Fallston Group

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Failed Leadership Eroding NFL Shield

Brand erosion is rapidly occurring in the NFL and its leadership continues to stand on the sidelines…not even having the professional judgment to communicate with the very stakeholders that drive the business (the fans).

Remember, crisis costs time, money, customers and ultimately careers. Times like this call for affirmative leadership, not absenteeism and alleged apathy. While the NFL may “win” its labor dispute in mediation, it will “lose” its value in the court of public opinion.

Yes, the replacement referees are having an impact on the outcome of games and stakeholder confidence – players, coaches and fans. Yes, both sides in the labor dispute need to make concessions for the larger good of the brand. Unfortunately, it seems the only outcome that will work is if the fans “vote with their feet.”

There are many who are starting to believe that if the NFL continues to put an inferior officiating product on the field, then they themselves will go on strike and not attend games. Yes, this will cut into the very core of the issue – money. That’s right, no money for merchandise, food & beverage, unsold tickets and parking. By the way, corporate sponsors will also go ballistic as their core target market (the fans) will not be sitting in sports venues being exposed to their highly invested and activated upon messaging.

It’s always amazing how leaders see the proverbial “train coming down the tracks” and choose to stand in the way vs. taking swift action to prevent a glancing or fatal blow. This issue isn’t now about football, it’s about leadership…perhaps they are the folks that need to be replaced.



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