Verizon Sponsors NFL 2012 Draft Dream Sweepstakes

The US mobile telecoms provider offered three fans the opportunity to announce picks in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft through its sponsorship of the league’s Draft Dream Sweepstakes.


Part of Verizon’s role as presenting sponsor of NFL Network’s three-day Draft coverage, the brand offers its customers the chance to be a Draft Day Insider and announce a draft pick live on stage at the 2012 NFL Draft in New York’s Radio City Music Hall.


In total 34 fans will make announcements for their teams. As well as the Verizon Sweepstakes winners and fellow sponsor Bud Light’s Ultimate Fan competition winner, each NFL team in the league also selected a fan (most through local sponsor activation) to announce one of their picks.


Verizon Mobile customers could enter the sweepstakes by text, or via a toll free number, or in person at kiosks in select Verizon Wireless locations across the country. The winners were selected through a random drawing.


In addition to actually announcing picks, winning the NFL Verizon Dream Draft Sweepstakes meant a full VIP Draft trip that includes a four day, three night trip for two to New York.


Verizon’s NFL partnership also gives the company the rights to stream NFL Network coverage to its mobile phone users and this includes exclusive live Draft mobile coverage via NFL Mobile as well as updates and announcements on the official Verizon Wireless Draft Twitter Feed.


The mobile brand will also have on-air signage throughout the Draft coverage and is also leveraging its position as the co-presenting sponsor on NFL.com (which includes mock drafts and mobile integration).


This is a competition worth winning for NFL fans and Verizon customers, so despite the lack of exciting engagement and creativity within the actual competition entry process it is certain to attract a great deal of interest.


Of course Verizon isn’t the only NFL partner to activate around the Draft, other NFL partners including Bud Light and EA are investing heavily in leveraging their rights around the event.


EA’s ‘Madden NFL’ cover athlete, the nearest thing that the US sporting world has to Time Magazine’s ‘Person Of The Year’, was unveiled in Times Square the day before the Draft to leverage interest around the event and maximise exposure for the latest version of America’s biggest selling sports computer game.


The two new NFL on-field licensees, Nike and New Era, are also running integrated campaigns around and at the Draft. Their products are featured at the NFL’s 12,000-square-foot pop-up store throughout the Draft month of April. Furthermore, a red-carpet style event on Draft day will start at the store.


During the Draft itself, Nike’s new NFL jerseys will be customized on-site for presentation as each player selected takes the Radio City Music Hall stage.


Another major event in the lead up to Thursday’s first round Draft was an NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival backed by new NFL hot cereal partner Quaker Oats. See earlier post here.


There was further local marketing support in New York includes taxi toppers, subway signage, street pole banners and bus sides.

ESPN’s draft coverage is being sponsored by Bud Light and includes draft crawls, fan questions from the Bud Light Facebook page and interviews from the Bud Light Blue Room. Other ESPN draft sponsors include GM, Nike, AT&T, Axe, Fiat, Geico, Jim Beam and Samsung.


Teams have their own Draft events too and each franchise own local sponsors get in on the act.


For example, The New York Jets held a Draft Day Party at Metlife Stadium on Thursday with free admission, big screen Draft coverage, appearances by Jets players and the team’s Flight Crew cheerleaders, as well as on-field kid-aimed Jets Fest and photo opportunities.


The 2012 Jets Draft Party was sponsored by New Era and team backers The New York Daily News, Pepsi Max, Toyota and Verizon.




This impressive increase in sponsor attention and activation is because the Draft has become a major event in its own right in recent years.


It has come a long way from when it was just an administrative function staged in a hotel meeting and is now in its third year as a prime time TV melodrama.


2012 has seen more sponsor activation than ever before – perhaps not surprising as viewing figures and demand for tickets (while not at Super Bowl levels) have reached impressive new heights.


The NFL has worked hard to make the event into something that fans (and thus sponsors) really want to be part of). The event has become more entertaining and exciting (even when the initial first picks are telegraphed well in advance) as well as being open and accessible to both consumers and corporate partners.


How the major European football leagues, particularly the English Premier League (and its principle broadcast partner Sky) would love to be able to build their own ‘transfer window deadline day’ into such an attractive and marketable showpiece.





















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