The NFL In Europe Case Study Samples

Type of paper: Case Study

Topic: Teamwork, Sports, League, American Football, Team, Europe, Soccer, United States

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/16

1. When it comes to professional sports, as well as many other business enterprises, there is no such thing as stasis. Leagues are either growing in interest or declining. The availability of broadcasts of the Premier League on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, for example, means that the American sports leagues must build audiences elsewhere as well. In the case of the NFL, the stated desire of commissioner Roger Goodell to build revenue even above and beyond its current levels means that there have to be more consumers. The highest level of soccer leagues, such as La Liga and the Premier League, do not yet have profits on the scale of the NFL, but the growing exposure of fans in the United States to soccer, not only through the quadrennial World Cup but also through regular broadcasts of games on cable channels, shows that there are people willing to support a team through the purchase of memorabilia and through either purchasing streaming rights or paying for premium channels that carry those games.
The NFL has more access to profit than the other North American sports leagues, because it has a weaker labor pool than the other leagues. The average NFL career is less than the amount of play it takes to qualify for a league pension. While the league has more job openings (its rosters are more than twice the size of the second largest league, Major League Baseball) and more teams to fill (32), the fact that contracts are not guaranteed, either in terms of duration or the full amount of compensation, means that the NFL teams have the most financial flexibility. Consider the example of DeMarco Murray, the NFC Offensive Player of the Year in 2014. In any other league, that performance would have sewn him up a huge contract. In the NFL, he had to call a rival team to offer his services to get even a serviceable offer. It is much less a hostage to its players’ monetary demands than the Premier League or La Liga.
2. The problem with the World League of American Football and NFL Europe is that both were clearly minor leagues in comparison to the product that the National Football League was putting on the field. And so the notion that fans would throw their all behind, say, the London Monarchs or the Frankfurt Galaxy when the top play was taking play on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t make sense. The London viewing public can go to watch Premier League soccer –- a league that is in the first tier of soccer associations. One can compare the difference to the gap between the attendance figures for Major League Soccer teams in the United States and their NFL counterparts. Both teams play, on the average, once a week, but soccer stadiums in the United States are much smaller. While the Seattle Sounders FC claims U.S. men’s national team star Clint Dempsey on its roster, the quality of sport that MLS is putting out is much less than the brand of American football that the Seattle Seahawks provide each week. While MLS is not a subsidiary of the Premier League, like NFL Europe and the WLAF were subsidiaries to the NFL, the analogy is the same. People won’t pay to see an inferior product, even if they’re interested in the sport. The approach of staging regular season exhibitions between real NFL teams is vastly preferable, because they bring the game at its top tier in games that have competitive importance for the teams involved.
3. As far as sending regular season games overseas for European audiences, there are three advantages: top quality competition because of the stakes, the presence of teams that may have developed a following in Europe, and the ability to market the very finest that the game has to offer. Three disadvantages include the lack of quality teams going “across the pond,” the lack of real attachment between fans and teams and potential distractions to teams traveling. For example, the Jacksonville Jaguars have regularly appeared in London regular season games over the past few years, but the Jaguars are anything but the cream of the NFL. Such teams as the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, two of the top teams in the league, don’t make the trip, which means that the British fans aren’t getting to see the best the game has. While owners such as Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys are willing to send their teams across the Atlantic when it’s a road game, many of them aren’t willing to sacrifice one out of eight home gates to market the game in Europe.
The National Hockey League has used neutral-site regular season games to build interest in target cities in order to gauge interest in possible expansion to those markets. For example, such marquee teams as the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins played in such target markets as Dallas. This was during a time when the Oilers were one of the teams in the league, regularly qualifying for (and often winning) the Stanley Cup, with such players as Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier on their roster, and the Penguins had the young Mario Lemieux to draw potential fans as well. The expansion games in Dallas began in the late 1980s, and even though it would be more than a decade later that the Minnesota North Stars moved south to become the Dallas Stars, the foundation for the assumption that the league would do well in Texas were borne out by attendance in those games. While the Super Bowl is the world’s most widely watched sporting event, the fact that marquee matchups between elite teams in the NFL do not take place in targeted overseas markets means that the league has not yet given those markets in-person exposure to those top matchups. The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills aren’t quite as compelling a game as, say, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, but it’s unlikely that either team’s owner would be willing to give up that home gate.
Three advantages of planting teams in Europe include building a loyal fan base, setting up reliable revenue streams that come with successful local teams, and the revenue from local television contracts for showing the teams’ games. Three disadvantages include the treatment of these leagues as developmental or second-tier teams, the lack of interaction with NFL teams and the assumption that there are enough people in Europe to fund minor league teams in Europe. The NFL has not yet been willing to establish a real league team overseas, but that seems like the next viable step.
A legitimate question, of course, at this point is whether or not there are enough top-tier players to expand the current field of 32 NFL teams to, say, 36, and put teams in places such as Mexico City, London, Tokyo and Frankfurt. Also, while hosting neutral-site games overseas makes for more of a novelty than a logistical grind, having teams in those locales would pose a challenge when it comes to travel. If the NFC West included, for example, Seattle, San Francisco, St. Louis, Arizona and Tokyo, the Japanese team would enjoy a significant advantage at home because of the jet lag involved, but the difficulties that team would face if it had road games at Miami and Chicago bookended around a home game against San Francisco are considerable. Even shuttling a team back and forth from London would make that team likely to be significantly less attractive to free agents. Putting a team in Mexico City would not involve the extreme air distances and crossing of time zones, but such factors as the air quality and security problems come into play. Would Mexico City be willing to update the Azteca to suit the needs of the National Football League? It’s hard to imagine the city being willing to build a soccer-only stadium, but the harsh conditions that make that stadium such a house of horrors for visiting teams during qualifying games for the World Cup would make many NFL owners think twice about placing a team here.
So what is the solution? Creating a European conference and pitting those teams against the American conference in the Super Bowl could be workable, but the competitive elements would be difficult. That would limit the overseas travel, but it’s unlikely that more than a few current league cities would be willing to give up their teams. The NFL is currently talking about putting two teams in Los Angeles. While one of those teams might come from St. Louis, it’s unlikely that they would both come from other markets, which means the league would have an unwieldy 33 teams. Instead of having to provide a bye each week (with an odd number of teams), another franchise is more likely too, and London is a locale that gets a lot of press because of the yearly games at Wembley Stadium. However, balancing the conferences in terms of teams would be difficult. The idea of putting one team in London to take the league to 34 is logical, but it has more risks than adding a team to, say, Columbus, Ohio, or San Antonio, Texas. If the team in London fails, the ignominy for the league will be international. Despite the success of the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, there are reasons the Premier League has not established a foothold in Manhattan, leaving the five boroughs instead to not one but two MLS clubs. It remains to be seen whether those reasons will also keep the NFL in the United States. If having 49ers fans in Asia and New York Giants fans in Ireland, even in small pockets, gives the league the revenues it wants, then that may be enough. It remains to be seen whether going to 18 games or expanding Thursday games or jacking ticket prices up even farther will help the NFL get the revenue that Commissioner Goodell has promised. Until then, the idea of European expansion will continue to be popular.

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The NFL In Europe Case Study Samples. Free Essay Examples - Published Feb 16, 2021. Accessed May 19, 2024.

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