Power of the Shield: NFL Marketability


Source: USA Today

NFL Brand

The NFL is arguably the biggest and most powerful sports league in the US. The NFL shield logo is a symbol for how to successfully market a sports league. We looked at the NFL in E-Score Brand to better understand the marketability of the league.

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  • While there is some controversy in every major sports brand, the NFL is still considered the most Entertaining sports organization in the US. The NFL also ranks tops among sports leagues for the attributes A Leader (29%), Exciting (29%), Better Than Competitors (36%) and Awareness (74%).
  • Comments from consumers reveal both praise (“Great family event, either live or on TV”) and concerns (“Too expensive for the little guy, greedy owners …”).
  • Top areas of complaints are the increasing costs and perceived greed of both owners and players, and the dangerous nature of the game including recent concussion headlines. Comments about politics and national anthem protests are notably less common.

Most Appealing Teams in the NFL

Several teams, including the Tampa Bay Bucs, Arizona Cardinals, and Minnesota Vikings all experienced at least a seven-point increase in Appeal from the 2016 to the 2017 season. Using E-Score Brand we uncovered the most appealing teams in the NFL and each of its conferences.



  • Overall the NFC is slightly more appealing than the AFC with its teams averaging an Appeal score of 19.75% versus the AFC’s 17.47%. In fact, the three most appealing teams in the NFL are in the NFC with the New Orleans Saints (27%), Green Bay Packers (26%) and Arizona Cardinals (24%) leading the way.
  • The Dallas Cowboys are a tick behind at 23% Appeal, but that is driven by the polarized reaction they produce and their larger number of detractors. The Cowboys actually have the most passionate and loyal fans as measured by their Brand Loyalty at 69% among the general population.
  • There is a tie at the top for the most appealing AFC team between the New England Patriots (23%), the defending champs and winners of two of the last three Super Bowls (XLIX [49] and LI [51]), and the Denver Broncos (23%) who won Super Bowl 50.
  • Two recently relocated franchises, the Rams (13%) and Chargers (12%) have the lowest Appeal of all NFL franchises, suggesting the early risks of relocation to a team’s fan base.

NFL’s “Popularity” Fantasy Team

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  • Among NFL fans (casual and avid), Larry Fitzgerald is the most-liked player, with an Appeal score of 74%. It is a position he’s held since at least 2011. J.J. Watt ranks second at 71%. Watt’s scores are likely to rise in our next survey, accounting for his Hurricane Harvey fundraising efforts.
  • A number of exciting and young NFL players had low Awareness and therefore did not make the top 10 list. For example, Khalil Mack (69%) and Mike Evans (60%) would have beaten out several players in the top ten, and David Johnson (55%) is not far behind.
  • Although quarterbacks dominate the Awareness chart, taking the top seven positions, led by Tom Brady’s 68% Awareness, they are noticeably less appealing, with only four QBs represented in the Appeal top ten. This may be because quarterbacks are commonly the target of ire from fans of opposing teams.
  • Three quarterbacks who are currently free agents would have made the top ten Awareness list: Colin Kaepernick (44%), Johnny Manziel (36%) and Robert Griffin III (34%).

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