Detroit Lions: The Business

We are all huge fans of the National Football League and our respective teams. The simple reality check that all fans need to know is that the National Football League and the Detroit Lions are – and operate as – a business that requires an inflow of revenue.

lionsThe main product sold by professional football teams are the players on the field – that’s obvious. In order to create more revenue, all of the teams branched out into selling team based apparel.

With the increased use of the internet by consumers, all NFL teams use their own website as a source of e-commerce to sell their products. My Lions use as their e-commerce site.

So how effective is the digital marketing of the Detroit Lions’ organization?

If you are associated with an NFL football team, you already have national brand recognition – but where exactly does their traffic come from. I know – through experience – that if you follow the Detroit Lions on social media, they advertise their online store heavily. This is known as unpaid referrals and it makes up a large portion of their traffic (it is also completely free).

Another large source of traffic is through searching in Google. When you google “Detroit Lions apparel,” it is the second website listed. This organic search lags behind only Although it seems counterintuitive, NFL Shop is a competitor of the Detroit Lions’ website as the revenue will go to the NFL instead of the Detroit Lions. The Lions need to improve their SEO strategy

The next criteria are conversions that lead to their revenue. Below is a picture of the Detroit Lions’ website:

Lions Website.PNG

As you can see, it is a very aesthetically pleasing website that is easy to follow, it has a large call to action “Shop Now” and has a large promotional banner right on top. All of these factors are put in place to boost conversions and click-through rates. This website holds true to the Lions’ brand with the unique Lions’ Honolulu Blue and the “One Pride” banner on the left.

Overall, I think the Lions have an effective website and should be more proactive with their SEO campaign. Especially because their team is the biggest disappointment in professional sports.

If you would like to go into a more in-depth analysis of the use of digital marketing in the National Football League, I encourage you to read the work of Dr. Michael Pepe’s analysis of the Minnesota Vikings. Anything from Dr. Pepe is worth looking into!


Why Does the NFL Promote Themselves?

Hello friends, we are rapidly approaching the end of the Fall 2015 semester and my weekly blog posts. First off, I hope everybody enjoyed their Thanksgiving and enjoyed quality time with friends and family. We are already into the month of December and the last day of classes is December 14th which is followed by a few days of final examinations. I am blessed with the support I have received with expanding my blog. I would like to extend a ‘thank-you’ to all my friends and family that have taken the time out of their busy lives to post and share my blog to increase my readership. I am about 50 views short of my semester goal, so the challenge continues! Let’s get my blog rolling!
Reminder: Please continue to share my blog with everyone you can think of! As stated above, this semester is quickly winding down, meaning, that we have very limited time to reach my goal.

This week, I am going to bring up something that you probably have not noticed before (and no, it is not more subliminal messages hidden in company logos). I would consider myself an above average fan of the National Football League. With that being said, I have never noticed how many times that the National Football League runs advertisements about the National Football League while their games are on TV on Sunday afternoons. It is quite shocking actually. Why does the National Football League do this? Is it effective? Does this technique work and change their brand perception?

Lately, the National Football League has been under great scrutiny due to many scandals that may have ruined their brand image. In 2010, the New Orleans Saints were found guilty of placing wagers within the team to intentionally hurt the opposing players, ultimately promoting malicious violence. In 2011, the National Football League Players’ Association went on strike after being felt taken advantage of by the National Football League. In 2012, the NFL referees similarly went on strike for the same reasons. In 2014, the NFL had ineffectively dealt with the suspension of two players who were accused of domestic violence, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy. Throughout the hardships, the NFL was led by, what was perceived as, weak leadership through its commissioner Roger Goodell.

It is known, however, that football is the fastest growing sport in the United States and the NFL has even been success in their early efforts to increase their awareness in international countries such as England and Mexico. Just last year, the NFL received over $1 billion from corporate sponsorships. So as a business, it is only predictable and knowing that the NFL is going to continue to grow.

In their efforts to grow, by nature, they need to gain new consumers. They are primarily targeting the female population of the United States and the population of other countries (England and Mexico). If these people are on the “outside” analyzing the NFL, there is a strong probability of being turn off by the recent events. This is why the NFL promotes itself during their games with their Play-60 campaign, “Football is Family” campaign, and their “No More” campaign to bring awareness and end domestic violence.

I would like to raise a question. Why does the NFL run these video promotions throughout their games? It does not make logical sense to me. The NFL is advertising to already established fans. In my mind, they are wasting their time and money. If they want to grow, they need to attract new consumers. This is why I believe that the NFL should run these video advertisements perhaps during other sporting events or during evening TV shows.

Maybe the NFL will listen to me, but I strongly doubt it. What they are currently doing must be working because (I would hope that) a corporation the size of the NFL would have smart people making smart decision.

That’s all for this blog post. Stay tuned for next week when I write my last blog update of the semester!

All my Best,

Dean Maloney from Siena College