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NFL Schedule Release: the Super Bowl for Ticket Sales, Social Media

NFL fans may be settling in for the meat of the offseason, but the league’s marketing, ticketing and social media departments are gearing up for one of the biggest days on the calendar.

The league’s complete schedule will be released on Wednesday, and nearly every team delivers a unique piece of content to highlight its top matchups and divisional games.

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“It’s the Super Bowl of ticketing but also the Super Bowl for social media teams,” vice president and general manager of Rams Studios Marissa Daly said in an interview. “There’s a lot of pride on the line for all the teams and social media managers. This is it.”

The Tennessee Titans arguably executed their creative strategy better than anyone last year with a two-minute knee slapper featuring clueless NFL fans. The viral social media video, which has more than 30 million views on X, was the club’s most viewed schedule release video ever on that platform.

NFL fans typically see the final product, which takes a few minutes out of their day to watch. Marketing and social media teams, however, usually spend at least a couple of months creating this special purpose content and preparing for the big day with a multifaceted strategy that usually includes meetings with the business operations squad. Teams who don’t take advantage of the schedule release risk losing a prime opportunity to engage with their fans.

The Jacksonville Jaguars won a Webby Award for their unconventional schedule release video, which was more narrative driven than most content of its kind. The Jaguars wanted to be bold and turned to Ghosts actor and diehard Jaguars fan Asher Grodman to be the director and lead writer of the video, which helped spur one of the biggest ticket sales days for the franchise.

The video plays on the NFL being scripted, and ended up having an 8,826% uptick in views over the 2022 schedule video. “It’s really the biggest non-football opportunity to make a splash,” Grodman said of schedule release day.

The Rams this year will roll out a three-pronged marketing strategy, highlighted by the “Race to New Orleans,” a fully animated 3D video that not only captures the vibe of each road team the NFC West club will play this season but also encompasses the culture of L.A.—featuring a tricked-out lowrider and Nipsey Hussle’s music.

Schedule release videos are the most-shared Tweets of all time for at least three different NFL franchises—the Titans, Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers. The Titans video from last year has more than 45,000 retweets, four times more than the team’s previously most-shared post.

The combination of unheralded NFL fandom, scarcity of home games and the unveiling of the primetime matchups has made this one of the most important days of the year for teams to drive fan engagement and bolster revenue streams. For several NFL teams, it’s the biggest day of the year for single-game ticket sales.

“My whole department knows it’s my favorite day of the year,” Dan August, the Los Angeles Rams executive vice president of consumer revenue and strategy, said in an interview. “It’s like Christmas for a ticketing person. … It’s a monster.”

August says the schedule release day generates more single-game ticket sales in 24 hours than the next three months combined, so the Rams typically position themselves to have as much inventory available as possible to capture the demand.

Like the Rams, many teams want to capture the rush and sell hefty bulk of ticket inventory before it hits the secondary market.

“Teams and leagues are prioritizing capturing as much demand as possible on the heels of that release and then acknowledging there’s going to be little bit of a [dead] period,” SeatGeek director of business operations and strategy Oliver Marvin said in an interview. “They’ll be more focused [later] on other parts of the business, like team and sales operation and things of that nature.”

The Rams hope their strategy will not just stoke fans but pad the team coffers. Daly makes it clear that the marketing team can’t celebrate any wins if the ticketing department loses.

“If we’re not selling tickets, it’s a bad day for the organization,” Daly added. “Marketing is there to help drive ticket sales. … The more excitement we can generate from that day, we can use it to target single game tickets all season long.”

While nearly every NFL team delivers a unique piece of schedule-release content to highlight its top matchups and divisional games, every team has a different marketing and ticketing strategy. And for some, it’s not as pivotal from a revenue standpoint.

The Philadelphia Eagles, for example, have more than 50,000 people on their season-ticket wait list, so the goal of the content rollout is to drive fan engagement as opposed to boost single-game ticket sales. The Falcons also don’t see an immediate boost in single-game ticket sales like the Rams. The franchise uses the schedule release as a marketing vehicle to drive fan engagement and to drive attention to other areas such as suite rentals and group sales.

“It’s not about the [first] 24 hours, but it’s more about this being an igniter for everything single-event focused, from premium spaces to group sales,” Don Rovak—vice president of sales and service for AMB Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Falcons—said in an interview. “What happens in the [next] day to three weeks is really where that activity originates from.”

The schedule release is yet another example how the NFL has managed to create moments where rabid fans can get locked in during the offseason. The big marketing and ticketing day is the latest event to energize NFL fans during the time between the draft and the start of training camps in July.

“Our job,” Rovak said, “is to ask ourselves how we best use these opportunities to tell our story.”

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