SBD/Issue 235/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

NFL Net Emphasizes Ad-Buyer Fantasy League In Lieu Of Upfronts

With the NFL Network canceling its upfront event this year for the first time in three years, the channel has decided to place even more emphasis on a fantasy football league that's made up of 16 of the top ad-buying agencies. The NFL is hosting a fantasy football draft party Thursday night at the Edison Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan that will have much of the glitz that had previously been reserved for its upfront event. NFL Network talent like Warren Sapp will be on hand, as will former N.Y.-area NFLers, including Ray Lucas, Harry Carson and Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson. This is the fourth year that the NFL has hosted a fantasy football league for media buying agencies, and it will be by far the biggest draft day event, with around 200 attendees expected. "It puts us top of mind with media buyers as they make decisions about where to place media dollars," said NFL VP/Media Sales David Pattillo. "Everybody is into fantasy. We thought it would be cool to get these guys into a room and execute a real draft. ... It's a good way to build relationships." NFL Network executives are calling this year's event especially critical, given the amount of ad inventory available in the fourth quarter scatter market. "Seventy percent of our revenue is in fourth and first quarter," Pattillo said. "This will help drive sales for NFL Net and" MediaEdge: CIA won last year's league, which gave the agency the opportunity to play a flag football game in Central Park last April against NFL ad sales executives and former players like Carl Banks and Wayne Chrebet. NFL Films filmed the game and edited a highlight reel.

Universal McCann
Busch Media
Horizon Media
Wieden + Kennedy
RJ Palmer
GM Media
Mediaedge: CIA
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