When you watch NFL games this season, you’ll notice all the coaches wearing headsets made by Bose. For the 2013 season, there was no headset sponsor, and for the 13 years before that, Motorola was paying $40 million per year for that right. Although the Bose sponsorship deal’s details were not disclosed, we can safely estimate Bose is paying in excess of Motorola’s amount. If an NFL season – including preseason and postseason – is about half the year, that means Bose is paying an estimated $2 million per week.
Here are the Bose headphones I own and use –
For working out – Bose SoundTrue In-Ear Headphones
Do NFL coaches influence headphones buyers?
Does this sponsorship make NFL viewers buy more Bose headphones? Who knows? How can we ever measure the efficacy of this kind of marketing? Are headphones purchasers influenced one way or another by the coaches wearing Bose headphones? Are people who don’t own headphones lining up to buy them now that they see their team’s coach using them? The NFL certainly has no problem selling ad space, so this advertising must be working for at least some companies, right?
NFL players, whether walking from the team bus to the locker rooms, or warming up on the field before the game, oftentimes listen to music on headphones. What’s become the go-to brand for these players? Beats. Originally called Beats by Dre, Apple bought the brand this year for $3 billion.
Bose headphones vs. Beats headphones
Arguably two of the top ten best-known players in the NFL (Richard Sherman & Colin Kaepernick) were recently fined $10,000 apiece for wearing Beats headphones. As part of the Bose sponsorship, the NFL is prohibiting NFL players from wearing any headphone brand aside from Bose. When the players were fined for this infraction, all the major sports news outlets wrote about it, and it’s suspected that the fine was paid on the players’ behalf by Beats. Why wouldn’t Beats want to pay the fine? Their company certainly received well in excess of $10,000 worth of advertising with the articles and accompanying pictures. One of the players (Colin Kaepernick) went as far as to wear a pair of Beats headphones in a postgame TV interview, obviously defiant.
How not to do marketing
So, if you’re keeping score at home, Bose has paid the NFL over $40 million this year (for the sponsorship) while Beats has paid the NFL $20,000 (in fines). Who has gotten the better press coverage and has the loyalty of its customers? Beats. Who looks like a bully as the result of the NFL rule enforcement? Bose. Although the NFL is the one imposing the fines, it’s on Bose’s behalf.
If you’re a potential customer of high-end headphones, would you be more apt to trust the brand paying the NFL so the coaches wear their headsets? Or would you trust the brand that has the loyalty of the players themselves?