Developing the Digital and Physical Footprint of NFL (Henry Hodgson, General Manager – NFL UK)
Capturing the attention of as many people as possible in the UK over the two-week period NFL games are played in London – not just the games themselves – has been a central part of the strategy to long-term interest in the UK said Henry Hodgson (General Manager – NFL UK) in his ISC presentation.
Hodgson was talking in the NFL’s Home Locker Room at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which has hosted two regular season NFL games in 2019, 2021 and 2022 as part of a 10-year partnership, and is the only purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the USA.
“The games themselves, the Sundays where 70,000 people come into this stadium to have a fantastic time, is part of [driving fandom] – but we really look to capture the attention of as many people as possible over that two-week period we have games in London, to make sure people understand it’s not just a travelling circus that comes into town and goes,” he said.
All 32 teams have played a regular season game at least once in London since 2007 and this year the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans will play at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as designated teams.
Hodgson said the NFL currently has a global fanbase of 400m, with 15m in the UK. Globally, TV viewership (unique reach) is up 12% year-on-year across core markets, while social following has grown 32% year-on-year.
Hodgson added that in the USA the biggest challenge the NFL faces at the moment is making sure the Gen Z and Gen A audience continues to be interested and engaged in the sport.
Metaverse partnerships with Roblox and Fortnite, flag football and augmented reality with Nickelodeon were called out as recent key initiatives the NFL has embarked on to achieve that.
The Roblox partnership has seen the NFL reach 200m global active users with 70% under the age of 18, 44% of which are female. Hodgson added that the Roblox environment will be one that presents commercial opportunities in the future.