Super Bowl XLVIII: Could other sports learn from the marketing success of the NFL?

Last Updated: 30/01/14 9:00pm

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Owen Slot discusses the differences in sports marketing in the US and UK.

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It has its detractors, but having been to a few I can tell you that the Super Bowl is huge - it's big business, and if any sport has made the very most of itself in marketing terms it is the NFL, but has the league shown a blueprint for others to follow?

NFL boss Roger Goodell continues to expand his $9billion brand across the globe, there are around 5,500 media present here in New York from all corners of the globe - and there are three games coming to Wembley later this year as the fanbase grows in the UK.

On the latest What's The Story on Sky Sports, Sarah-Jane Mee was joined by journalist Oliver Slot and tennis star Greg Rusedski, who both praised the way the NFL and Super Bowl was marketed.

As sports around the world generally struggle through difficult times, could there be some help emanating from the gridiron? Let's have a look and see.

Technology: Is rife in the NFL, they can replay almost anything, and even the coaches can challenge a call on the field and have that reviewed. We've seen this work well in tennis, to mixed effect in cricket and also TV replays in rugby - it's also creeping into football with goal line technology being introduced. But can you imagine the likes of Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger having the right to challenge a referee's decision during a game?

Salary cap: Is used in a number of sports, and even football is now trying to introduce some kind of financial fair play to level out the huge gulf between the haves and the have nots. In the NFL, for instance, revenue and TV money is generally shared out - even down to merchandising and kit deals. Imagine the Premier League where all the kits are made by the same manufacturer and every teams gets an equal share of the loot?

Parity: Around the same lines, the NFL is based on the idea that any team can win in any season - the 'Any Given Sunday' model if you will. The worst teams in the league get the first choice of the best players coming into the Draft from college, and there's a slight advantage the following season's fixtures. It's helped the likes of the Colts and Chiefs go from being awful to play-off teams in following seasons - and ensures fans have fresh hope every September.

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders in action

Razzamatazz: It's not just the Super Bowl - all teams like to give their fans the best possible gameday experience, from 'tailgating' which essentially is a big fans' BBQ, to fan plazas and the half-time entertainment show we see at the Super Bowl. Then there's the cheerleaders of course, which have become a phenomenon in the States - and have started creeping into the Premier League at West Ham and Crystal Palace.

Player access: It's unrivalled in the NFL. Super Bowl weeks sees the coaches and quarterbacks interviewed every day, while on Media Day Tuesday both teams emerge for a full hour of grilling from the world's media. It must become tiresome but most players take it in their stride and a lot actually relish it.

Just imagine though the likes of Mourinho and Guardiola stepping up to a media podium all week before a Champions League final! Straight after the Super Bowl media are allowed in the player dressing rooms - I can't see Rooney, Lampard and co being too pleased having a camera shoved in their faces straight after losing the FA Cup final - but it could provide some great TV!

Big-game hype: The Super Bowl isn't about just one game, it's an entire week of non-stop action. Super Bowl Boulevard has popped up in recent years and sees free concerts, food stands and fan activities all in the one zone - in New York it's based in iconic Broadway, it's just a shame it's so cold!

The Champions League had something similar in London and as host cities look to try and cash-in as much as possible on hosting big games you'll see more parties and fan festivities cropping up and major events.

Draft: Unique to American sports in the strength of their college sport, which essentially is a breeding ground for young players to prove themselves before going into the pros. Could it work in other sports though? There's a bidding draft in IPL cricket, it's hard to see it translating elsewhere with the lack of college sports or other second-tier system.

It might be nice to see, say, the smaller teams nearer the bottom of the league given the pick of the young talent coming through the youth teams, but the clubs are dominant here and that would rely on a countrywide or even global youth football set-up.

What it does do in the NFL is stop the most successful teams grabbing the best players, with trades for big names few and far between, you rarely see an Adrian Peterson leave the lowly Vikings - and it does result sometimes in the greatest players of their generation never tasting success.

What do you think? Whatever your sport, could they learn from the success of the NFL or the Super Bowl idea? What changes would you like to see come in? Let us know below.

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