Angry Birds going for Touchdown with NFL tie-in
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Recently the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles partnered with the popular mobile game, Angry Birds. While some may see this just as an opportunity for extra brand awareness for the two, it has the potential for more. This partnership is an explicit attempt by the Eagles to engage younger fans and create loyalty before these fans begin looking to games or a different media for their favourite means of entertainment.
Through this deal, there is a Philadelphia Eagles-themed Angry Birds game in development, creating opportunities to tie in the Eagles’ brand to a mobile game. Additionally, the screens at Eagles games will have Angry Bird-themed content, engaging the mobile game’s fans between plays.
The Eagles chose a game that has a mild connection to their mascot, but there are other connections that can be made between games and sports teams. Currently, the main ties between sports and mobile games are either third-party sporting games (EA Sports is a large provider that has the rights to produce games with the league’s brand along with the teams’ colours, names and logos), or athletes releasing their own mobile games that take an partial aspect of the sport they play (such as Christiano Ronaldo’s Heads up and Mike Tyson: Main Event). Most teams have mobile apps, but few have mobile games as well.
There are two options for brands wanting to further forge this connection between sports and mobile gaming for young fans. There is the option of collaborating and using the synergies between the brands (especially in getting initial trials by users) or take advantage of all-encompassing customisation by creating a new game for the sport brand. If a brand takes a similar partnership approach as the Eagles have done, they could play up loyalty by individualising the game toward fans, but have to be mindful of limitations the brand they are partnered with has in controlling their own brand consistency within the game. The option of creating a new game for the team eliminates the customisation limitations a partnership would cause. Since the number of mobile game options available for each sport is large, focusing on a certain part of the brand or sport is important, giving the user a unique, niche brand experience, such as the Chelsea Flick Kick mobile game.
Creating a connection between sport and other forms of entertainment is important as well. What other forms of entertainment besides mobile games do sporting teams have to compete with for younger fans? How can brands create synergies by partnering the two or take advantage of the form of media within and outside of the sport?’