Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Marketing trends for football’s championship game

Marketing trends for football’s championship game

"From a marketer’s perspective, it is a dream to work at the championship game and be a part of it all," says Sara Gramata, executive lecturer in marketing. (Image: Getty Images)

By Monica Sather | Student reporter

With the championship football game coming up, fans are focused on the players and teams in this year’s most anticipated matchup. But what goes on behind the scenes of football’s biggest game?

Sara Gramata, executive lecturer in marketing, discusses this year’s new marketing trends and how controversies could affect the championship game.  

What are the marketing challenges for the championship game?

The biggest challenge this year is the controversy with the players protesting during the national anthem, which has been following the NFL for a while now. This has negatively affected how the NFL is viewed: They are seen as this big monster of a sports league that has been greedy with their sponsorships.

We will see how the ads and commercials change for this championship game. The NFL doing public service announcements (PSAs), for example, would be really beneficial for the perception of the league. Even if they incorporate something that’s more action prone versus what we have seen in the past and have come to expect. For example, while the NFL has made a large donation to domestic abuse related charities, there are other initiatives that would provide a more meaningful impact, such as creating an ongoing education program for the players and coaches. Like the old phrase, actions speak louder. 

Another challenge is how you refer to the game in promotional materials. With the championship game, you can’t use the official name in your marketing or advertising materials, unless you are a secured sponsor. You’ll find that advertisers now are very inventive about how they refer to “the big game” or “the game on Sunday.”

What are the new trends in 2018?

One of the new trends, especially with the championship game, is trying to become greener. The NFL is trying to make each game greener than ever before, whether it’s composting at the arena or the materials that they are printing on for their collateral or promotional material. They are trying to become much more inventive and be more sustainable overall.

Why should the business and Quinlan communities follow these trends?

Most interesting is how the green movement and social responsibility play out on a big stage. Here at Quinlan, we have strong ties to Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, and we have a sustainability management minor. Our students are greatly interested in the way that the organizers are trying to make the big game more efficient and green, and how that could benefit the NFL as well as the planet.

What is the value of the game for marketers?

From a marketer’s perspective, it is a dream to work at the championship game and be a part of it all. I’ve been at the game, and it’s a huge event and production. The lessons that are viewed firsthand are invaluable, such as what happens when the lights go out at your event, like they did in New Orleans a few years ago. What do you do? Nobody had ever thought about having backup generators until that happened.

All of our classes talk a lot about the advertising and the commercials that are played and I think that’s always an exciting part of the game as well.

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