The league partners with DirecTV on its “NFL Sunday Ticket” pay-TV package, and when DirecTV signs up a subscriber it must share the email address with the NFL. The NFL can’t send marketing to the email but can match to its DMP data and potentially improve that audience profile.
Barclays, a league sponsor, can use NFL audience data to improve targeting and frequency capping on campaigns, Jones said. And the video game company EA, which produces the “Madden NFL” video game series, uses NFL data to dynamically serve, say, New York Giants fans ads featuring Odell Beckham Jr. while New England Patriots supporters would see Tom Brady.
The increased data intake, ecommerce and merchandise sales in particular, have also helped the NFL attribute value to its marketing that otherwise would be lost. By connecting on the back end when someone makes a purchase, passing along email and transaction information, Jones said the league can tie campaigns to conversions even if ads don't get much click-through.
The NFL and other sports marketers are trying to figure out exactly how valuable these data-driven sponsorship extensions are.
“Some think it’s negligible and some think it’s more valuable than the immediate sponsorship,” Jones said, but clubs aren’t waiting to put the tactics to use in deals of their own.