The NFL and Fox Hope to Score With Their New ‘Football Families’ Initiative

Put greater focus on family and communal viewing

Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck moderated a Fox NFL town hall for Advertising Week today with panelists that included executives from Fox Networks Group and the NFL along with a certain Hall of Famer and current Fox NFL Sunday analyst. The panel discussed how the NFL and Fox can engage the sport's passionate fan base across both linear and digital platforms.

"Millennials are a two-screen generation," said Dawn Hudson, evp and chief marketing officer for the NFL. "They'll watch the game on the big screen, but they also follow the action on another screen. And it's important that advertisers are aware of that. American fans also view advertising as part of the game."

Fox Networks Group president Randy Freer and FNG Advance Advertising Products president Joe Marchese touted America's Game of the Week as the most-watched and highest-rated show on TV. The network's first nationally televised game of the season, the New York Giants vs. the Dallas Cowboys, drew 27.5 million total viewers and had a 9.4 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. 

Hudson and Freer brought up the increase in female viewers in recent years—the average TV audience for an NFL game broadcast is 45 percent female—as well as a greater focus on family and communal viewing. 

That includes a joint initiative between Fox and the NFL called "Football Families." Beginning in Week 6 of the season, the network and league will send a family to their first NFL game. Fox will continue the promotion for nine NFL Sundays during the regular season, with each winning family getting featured on their local Fox affiliate and Fox's national broadcast.

But the man of the hour was Michael Strahan, a legendary New York Giant who's perhaps better known these days for being TV's busiest man. He's currently a co-host of Good Morning America and an Emmy-nominated analyst for the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show. Strahan talked about how he was able to parlay his success in the NFL to television.

"It really started during my playing days," he said. "I learned how to work the system. I made clear to the writers and reporters that hounded me every day that I primarily wanted to talk about things outside of football. I know I gave them unique and unpredictable answers, not bland ones that many other players provide them with. That's sort of how I built my reputation with the media. Playing in New York didn't hurt either."