Showing the world that NFL is more than Super Bowl
Marc Reeves was recently named the first international commercial director of the NFL, which reaches more than 230 countries, using 121 broadcast partners in 33 languages.
New title: International commercial director, NFL
Previous title: Vice president of consulting, IMG
First job: Assistant manager, Forest Hill Tennis Club in Toronto
College education: B.A. in economics and political science, Kalamazoo College (1995); J.D./MBA, Tulane University (2000)
Resides: New York City and Los Angeles
Grew up: Toronto
Executive most admired: Tony Hsieh, chief executive officer, Zappos
Favorite vacation spot: The Out Islands in the Exumas, Bahamas
Last book read: “Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan , Australia , Turkey — and Even Iraq — Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport,” by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski
Last movie seen: “Up in the Air”
Favorite movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Slap Shot”
Favorite musician/band: The Avett Brothers, Uncle Tupelo and Drive-By Truckers
What are your roles and responsibilities?
It is essentially to grow the fan base of the NFL around the world and to increase and maximize sponsorship opportunities. We have to not only export the brand and the game that is being played here in the States, but also create new assets around the world that are locally relevant and then tie them back and grow interest in the NFL.
What’s on your agenda?
To understand the markets that are most ripe for growth and to work out ways to link to who our fans are. … In markets where the NFL is known, we need to raise awareness. In other markets, it’s to get the fans to understand that the NFL is more than just the Super Bowl and cheerleaders.
What could the NFL do better on the global scale?
We have to package the game. Make it palatable for audiences who don’t understand it. We have to do a better job educating people about the game because very few people know the rules.
What is the NFL’s international vision?
There are five local offices [in New York, China , Japan , Mexico and the U.K.] and we had to figure out local sponsorships. For instance, the international game every year is being held in England right now. We have to figure out how to build local sponsorships around that and also maximize value for the existing partners of the NFL. So a lot of it will be how do we work with sponsorships and local business and then also make them a marketing function so that they are helping to grow interest in the sport.
What are the plans for the next five years?
To grow the avid fan base of the league. We have done a lot of research that shows that there are people aware of the NFL, but there are few avid fans depending on the countries.
Is there a chance for another NFL Europa?
No. I think we realized that fans around the world want the best product. We know based on the fact that each of the last three England NFL games sold out in 90 minutes or less.
What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
To specifically focus on the value that you can add to any organization. And the second part is also to look beyond the obvious, like the agencies and the leagues and teams. There are a lot of great opportunities at some of the brands, tourist boards, and other areas that are involved in sports and there is a lot less competition for those jobs.
This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.