How the NFL should use Behavioral Targeting

NFL POPCORNThis past weekend the NFL offered free access to their new ‘all access’ channel RedZone, which is a football lover/ADD sufferer’s dream channel. It jumps around to every game where there is something significant happening (i.e. touchdown, turnover, team driving for a score, etc.). The allure of this channel is that there are no commercials, just action.

nfl-redzone-logoBut in the NFL’s ever continuing quest to make more money, I wonder how long it will take before they start interrupting play with advertising. They’ve sold RedZone by telling viewers there are no commercials, but that wouldn’t preclude them from putting sponsorship information on screen, would it?

Which made me think – based on situational events in football games, could they behaviorally target sponsorship information to viewers based on the action on the field? I call it ‘Situational Sponsorship’.

Here’s how it would work. In the NFL there are always things you can count on happening: Hard tackles, touchdown/victory celebrations, and gratuitous food/crowd shots among others (see: T.O. eating popcorn at top of post). So, the NFL could sell these ‘situations’ as media placements during games. Here are a few more ideas:

The NFL always has its share of injuries. The bigger the star (or injury) the longer they stay on the action. The viewer can’t help but think health at the time, so why not sell a portion of the screen to insurance companies?

The NFL can leverage some of its bigger-than-life personalities. You can’t tell me that every time you see Michael Vick, you don’t still think of his arrest for dog fighting. Some celebrities are more famous for their off-the-field behavior, so why not take advantage of what we’re all thinking in the first place?

When your team doesn’t win, it’s natural to feel a little down. The NFL provides fans with a full range of emotions. And I don’t think fans are looking for a bridge to jump off of when their team loses, but some people don’t exactly take bad news well. And with the shocking rate that people are turning to prescription drugs, it provides a great opportunity for companies like Pfizer to remain top-of-mind.

Come to think of it, in this new era of TIVO and PVRs, I’m surprised this isn’t already being done with regular programming. Forget product placement, where is situational sponsorship?

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