Need to Know

                          • NFL dominates ratings and ad spend
                            • New advertising options open across the sport
                              • Football and fans embrace sports betting
                                • Supporting social justice movements
                                • The Football Landscape

                                  • Billions at stake for football
                                    • More sponsorships, just less expensive
                                      • NFL TV contracts and ratings are on the rise
                                        • Brands still (and will continue to) spend big on football
                                          • Figure 6: EPL seat tarp advertising
                                        • Safety issues remain a concern for fans and the sport
                                            • Figure 7: NFL focuses on improving player health and safety
                                          • The “new” in-person fan experience will go beyond just social distancing
                                          • Key Indicators Impacting Football

                                            • Unemployment could lead to ticketing promotions and new service offerings
                                              • What’s happening
                                                • What’s ahead
                                                  • Figure 8: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-June 2020
                                                • Virtual NFL Draft results in increased engagement methods and record viewership
                                                  • What’s happening
                                                    • Figure 9: Praise for the 2020 NFL virtual draft
                                                    • Figure 10: Bud Light Seltzer #BooTheCommish campaign
                                                  • What’s ahead
                                                    • New advertisements opportunities
                                                      • What’s happening
                                                        • Figure 11: Bud Light Seltzer logo on XFL helmet
                                                      • What’s ahead
                                                        • Football finally embraces sports betting
                                                          • What’s happening
                                                            • What’s ahead
                                                              • Figure 12: Sports betting integrated into score bugs
                                                            • Growing the fanbase through streaming
                                                              • What’s happening
                                                                • What’s ahead
                                                                • Social Justice Efforts in Football

                                                                  • NFL and college football players use platforms to create change
                                                                    • Figure 13: NFL players and league support of the Black Lives Matter movement
                                                                  • Promoting diversity in NFL hiring practices
                                                                    • Public and brand pressure leads to Washington Football Team name change
                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                      • Football fandom is widespread and dominated by the NFL
                                                                        • TV remains the prime method of following football, but social media is quickly gaining in importance
                                                                          • Football gives back to local communities
                                                                            • Ancillary games increase interest in football, especially among younger and male fans
                                                                              • The football halo effect
                                                                              • Exploring Football Fans

                                                                                • NFL fandom is nearly synonymous with football fandom
                                                                                    • Figure 14: Football fandom, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 15: Football fandom passion, April 2020
                                                                                  • Football fandom is not as gendered as one might think
                                                                                    • Figure 16: Football fandom, by gender, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 17: Football fandom passion, by gender, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 18: Time spent watching/listening to football per week, by gender, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 19: Time spent following football per week, by gender, April 2020
                                                                                  • Growing the female fanbase
                                                                                    • Figure 20: Katie Sowers leads the way for women in football
                                                                                  • Black fans lead the way in football fandom
                                                                                    • Figure 21: Football fandom, by race and Hispanic origin, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 22: NFL fandom passion, by race and Hispanic origin, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Patrick Mahomes BioSteel endorsement
                                                                                  • Room to grow fandom among Gen Z; Millennials are all in
                                                                                    • Figure 24: Football fandom, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 25: Time spent watching football per week, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 26: Time spent following football per week, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                • Following the Action on the Gridiron

                                                                                  • TV remains the number one option
                                                                                    • Figure 27: Methods to follow football, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                  • Social media brings fans closer to the game and players
                                                                                    • Figure 28: Social media brand integration
                                                                                  • Radio still offers utility among older fans
                                                                                    • Fall sports logjam a cause for concern among Gen Z
                                                                                    • Growing Future Interest in Football

                                                                                      • Increasing football fandom presents a difficult proposition
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Increase interest in football, by fandom, April 2020
                                                                                        • Figure 30: Sport-focused brand promotions
                                                                                    • Brand Integrations in Football

                                                                                      • The football halo effect
                                                                                        • Figure 31: Allstate field goal nets
                                                                                        • Figure 32: Bud Light Chiefs Super Bowl bottles
                                                                                      • Tailgates offer in person engagement
                                                                                        • Figure 33: Traditional and virtual tailgate experiences
                                                                                    • Football Gives Back

                                                                                      • Local communities are the number one priority for charitable works
                                                                                        • Figure 34: Calais Campbell and Microsoft coding camp
                                                                                        • Figure 35: NFL COVID-19 relief
                                                                                    • Football Goes Beyond Fandom – It’s an Identity

                                                                                        • Figure 36: Football attitudes, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                      • Fans wear their fandom on their sleeve, literally
                                                                                          • Figure 37: NFL branded women’s apparel
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Local apparel NFL partnership
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Instagram shopping for NFL merchandise
                                                                                        • Seeing players’ personal touches
                                                                                          • Figure 40: My Cause My Cleats campaign
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Social media touchdown celebration fan engagement
                                                                                        • Get to know the players as people
                                                                                          • Figure 42: Content opportunities showcase personal side of athletes
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Brand integration through gaming
                                                                                        • Brands need to take advantage of the exclusive content
                                                                                          • Figure 44: Sponsored social media exclusive content
                                                                                        • COVID-19 Impact
                                                                                        • Playing the Ancillary Football Games

                                                                                            • Figure 45: Football attitudes, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                            • Figure 46: Football attitudes, by gender, April 2020
                                                                                          • Fantasy football offers its own industry within an industry
                                                                                            • Figure 47: IBM Watson and ESPN Fantasy Football Engagement
                                                                                            • Figure 48: DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championships
                                                                                          • Sports betting will continue to grow and feed football
                                                                                            • Figure 49: Bad Beats SportsCenter segment
                                                                                          • Video games provide new ways to brand football
                                                                                            • Figure 50: Excitement around EA Sports’ Madden 21 Player Ratings
                                                                                            • Figure 51: Madden NFL 20 Bowl sponsors
                                                                                            • Figure 52: Leveraging popularity of gaming to reach fans
                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                              • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                    • Appendix –Consumer Data

                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Football behaviors, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Football behaviors, by gender, April 2020
                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Football attitudes, April 2020
                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Increase interest in football, by generation, April 2020
                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Increase interest in football, by gender, April 2020

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