How is the NFL shaping the UK’s sporting landscape?
Together with the Jacksonville Jaguars we welcomed 100 industry leaders to our London office last week, for an evening exploring how American Football is changing the UK’s sporting landscape.
Hosted by BBC broadcaster Nat Coombs, the event was formally opened by our Executive Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe, who revealed himself as an honorary Chicago Bear, and gave his view that London’s sport-enthusiastic public would welcome a permanent NFL franchise “with arms wide open”
The Jaguars are the only team with a commitment to playing in London - having signed a deal to play one home game a season at Wembley Stadium until at least 2020. We started working with the Florida-based franchise in late 2013, supporting with their UK marketing, communications and social media strategy.
Since then we have helped take the team from the 31st most popular (out of 32) franchise among UK supporters to eighth with 100%+ increases in media coverage, database figures and even sentiment among fans and media.
More than 13 million people consider themselves ‘fans’ of the NFL in the UK, and the Jaguars’ own UK fan club has 55,000 registered members. The partisan support was experienced at Wembley last October, when the Jaguars’ opponents the Indianapolis Colts were booed onto the field - the first time this has ever happened during an NFL game in London.
Through speeches made by Séan Roberts, one of our Digital Communications Directors and Hussain Naqi, Jaguars SVP of International Development, guests were taken through how the Jaguars have successfully built their brand across the pond, and how the NFL is engaging consumers through digital innovation and fan engagement.
Attendees also got an expert insight through an all-star panel discussion featuring Jacksonville Jaguars legend Tony Boselli, high-profile sports agent Jon Smith, Director of Public Affairs at NFL Europe David Tossell and England women’s footballer Alex Scott.
Proceedings closed with a speech from Naqi as he took the audience through the Jaguars’ growth from a team with no brand recognition in the UK four years ago to a team which is now attracting interest from sponsors and the UK media alike as they’ve emerged as ‘London’s Team’.