Posts tagged with "NFL"

The ‘Disneyland’ of football: NFL owners to invest $10M in Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio

October 22, 2019

The NFL will invest up to $10 million in a mixed-use development adjoining the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The league’s owners voted in favor of the investment in the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village—located in a 200-acre tourism development district—at their fall meeting this week, the Canton Repository reported.

This would mark the NFL’s first investment in the project—although former New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson gave $11 million before his death in March 2018 at age 90, according to the report. A 23,000-seat stadium, which is part of the village and is used for local games and a concert venue, was built during the project’s $250-million first phase and was named after him.

The second phase of construction is estimated at $268 million and will include two hotels, more youth fields, a field house with convention space, an office building, retail space, and an indoor water park.

The company behind the development, HOF Village LLC, announced in September that it was merging with publicly traded Gordon Pointe Acquisition to create a publicly traded company, pay down the village’s debt, and allow the new company to start with cash on hand, in a deal the companies valued at $390 million.

Mike Crawford, the CEO of HOF Village and the combined company, told Fox Business News they’re making “the equivalent of the ‘Disneyland’ of professional football.”

 “We are leveraging a multi-dimensional approach to engage consumers by providing authentic storytelling through our media arm while bringing those stories to life in an immersive 3D environment unlike any other,” he said.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Calling the shots: Study finds that coaching can win the day for collegiate and pro sports teams

March 19, 2019

You can’t win them all—but a good coach can help a collegiate or professional sports team rack up points on a regular basis. Those are the findings of a University of Chicago study on the importance of leadership in athletics.

Scholars at the university’s  Harris School of Public Policy analyzed hundreds of seasons of data—including wins and losses, and sports scores and statistics— and found that coaches account for 20 % to 30% of the variation in team outcomes.

To reach their findings, Professor Christopher Berry and Associate Professor Anthony Fowler looked at the impact of coaching in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, college football, and college basketball.

“Coaches are often credited or blamed for their team’s success or failure, and are compensated as if they are among the most important assets a franchise possesses,” said Berry. “We find that coaches do, in fact, matter—and suggestions that coaches are interchangeable, which has been the dominant view in the sports analytics community, are not true. In every sport we studied, we found that coaches impact variables that contribute to a higher winning percentage.”

The study came up with a number of findings, which Berry and Fowler presented March 1 at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston—among them:

  • MLB managers affect runs scored, runs allowed, run differential, and victories. They have greater impact on runs allowed than on runs scored.
  • NFL coaches affect points allowed and the point margin. They significantly affect the number of fumbles and penalties a team commits.
  • Coaches matter more in college football than in the pros. They significantly affect points scored, points allowed, point differential,  and victories.
  • Coaching is highly significant in both NBA and Division I college basketball outcomes—influencing points scored, points allowed, point differential and victories.
  • NHL coaches matter, although they matter much more for goals allowed than for goals scored.

“Although virtually every aspect of player performance has been examined since the recent emergence of sports analytics, we wanted to bring the same level of rigor to coaches as there is for everyone else on the field at a major sporting event,” Fowler said.

The study was conducted with a method called randomization inference for leadership effects, which accounts for player quality and strength of schedule. Berry and Fowler first created the approach to estimate the effects of political leaders on various economic and policy outcomes. The method holds promise for additional research to assess the impact of individual coaches, as well as better understand why and how coaches matter.

Research contact: crberry@uchicago.edu

Nike sales have soared 31% since start of Kaepernick campaign

September 13, 2018

When Nike “just did it” early in September, many Americans, from the president to the buying public, thought that the company might take a stumble in the marketplace.

What the footwear and apparel manufacturer was doing could only be characterized as extremely controversial—creating an advertising campaign around the personality and politics of Colin Kaepernick, the athlete who first “took a knee” to protest that #Black Lives Matter  during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at an NFL game

However, according to a September 10 report by NBC News, Nike sales jumped by 31%—nearly one-third—after debuting quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick as a new company spokesman.

What’s more, market observers say  that the president’s public displays of anger may have backfired by drawing more attention to Nike.

“Controversial endorsements tend to generate a lot of hype,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for Retail at The NPD Group, a market research firm, told Martha White of NBC. “These kinds of statements and brand partnerships make for a big impact on brand selling.”

