|Marc Reeves- International Commercial Director, NFL|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 20 August 2012 11:38
Marc Reeves is the International Commercial Director of the NFL, where he oversees marketing, fan development, sponsorship and commercial efforts for the league outside of the US.
Under his leadership, the league has increased its international sponsorship base by over 60%. He has launched numerous fan engagement initiatives including global Super Bowl viewing events, NFL Experience on Tour and a social media “Fanbassador” program.
Prior to joining the NFL, Marc was a Vice President of IMG’s Consulting division, responsible for client management and West Coast business development. He oversaw and managed numerous corporate client accounts, including Visa, Electronic Arts, Kia Motors, 2K Sports, 24 Hour Fitness, Crown Plaza Hotels and Safeco Insurance.
He advised companies in global strategic direction and marketing activation around various sports and entertainment properties, including the FIFA World Cup, Olympics, Rugby World Cup, NFL, MLB, NBA and NASCAR, as well as numerous music and lifestyle events.
Marc also worked on the development and implementation of strategic sports and entertainment marketing initiatives for DHL, Wells Fargo, McDonald’s, Intel, Target and Sega, among others.
Prior to joining the consulting division, Marc was responsible for business development efforts of IMG owned properties including the US Open of Surfing, Sony Ericsson Open, Bank of the West Classic, Battle at Bighorn, Mervyn’s Beach Bash and Deutsche Bank Championship.
In addition, he was an initiating leader in the growth and development of emerging business areas of IMG, including Action Sports, Video Gaming and Digital Marketing.
Marc’s previous work experience includes the NFL Players Association, where he advised players and agents on salary cap and marketing issues, the New Orleans Saints, assisting on various football operations and marketing projects, and ProServ, where he worked in the Tennis Client Management division.
By Ismail Uddin
What are your responsibilities as International Commercial Director of the NFL?
I lead the fan development, marketing and sponsorship business for the National Football League outside the United States. It has been great so far. We have a long way grow, but we have a lot of great traction throughout the sport and a lot of positive factors that indicates that our fan base and interest is growing around the world.
You were previously the Vice President of IMG, what prompted you to make the change to the NFL?
The chance to do something that no one had had a chance to do before. This is the first time they have hired an International Commercial Director. Our best asset is our great product and the ability to share it to more people is a great opportunity.
What are the main similarities and differences from moving to the NFL from IMG?
Both are world class sports industry leaders, and have an first-class and innovative approach to their respective businesses. Part of my role at IMG was leading VISA’s global sponsorship business and working across other world class properties, including the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Olympics. It was about understanding the global sports fanbase, and finding ways to emotionally connect with them, which is similar to my role today. However, at an agency, you are always in the middle of deals, presenting ideas to somebody or trying to get yourself included in a deal. On the property side, one has the opportunity to direct movement and activities, which I very much enjoy. That said, I was very proud to be IMG employee for nine years and am very proud to be an NFL employee. And I’ve learned a massive amount from both experiences.
What’s the next stage to grow the brand internationally?
The brand is only relevant if we have people who know what the brand is. Ultimately, it all starts with growing our fan base. Then, with our casual fans, we want them to become more interested, understand the game more and get more avid. Then, for avid fans, service them the best way we can and let them consume it.
In terms of expanding the brand, it is about finding new ways to deliver the NFL product so that any fan anywhere in the world will be able to watch and access the NFL. Having said that, we have five markets that we are very focused on and it is very important for us to continue to develop those markets and deliver a great product for them. Hopefully, those fans will receive the benefit of more NFL activity.
How much commercial value has the NFL game in London provided?
The shift was made six years ago, where we made the move to bring a regular season game to London, rather than to continue with NFL Europe/World League. The genesis of that decision was that there were a good number of sports fans in the UK who are NFL fans, but what they were getting was not the authentic NFL product. They wanted the real thing.
So, while it is no small feat to deliver a regular season game overseas, it has proven out to be very successful. When we started, we were eighteenth in terms of viewership in Sky and we are now up to the seventh most watched sport. We are up to over 2 million avid fans here. And we have seen significant growth in corporate partnerships and all of our measured trending factors across the business.
Does the use of perimeter advertising at the London game create more commercial value?
Absolutely. It is an interesting and unique asset because you don’t have it in the US. The only brands you see in a typical NFL game are the ones on the kit, which is now Nike (beginning with this season), the Gatorade behind the benches and we had had Motorola on the coaches’ headsets.
Despite all of the significant growth in the UK, there is still much larger audience in the US that consumes the games, so the brands that buy the LED boards by and large are spending those dollars to influence consumers in the US, UK and across the globe. For our commercial team, the challenge is to make certain that we maintain a balance of brands focused on the global TV audience, whilst making sure that we have proper activation from those brands in the UK market.