The NFLPA Rookie Premiere took place last weekend in Los Angeles where more than 40 rookies came together and received a weekend of exposure to what the business of being a professional football player is all about. Over the next few days we will be posting experiences and interviews from the event. Make sure to check back for updates.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — There’s an old saying that goes, “Content is king.” In today’s digital era where brand building, consumer engagement, and a vast sea of outlets available to push content exist, that adage rings truer than ever. This development was not lost on the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) when it launched Athlete Content and Entertainment (ACE Media) in late September, 2015 as a means of leveraging exclusive group player rights and access to produce compelling sports-lifestyle content focused on athletes. After a little over a half a year in existence, the new business continues to find ways to develop player brands in new and exiting ways off the field.
Speaking about the opportunity, NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI) President Ahmad Nassar detailed how ACE Media provides opportunities for players from the bottom to the top of the roster, “We’re trying to build toward an ecosystem where no matter who you are, the star quarterback or wide receiver or guy that just got promoted off the practice squad, there’s something for you.”
That approach is built off the ability to be highly specific when targeting consumers with content these days. With the proliferation of platforms and channels dedicated to specific subject matter, it’s easier than ever for athletes to leverage their interests with targeted consumers in the marketplace. “With Twitter and all the social media opportunities, the micro appearances and niche audiences have made it easier for us to do our job. We just have to take advantage of it and deliver the opportunities to the players,” said Nassar.
The ability to focus on brand building and storytelling that isn’t tied to the sport has led to the creation of unique and interesting partnerships. “We’ve been able to focus on individual projects that cross every genre and every platform, such as a dating show for E!, a pilot for a wedding show for VH1, as well as opportunities for cooking shows, real estate, fashion, feature films and TV,” said Scott Langerman, CEO of ACE Media. Utilizing players in these non-traditional ways not only has the potential to benefit the individual athlete by exposing them to new consumers, but the cross-over appeal could also increase the NFL’s audience by expanding the pool of viewers tuning into games during the season.
With ACE Media empowering athletes off the field, there’s a natural opportunity to reach out to other player’s unions in other sports to expand on what’s been successful. As Langerman stated, “Our theory has always been that if this works in football, there is no reason it wouldn’t in baseball, basketball, Australian rules football, cricket, you name it. I’ve been surprised at how receptive and interested other players’ association have been.”
As ACE Media continues to grow, there’s no telling where your favorite athlete may pop up next, which is precisely the point.