Friday, October 12, 2007

NFL's Lack of Parity & Associated Business Application

Writer Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek writes in the September 24th issue about early season ratings for ESPN and NBC's primetime National Football League telecasts being down about 15 percent from a season ago ( Weak matchups, he says, appear to be part of the problem. I would argue the weak matchups aren't limited to evening hours. You're seeing it throughout the league every weekend in most games. Take for instance the American Football Conference Eastern Division, now dominated by everyone's perrennial Super Bowl pick New England. The Patriots are undefeated in the first five games and haven't been challenged by any of their opponents. Yet the three other teams in their division (Buffalo, NY Jets and Miami) have won two games COMBINED. Several other division leaders in both conferences have near .500 records. At least for this season, "the parity's over" in the NFL. As a result, the overall quality and caliber of play in the League also suffers. This threatens to erode fan interest if this trend continues.

This lack of competitiveness got me thinking that while marketing and PR professionals complain about how difficult it is to stay on top and be innovative, the alternative is to become irrelevant and have potential customers lose interest in your product. It compels each of us to rise above the mediocrity we see within our industries and sometimes within our organizations. What can we do to differentiate ourselves? How can we, as author Andy Sernovitz, writes in his book Word of Mouth Marketing, create a topic about what we do to enhance and prolong the conversation about what makes our organization, our industry great. We should even prod our competitors to do so the same so we can all elevate our industry in the minds of our customers. Something to think about.

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