NEW YORK The National Football League has expanded its fantasy football offering to create a deeper level of interactive engagement with fans.
For advertisers, the introduction of two new games and a blog section signals a change in how the league will work with them, giving partners more say in content creation from the get-go.
Diet Pepsi Max serves as presenting sponsor for the newly created "Playbook Challenge" and "Touchdown Challenge." The advertiser and league collaborated throughout the entire process -- and such combined efforts, though still rare, will increasingly be the norm, said Joe Carney, the NFL's director of media sales.
"Touchdown" challenges fans to pick one player each week with the goal of stringing together the longest touchdown streak. "Playbook" challenges consumers to select one quarterback, running back, wide receiver or tight end weekly and receive one point per yard accumulated.
The NFL and Diet Pepsi created synergies between the new games and the advertisers of the existing "Rookie of the Year" platform. Carney explained: "We integrated a double-point system into the game play for rookies -- with brand attribution -- to make Diet Pepsi a part of it to entice people to play rookies. That really connected the dots".
"Advertisers are getting tired of these archaic sponsorship models where they have no say and we've kind of read their minds. They've given us an indication that in order to be a part of this, they need to have a seat at the table," added Dave Pattillo, the league's vp of media sales.
"Playbook Challenge" also gives fans an opportunity to win a VIP trip to Super Bowl XLIII, providing advertisers with extended brand association.
Ron Furman, the NFL's svp of customer marketing and sales, said the league endeavors to go beyond standard metrics to provide deep research detailing people's engagement with the platform. "Not only do people come in the door, but they stay longer and consume more data [such as statistics]. They also consume that data in different places, like video, that we house on our site," he said.
"The time on the site, the lean-forward experience around those passionate users cannot be stressed enough. I think we have that constant connection to a repeat user over an entire season. So, you are continually messaging to them on that continuity basis," added Carney.