NFL Sees Revenue Boon in Expanding Merchandise
To gear up for Super Bowl 50, the NFL debuted a collection of women's apparel at the first NFL Style Showdown. The collection included big-name brands, like Majestic, Nike and 47 Brand. The event, a conscious effort to appeal more toward female fans, seems to have paid off for the league, as Forbes reported that, thanks in part to a growing female fanbase (about 84 million), the NFL is set to rake in more than $13 billion in revenue by the end of the season.
The largest contributors to that figure are licensed consumer goods, specifically apparel and accessories.
"Our expanded product lines for apparel and other consumer packaged goods has never been about slapping the league or team brands on as many rodents as possible," Rhiannon Madden, vice president of consumer products for the NFL, told Forbes. "Our approach has always been strategic in the sense of incremental improvement—we want the NFL and its shield to represent a lifestyle, not just a one-day-a-week allegiance. Every year, our product offering gets a little better, more sophisticated and more reflective of our fans' habits and interests. Our goal has always been about allowing our fans to feel as comfortable wearing our products as they would any other brand."
After the NFL's success story, it could be much more common for sports leagues and associations to shift the focus away from simply selling game-ready jerseys and focusing more on fashion-forward items with the team's logo as a branding agent, rather than just a logo on a hat or jersey.