SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Forty Under 40

Peter Murray

PETER MURRAY, NFL

BY DANIEL KAPLAN
STAFF WRITER

If an NFL fan sometime this past season received an e-mail or direct-mail pitch from home lender Ameriquest to take out a loan, he can either thank — or blame — Peter Murray.

Peter Murray
• Age: 37
• Title: Vice president, partnership marketing and corporate sales
• League: NFL
• Education: B.A., Iona College, 1989
• Family: Wife, Terri; daughters Amanda, 7, and Grace, 7 months
• Career: Advertising account executive, Young & Rubicam, New York, 1989-1993; advertising account director, Bates USA, 1994-1995; senior marketing manager, NFL Films, 1996-1998; director of marketing and sales, NFL Films, 1999-2000; vice president of corporate media sales, NFL, 2000-2002; named to current position in 2003
• Last vacation: Amagansett on the east end of Long Island
• Last book read: "Blood on the Street" by Charles Gasparino
• Last movie seen: "Sideways"
• Greatest disappointment: Not being able to fulfill 99 percent of the Super Bowl ticket requests that I receive
• Fantasy job: Feature film director
• Executive most admired: Jack Welch, former CEO of GE
• Business advice: When creating partnerships, understand sponsors' metrics of success and commit to helping them achieve a return on investment.
Murray is not a banker. Far from it. But his job is to know what NFL sponsors, which last year included Ameriquest, need to help increase their sales and exposure.

For the first-time league sponsor, that included access to the NFL’s voluminous database that includes questions to fans about whether they were in the market for a mortgage. While sponsorship of the Super Bowl halftime show is great and offered valued brand exposure to Ameriquest, so did thousands of names of potential borrowers.

“It’s more than just a one-dimensional trademark association” deal, Murray said. “We are able to look at our fan base, and through some database assets we have, help [Ameriquest] acquire new qualified mortgage leads.”

Ameriquest is just one example of the new path Murray is forging for the league as vice president of partnership marketing and corporate sales. Gone are the days of companies being content with slapping their logos on events or simply running ads touting the NFL tie.

Today, Murray talks about return on investment and brand metrics, a way to measure a sponsorship return. Take the Ameriquest deal. Both the league and the company have been measuring the brand enhancement from the alliance, and if it doesn’t match expectations, the one-year deal will not be renewed.

“In our industry sometimes [leagues and teams] don’t spend enough time understanding the business objectives of their sponsors,” said Tony Wells, vice president of event and sponsorship marketing at Visa, a longtime NFL sponsor, which recently renewed its deal through 2010. But Murray has stepped up the NFL’s focus on helping sponsors achieve their business objectives, Wells said.

The NFL is better able to execute this since three different marketing and sponsorship departments were consolidated into one unit, reporting to Murray.

Previously the departments that handled finding new sponsors, servicing existing sponsors and developing promotional platforms for these companies were separate.

But six months ago, Murray changed that.

“We finally got to a place where we are effectively integrating and bundling our assets in the marketplace,” he said.

What’s next for Murray, whose unit saw revenue rise 40 percent last year? Filling the consumer electronics, fast-food and wireless sponsorship categories are high on his agenda.

As is selling for the first time since 1997 what are called in-game enhancements to sponsors, which could include titling the first-down line. That brings Murray back to where he started with the NFL, when he arrived at NFL Films after a career in the ad business.

His NFL Films experience included selling those enhancements, until the 1998 media deals ended them. They are back in the new contracts with Fox and CBS starting in 2006.

“Looking ahead at the future, it is an exciting time at the NFL in that we are evolving more and more into a media company, with the launch of the 24/7 [NFL Network], with our online capacity, nfl.com,” he said. “And through other extensions like the publishing areas … through satellite radio and emerging opportunities in wireless.”

Wherever the business takes Murray, one thing is certain: He will be pumping the NFL’s, and his sponsors’, brands.

Back to 2005 Forty Under 40 list.

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