NFL plans $50M “Back to Football” campaign

The NFL plans to welcome the start of its regular season next

week with a $50 million ”Back to Football” marketing

campaign.

The effort aims to keep up last year’s record TV ratings and

improve its value to sponsors.

The league is running ads for ”Back to Football” on its

broadcast partners NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, and NFL Network. All are

using the slogan, too.

Retailers Kohl’s, Dick’s and Old Navy are also running

promotions and featuring NFL merchandise.

In all, the league estimates total media spending by the NFL and

its sponsors to be worth $50 million on the campaign, which it

plans to run each year from July through the season’s start in

early September.

NFL Chief Marketing Officer Mark Waller said the NFL wants the

season’s start to be as strong as its finish, which is marked by

the Super Bowl.

This year’s Super Bowl, with the New Orleans Saints victorious

over the Indianapolis Colts, became the most-watched event in U.S.

television history.

”There’s huge pent-up demand,” Waller said Tuesday. ”You

don’t stop being a football fan when the season ends.”

The league asked sponsors and broadcasters to use the theme,

telling them ”the more you engage fans the better it is for all of

us,” Waller explained.

The NFL also expanded its pre-game show for the kickoff game on

Sept. 9 to one hour from 30 minutes. The season’s first game has

the Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings. The day after that, fans

will be asked to wear jerseys or their team colors, the NFL said,

including people at work and at school.

Last year’s regular season games averaged 18.4 million viewers,

up nearly 10 percent from the prior year, according to The Nielsen

Company.

Ratings so far this preseason, which started in early August,

have also been strong, Waller said. Interest has been heightened

because of 40-year-old Brett Favre again playing quarterback for

the Vikings and the new football stadium in New York shared by the

Jets and the Giants.

”There’s just so many story lines, the interest is as high as

it’s ever been,” he said.