Running to the 50-Yard Line

The NFL has come up with another idea to get fans more involved and to gain more money by having a running series. The NFL has teamed up with the racing company, Competitor Group, to create a series of running events nationwide as part of football’s return for this season. Competitor Group is the largest U.S. racing company with 83 events globally where 75 are in the U.S. alone. The running company is already a sponsor of the 2014 Super Bowl and this running series will deepen its involvement. There is also talk of having Nike and Gatorade sponsor the series. I believe the “Back to Football Run Series 2012” is a great idea. The NFL is concentrating on making sure their fans can be involved with their favorite team in different ways. This is also going to draw in people who may not be fans of a particular team where the run is being held. These non-fans could potentially become fans of the particular team, but either way the NFL team will be making money off anyone who runs in the race.

“It is a way to engage a broader set of fans,” said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s vice president of fan strategy and marketing. “We love the idea of building a series of runs tied into everything we are doing with health and wellness and Back to Football.”

There are four teams so far this season that will have a race ending in their stadium: Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams. Each race consists of a 5k, a Kid’s Play 60 Mile Fun Run and a Corporate Challenge. The 5k Race is for all abilities and can either be a walk or a run. The Kids Play 60 Mile Fun Run is a family-oriented walk while the Corporate Challenge involves getting teams together through your company. Each team has different “participant perks”. The St. Louis race gives participants a Rams home game ticket, a special price offer for additional games, a technical tee and a post-race tailgate party and beer garden. The New Orleans race gives participants a technical tee and a post-race tailgate party and Bud Light Beer Garden. Teams should really research what other teams are giving participants to raise hype about their own event. If I was a New Orleans fan and knew what the St. Louis fans were receiving, I would not be happy. However, all races do finish on the 50-yard line of the participating team’s stadium.

The races in Tennessee and San Diego have already occurred while the ones in New Orleans and St. Louis are scheduled for this next week. Both runs had a great turn out. The run not only raises money for the team but also excitement about the season approaching. This race gives fans a sense of “belonging” to the team. However, even though these teams are working with Competitor Group, other teams are not required to work with them. By 2014, all teams are predicted to have races in their hometowns. I know I will be a part of the one in Atlanta for the Falcons.

“Back to Football Run Series 2012” is promoting itself not only through teams but also through social media. The series has a Facebook and Twitter page. Both pages are not very popular, but considering these races are just kicking off, it is expected. However, for these races to grab the attention of the public, their social media needs to expand.

I believe this is a wise decision by the NFL and their teams. Fans and sponsors alike will enjoy the benefits from teaming up with Corporate Challenge. For more information about the races and organization visit:

Article from Sports Business Journal



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