Specifically, according to data from Edison Trends, online sales of Nike products jumped 31 percent between the Sunday before and the Tuesday after Labor Day, nearly double last year’s 17% increase over the same time period.

Kaepernick—now a free agent, but a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers when he first started what became a league-wide protest—is part of Nike’s 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” tagline. A TV ad narrated by Kaepernick debuted Thursday on the opening night of the regular NFL season.

“Nike is a company that is focused on younger generations and expanding their market. This ad did that for them,” Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends, told NBC.

But if Trump is no stranger to controversy, neither is Nike. The company’s decision to use Kaepernick —who is currently claiming that the NFL colluded against his employment in a lawsuit, isn’t the first time the athletic apparel company has used its brand platform to advocate for a cause or push for social change. Previous ad campaigns have taken on AIDS, gender inequality, disabilities, religion, and other cultural flashpoints.

“The brand has a rich history of positioning itself as a progressive company that connects with its customers through conflict constructive conflict,” Pandya told NBC News.

Experts say that by continuing to insert himself into the ongoing debate regarding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, Trump may have inadvertently helped out Nike by criticizing the brand on Twitter.

Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump wrote last week, and video clips of people destroying Nike products quickly went viral. But contrary to Trump’s assertion, while calls for a boycott across social media dragged down the company’s stock immediately after the news broke, share prices have since recovered.

Drafting Kaepernick as a spokesman has more upside than downside risk for Nike, analysts say, because the company knows its customer base well. Market research from YouGov Plan and Track shows that 46% of Nike customers have a positive view of Kaepernick, compared to 34 % of all Americans. YouGov also found a 10 percentage point increase in the number of Nike customers versus the general public who say a company should take a stand on social issues and have a “moral message.”

“The company understands societal trends and its customer demographics better than most,” Edison Trends’ Pandya said. “It’s a calculated risk, but one that our data shows has had a positive impact so far in terms of online sales.”

“In this case, controversy is a good thing to their target market,” NPD’s Cohen said. “Consumers who are most likely to shop online, and shop athletic apparel and footwear, are very much in tune with the movement and the willingness for a mega-brand to stand up against the establishment.”

Research contact: @MarthaCWhite

NFL boycotters are split on notion of ‘taking a knee’

January 10, 2018

Throughout this 2017 NFL season, television ratings have declined and fans, TV pundits, and reporters have speculated why. Was it the protests of players during the national anthem that caused viewers to turn their sets off and ticket holders to empty their stadium seats?

Now, a survey from SurveyMonkey and Ozy Media, shared first with Yahoo Finance, finds that 33% of NFL fans boycotted the league this year—but not entirely because they were outraged by the player protests.

In fact, the researchers say, it was nearly 50:50. Half boycotted specifically in support of protest originator and free agent Colin Kaepernick (and/or demonstrations by his fellow players) and half boycotted in support of President Trump, who vocally opposed the protests.

The survey, released on January 8, was conducted among a national sample of 1,726 adults. It found that 1,233 of those people identified as football fans.

The survey then asked the football fans: “Did you purposely stop watching or attending NFL games this season for any reason?” One-third of respondents said yes.

That group, which the survey labeled as boycotters, was asked why, and was given multiple options. They answered as follows:

  • 32% said they stopped watching or attending NFL games in support of Donald Trump;
  • 22% said they did so in solidarity with players kneeling;
  • 13% said they had no interest in the teams playing;
  • 12% said they boycotted in support of Colin Kaepernick; and
  • 11% said they had distanced themselves from the sport because of news about traumatic brain injuries among players.

Another 8% said “games are boring” and 46% chose “some other reason.”

The results also show an interesting difference between male and female respondents: More men said they turned away from the NFL in support of Trump (35% to 25%), while more women said they did it in support of the players who took to their knees (30% to 17%) or in support of Kaepernick (17% to 10%).

The polling organizations note that there’s a nuance to consider here: Although it’s likely fair to assume that support of Kapernick is the same as support of the protests, it’s possible that there are people who were outraged that no team signed Kaepernick, but were also outraged by the player protests.

Similarly, it’s possible that some people do not like the protests but also do not like Trump’s constant attacks on the NFL. (In a Seton Hall University poll in November,71% of respondents said Trump should “stay out of it.”)

Research contact: @readDanwrite