Coming from the US where NFL is universally known and an extremely high-profile brand, Sarah Swanson had to adjust to the fact that in the UK it was suddenly a challenger brand, so the focus and approach needed adapting. “The strength of the NFL in the US means that we protect our brand and our partners in the brand very carefully in order to protect our value. In the UK, we are a challenger and, thus, we are able to – and in fact must – be more creative to grow awareness, gain cut-through and get people excited.” The company is working on partnerships with brands such as burger chain Five Guys in the UK and exploring whether to take the next leap into establishing a team in London.
Biggest challenge: “Measuring fandom. We can’t just look to sales figures or TV and digital consumption to understand our growth; fandom is more personal than that. How does someone become a fan? What does that actually mean? How long does it take? We spend a lot of time working through those questions.”