PARISA HOWARD: NFL Schedule Release – The Next Big Sponsor Tentpole Event Opportunity

Parisa Howard, VP Director Business Leadership, NY at Momentum Worldwide

“With creative NFL opponent announcements ranging from cat gifs to nostalgic TV shows, the NFL schedule release has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a simple press release.

The increased buzz around their schedule release has benefitted league and team sponsors alike, as the event evolves into one of the NFL’s most interesting emerging opportunities to continue its drumbeat of yearlong activities, even throughout the “offseason.”

Reimagining formerly mundane calendar events to be more engaging and relevant is a natural progression as leagues and teams aim to capture share of mind from their fanbases. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for sponsors to fully optimize the always-on benefits of sponsorship as a marketing medium.

The NFL has strategically built up the excitement around the release, with a steady trickle of key game date announcements, culminating with a primetime broadcast event on NFL Network . Watch for Verizon to appear as the presenting sponsor of the schedule release broadcast event on NFL Network and AWS announced as the sponsor of the schedule itself.

NFL teams have found increasingly creative ways to integrate sponsors into their clever schedule announcements, including the Chicago Bears having players and other personalities guess opponents based on team sponsor Benjamin Moore paint colors last season.

The timing around the schedule release has also evolved in recent years from April to mid-May, resulting in even more opportunity for sponsors. This later timing provides brands a prime window to engage fans just ahead of summer, a peak promotional period for many key categories including CPG, retail, travel and home improvement.

Activating around the schedule release also gives brands a unique breakthrough opportunity with many NFL partners focused on more established tent pole events like the Draft and Super Bowl.

At the team level, expect an increasing number of teams to roll out presenting sponsorships for their schedule release coverage. For the right partner, broader sponsorship packages themed around the future of the team that wrap-up NFL Draft opportunities with the schedule release and season kick-off assets could provide an attractive opportunity.

The schedule release represents a unique moment in time for sponsors to activate, as all fans can find reasons to be excited in May and anticipation for the season ramps up with another appointment-viewing opportunity to collectively obsess over the chances of winning a Super Bowl championship.

The good news is that sponsors and fans won’t have to wait long; we’ll find out on May 12 at 8pm.”