Tony Dungy is known for his time as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts where he led the team to win Super Bowl XLI, but at a recent fundraiser, he shared his experience during the 1977 NFL Draft. After being a star running back for the University of Minnesota, he anxiously awaited a phone call from an NFL team, only to learn he hadn’t been drafted. (He eventually entered the NFL as a free agent.)
Times sure have changed since 1977! Now, prior to the Draft, there’s in-depth analysis of the potential first-round picks and fans have their favorites before the Draft unfolds in real time on TV or streaming online.
The NFL has made the Draft more than just about teams selecting players. Our Capture Sports Marketing team members who attended noticed an effort by the NFL to expand its reach and build goodwill through making the Draft a more interactive experience.
Players’ Reputations & Engagement:
Of course, athletic abilities are a must to even be considered in the Draft, but the NFL is taking a hard look at potential players’ reputations. It’s taking into consideration inappropriate behavior, whether on social media or otherwise, and noticing players’ existing community involvement.
The NFL engaged fans who weren’t in Dallas for the Draft, providing online opportunities for fans to participate in a mock draft, predict picks and cast a fan ballot. For those coming in from around the country, the NFL increased unique experiences in the area, providing free non-contact football clinics, virtual fitness stations, football-themed obstacle courses, free autograph sessions and more.
Wanting to make an impact beyond the AT&T Stadium, the NFL made an effort to give back in the Dallas. It sponsored activities like players talking to young athletes about the value of leadership, teamwork and character. It also encouraged the community to give back. An example is the Arlington ISD Community Quarterback High School Football Volunteer Challenge, which encouraged high school football teams to execute service projects during the week of the Draft and then apply for grants to help them complete the projects.
Want to build a positive reputation, further activate your brand or start a community relations initiative? Contact us. We know how it’s done and are ready to help!