NFL begins search for new head of global operations
I have a lucky week. First of all, I needed a huge night off the Bears offense to win a fantastic game on Monday, and I got it. This morning, a doctor started the appointment *early.* What would be the odds of that bet?
The NFL and search consultant Nolan Partners have launched a formal search to replace Damani Leech, the former international COO who became Broncos president in August. The new position is called ‘Senior Vice President/Head of International’ and will report to Peter O’Reilly, Executive Vice President/Club Affairs, Events and International.
On the org chart, the position looks like Leech’s role. But the job description suggests the league is aiming high and foreshadows a much bigger global operation in the future. They are looking for someone with “a proven track record leading a global organization and growing a significant part of the operations and/or business.” COO or CEO experience preferred.
The focus is on the challenge of building high-performing teams in specific countries while remaining closely tied to the NFL’s core strategy, with major tasks in both strategic growth and day-to-day operations.
Over the years, the NFL has varied its approach to the international at the executive level. Longtime executive Mark Waller held the title of “Executive Vice President/International” from 2014 to 2018. Before that, Waller was CMO, but there was a Senior Vice President/International under him (Chris Parsons) . After Waller’s departure, chief strategy officer Chris Halpin took over, but then placed Leech a few months later as chief operating officer.
It might be tempting to write off big gains in the Jets’ social media metrics as an inevitable outcome of the win. But there’s a big difference between riding at the back of the field and really thriving. For the Jets, they point to a complete overhaul that began two seasons ago due to their increased social and digital engagement.
At the end of the 2-14 pandemic slog of 2020, the Jets’ content team rebooted and performed a ‘very thorough dive audit’ on their social work, said Senior VP/Communications and Content Eric Gelfand. It was an all-hands effort, including input from NFL Senior Vice President/Social and Influencer Marketing Ian Trombetta and his team. “We decided we had to lean into New York, lean into being fun and entertaining, and be simple and straightforward,” Gelfand said. “We had to increase our volume – you need to have a pretty steady stream to have an impact.”
On the pitch, the 2021 campaign hasn’t been much better. But with the new social strategy, the drop in activity the Jets usually see once the season begins has been mitigated, Gelfand said. People stayed even as the losses piled up, in part because the Jets’ social flow had an energy and voice it lacked in previous years.
This year, it’s hitting the dirt on wages. Some statistics:
- 74% growth in Twitter followers in the first five weeks of the season
- Total social media impressions up 59%
- Total number of subscribers increased by 184%
Additionally, on the Jets’ own digital space, the team’s total pageview growth outpaced league growth by 12%. Pure volume is a driver of this activity: the Jets have gone from 32nd in 2020 in total social post volume to the top 5 in the league today, Gelfand said.
There is a flywheel effect to victory, of course. A better team means more points, happier players and more fun. In the dark days there weren’t many quarterbacks doing the GriddyWhere cornerbacks wearing Cheeseheads at the Lambeau ground. But the new social strategy gives social/digital team workers the freedom to make the most of those moments, and make their own. “The artistic part is the creativity, the freedom that the team now has to do more engaging, more fun things,” Gelfand said.
The NFL returns to London on Sunday for the Broncos-Jaguars. As the league seeks to make its overseas presence more of a permanent thing than an occasional special event, it will need to change some UK and European behaviors, says Jason Thomas, CEO of wireless payment systems provider Tappit. cash which can also give users customer information from the obtained data.
While American football tends to be the centerpiece of a full-day experience, European football fans are more likely to center their day around a pub, hitting the stadium and quickly returning to the end of a game. The average per cap, Thomas said, is as low as $5 in Europe, a fraction of typical on-site spending in the United States that exceeds $100.
“If you really want to build a European-style league, they’re definitely going to have to increase that average spend, increase that dwell time, and not just bring them in from the pub and back,” Thomas said. Designing and customizing a stadium experience will be key, he said.
Tappit has worked with the Chiefs and the NFL’s SoFi Stadium.
- Liberty Media and the hedge fund Baupost Group have invested in the 33rd teamthe football analytics content company founded by former NFL team managers Mike Tannenbaum and Joe Banner.
- Ohio will be the fourth most populous state to allow online sports betting when the state launches on January 1, and although Bally’s has rights to a sportsbook at the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium, it will start with just one. lounge and hopes the NFL will eventually ease restrictions on on-site betting, note Bill King of SBJ. Elsewhere, the Bengals have partnered with Betfred (but have not applied for a retail sportsbook license) and BetRivers will open a location at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village.
- Rosenhaus Sports has increased both the number of clients and employees, as college football players can now have marketing agents and endorsement deals, and the agency now has seven NFLPA-certified agents and five dedicated employees. to NIL representation work, notes SBJ’s Liz Mullen.
- Legends and investment firm 777 Partners make joint bid to operate Maracanã Stadium in Brazil, sources tell my colleague Chris Smithand a win could give American businesses the chance to host non-soccer events at the historic Rio site — potentially even the NFL.
- Commanders Chief Creative & Digital Officer Will Misselbrook said of the process of the team during the name change“It was a word with which we could score and be more than just a football team. If your team name is an animal, you are somehow limited. It allowed us to enter a space much bigger – in media, food, fashion, pop culture and music.
- In keeping with the theme of sustainability and recycling, SBJ’s editorial cartoon focused on QB’s situation in DC and Denver.