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The Future of NFL

I know things...very few. Check out me trying my best to write about them!


1. Different Stadiums and Experience

More virtual reality and consumer-facing interfaces will be added to stadiums. This boils down to the TV product becoming the primary source of income and influence within the NFL. The stadium experience will be purely an owner of the team discretion product which means smaller market teams will have less benefit to getting people in than accommodating the TV product. With a large migration before COVID times to more home access to games, this trend will come back in which the NFL will be ready with VR seating and better TV packages.

The owners see the potential for considerable sums of money rolling in with large stadium upgrades similar to Dallas and LA. The move to a more personal or premium experience at a stadium will become the norm as the fight to beat staying home begins.

2. Boardroom and Ownership Changes

The athlete's push to determine his or her own location and ownership.The trend has already begun in other sports where the dictation of where an athlete is going to play has no loyalty or mention of what the right thing is to do. The aspect is to become what is best for me and my future, not what the masses will think of me. You can spend your PR anyway you like. With this coming morning to the NFL in the next ten years, the ownership of the teams will be called into question, with many former players combining with large hedge funds and corporations to eventually get stakes in a team.An example of this is Magic Johnson with the Dodgers. Although he has a minor stake compared to anybody else, it gives the team extremely good PR and allows for players within the organization to feel that they have somebody in the boardroom.

3. Sponsorship and Corporation backing

Corporate backing. For any sport, corporate sponsorship is massive and a huge influx of money, but the NFL is better than most, but at a couple of things they aren't the best. Look at the NBA and soccer. These organizations were able to utilize corporate sponsorship for things like jerseys and even practice uniforms. Although speaking as a fan, many of you have the same inkling that it is going to be a sore sight to see corporate logos instead of numbers.

4. Numbers

Making retired phone numbers available is more about mathematics than anything else. The retired numbers for many of the older teams, including the Bears, Packers, and especially successful teams like the Patriots, are going to run out of numbers soon, so the opening up of retired numbers will become a thing the NFL will need to do soon and they'll do it league-wide. Simple fixes allow numbers to be retired but also allow them to be played, although there can be certain circumstances where you know a handful of numbers will not be used for reverence or anything like that, IE Seattle's 12 jersey for the 12th man, but mainly numbers are arbitrary and used to identify players.

5. Hello, Europe and Mexico!

It is no secret that the NFL has interests in other markets. There's only so much money they can pump out of the largest consumer market in the United States. It is only natural for them to go to two areas that have the most similar societies and the most rabid fans, and this is where places like England and Mexico come in. Let's look at a place like England, which has a large GDP, a lot of stadiums that can be filled with NFL fans, and a rabid fan base who consumes sports regularly. It doesn't help that the language barrier is not very difficult. Then you look at Mexico, a predominantly Hispanic country that has stadiums but not the infrastructure that England has, but a rabid fan base for NFL football already. Each game that has been played at the Azteca stadium has sold out and has had a large viewership within the United States for those games. So with all that being said, what's the end game for the NFL? It's quite simply that they want to create teams there. Make the market regular and flowing. It's the same thing any business wants to do. You want to open up in more states that you can have a stream of money coming in. But the big word and the number one hurdle that is preventing this is the drumroll. Please see logistics Even with today's quick and easy transportation, the movement from England would be a nightmare and the games that they'd have to play in the United States would be tough, so the only practical thing would be to create your own European division within the NFL, not a separate league, which they have already tried. You could call it NFC Europe. This wouldn't solve everything, but it could help with the logistics aspect of flying them across the Atlantic every other week. Then you look at Mexico, where logistics are not a huge issue when determining games' logistics becomes a large issue when you're looking at safety and crossing borders back and forth. The US government would essentially flag these, and any fans who wanted to come here would be looked at as risking a lot. England has an open border with the US, but the Mexican government does not. Also, the only stadium within a large enough area is the Azteca Stadium, which is extremely old and needs to be updated if there's going to be an NFL team in Mexico City.

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6. Development League or Spring League

Business is all about diversifying their streams of money and talent. With college athletics having a power struggle and uncertainty, the benefactor of this system might want to ensure their product doesn't get deluded by poor incoming talent. This may lead the NFL to look into their own supplemental league in a format similar to the G League. The teams could be open to this as this would allow them to cultivate more talent and try out different prospects.

The other option could be a partnership with upcoming spring leagues. The expansion and money coming into the XFL revival may create an opportunity for the NFL instead of competition. A partnership with the NFL could help the XFL get some legitimacy while some of the NFL's money, marketing, and fans wouldn't hurt them either. How this partnership would work is another question entirely.

© 2021 Michael Keleher MPA

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