Survey: NFL The ‘Most Powerful’ Sports League in U.S., Cowboys ‘Most Marketable’
Monday, September 11, 2017 at 09:16AM in Dallas Cowboys, E-Poll, MLB, NFL, NFL, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

September 10, 2017: The Dallas Cowboys may operate under the theory that they are America’s Team, but they are only tied for the fourth "most appealing" team in the NFL, behind the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals.

However, the Cowboys lead the NFL in brand loyalty, placing significantly ahead of the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.

The NFL itself tops all other U.S.-based sports leagues and organizations regarding marketing power, taking the No. 1 spot over (in order) MLB, UFC, WWE, NHL, NBA, Bellator MMA, NCAA, MLS and Nascar, according to a new report from E-Poll Market Research, based in Encino, Calif.

While facing such challenges as player health and safety, domestic violence, race relations and TV ratings, the NFL is still considered the "most entertaining sports organization in the U.S.," according to E-Poll.

Good news for NFL marketing partners: The league tied for the lead with MLB (32% each) among those people who said they "would try new products/services" associated with the NFL.

The NFL was also No. 1 among sports leagues in Awareness (74% among those surveyed), ahead of the NBA (69%), Nascar (67%) and MLB (65%); Entertaining (45%), ahead of MLB (41%), UFC (38%), WWE (38%) and the NHL (36%); Leadership (30%), ahead of the NCAA (28%), MLB (26%), NBA (25%) and Nascar (21%); and Appeal (44%), topping MLB (42%).

Concurrently, the NFL was not without its detractors. Among the complaints listed by E-Poll were the increasing costs and perceived greed of both owners and players and the dangerous nature of the game including recent concussion headlines.

MLB, in fact, was deemed twice as "family friendly" than the NFL (41% vs. 22%, respectively.

Comments about politics and national anthem protests were "notably less common," per E-Poll.

Athletes with the most appeal are topped by Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals), who currently is featured in a new marketing campaign from Bridgestone.

The Top Ten list of the league’s most appealing players also includes (in order) J.J. Watt (Houston Texans), Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Jordy Nelson (Green Packers), Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders), Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), Aaron Rodgers (Green Nay Packers), Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) and Rob Growkowski (New England Patriots).

However, the list changes when based on awareness, accord to E-Poll.

Here, Tom Brady of the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots is far ahead of his peers.

QBs dominate this list, with Brady joined in the Top Ten by Eli Manning (New York Giants), Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Drew Brees (Saints), Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) and Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts).

In addition, three quarterbacks who are currently free agents would have made the top ten Awareness list: Colin Kaepernick (44%), Johnny Manziel (36%) and Robert Griffin III (34%).

The two non-QBs: Gronkowski and Richard Sherman (Seahawks).

The list also is different based on E-Poll’s E-Score, defined as a rating metric used to to determine a celebrity’s value with consumers to help guide marketing efforts.

Here, Brees is No. 1 (with an E-Score of 89), followed by Rodgers (87, pictured in a new commercial from State Farm), Watt (85), Fitzgerald (80), Carr (78), Gronkowski (77) and Prescott of the (74).

Overall, the NFC is slightly more appealing than the AFC with its teams averaging an Appeal score of 19.75% versus the AFC’s 17.47%.

The NFL’s three most appealing teams are in the NFC: the New Orleans Saints (27%), Green Bay Packers (26%) and Arizona Cardinals (24%) and Cowboys (23%).

But Jerry Jones’ team is first in Brand Loyalty (64%), topping the Panthers (57%), Vikings (55%), Redskins (51%), Saints (46%), New York Giants (46%) and Detroit Lions (46%).

According to E-Poll, that disparity is driven by the “polarized reaction they produce and their larger number of detractors.”

There is a tie at the top for the most appealing AFC team between the Patriots (23%), the defending champs and winners of two of the last three Super Bowls (XLIX and LI), and the Denver Broncos (23%) who won Super Bowl 50.

Two recently relocated franchises have the lowest Appeal of all NFL teams, the former St. Louis and now Los Angeles Rams (13%) and the Chargers (12%), who moved from San Diego to Los Angles, “suggesting the early risks of relocation to a team’s fan base.”

NFL, Marketing Partners Hit The Gridiron Running For 2017 Season

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