For anyone who has ever played a game of Madden NFL, chances are you have at one point in time dreamed about running a play in the video game in real life for your favorite NFL franchise. That may still have to be a dream for many, but a select few Madden NFL gamers may soon be signing contracts with NFL franchises.
According to Bloomberg, at least three NFL franchises are considering offering a contract to some of the top Madden NFL pros to represent their franchise at Madden tournaments. The move makes sense, as fans of the Madden NFL franchise are clearly fans of the league, so these teams would be selling their brand to fans already interested in the sport. And with eSports getting more opportunities to be showcased on television, the extra exposure can be a good way to sell a new jersey look and keep that logo in front of as many eyeballs, for whatever value that is worth to the franchises.
Which three NFL teams are showing interest in the possibility, however, has not been reported.
“I don’t know why teams wouldn’t [pursue this]”, EA Sports competitive-gaming division head Peter Moore told Bloomberg. “It feels like a very small expense for what seems to get a large amount of publicity.”
The idea likely would be to outfit gamers in the newest jersey designs or in the particular jersey of a key or new player, say a top draft pick or top free agent acquisition. And any time a team changes jerseys, getting an opportunity to put that new look in front of an attentive audience is good for business. How much would ultimately be gained in the financial side of things is best left to the business analysts who will break down such data, but it seems pretty obvious that having your logo out there as much as possible is typically a good strategy to employ.
This is not a unique idea, although it is rare in North America. English Premier League clubs Manchester City and West Ham United have each signed professional gamers who have excelled in FIFA. These gamers now wear jerseys provided by their respective clubs, offering a chance to advertise the team to a cross-segment of fans with similar interests in an industry the team may not be that closely associated with in a formal way until now. VfL Wolfsburg has done the same in Germany.
So keep on gaming, and you too may soon sign a contract with your favorite NFL team. And once the NFL gets started with this, it could easily spread to other leagues like the NBA. Now, if only there was a plumbing company that would want to sign me for my Super Mario Brothers or Pipe Dream skills…