Goodell: Making NFL the 'world's passion'
By Roger Goodell | National Football League
Note: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell delivered the opening remarks this morning at a sports business conference in London. Coinciding with this weekend's Dolphins-Giants game at Wembley Stadium, the conference -- "Sport 2020: The changing face of the global sports industry" - featured several NFL owners and some of the biggest names in the sports industry. The following is a transcript of Goodell's remarks: Good morning and thank you, Daniel, for those generous words and especially for organizing today's event.
Thanks to all of you for joining us from the four corners of the world and nearly every sport imaginable. This is very exciting and ground-breaking.
It is a pleasure to be with you for today's conference and the week-long festivities that culminate Sunday at Wembley Stadium. The historic first regular-season NFL game played outside of North America is a milestone for the NFL and the international growth of our game.
The Miami Dolphins will host the New York Giants at London's Wembley Stadium in the first NFL regular-season game to be played outside of North America.
I would like to extend a special welcome to Wayne Huizenga of the Miami Dolphins and Jonathan Tisch of the New York Giants. Thank you for being our pioneers and bringing your teams here during the heart of the season. This was especially challenging for Wayne, whose team gave up a home game. Not that Mr. Tisch is feeling much sympathy, but we do appreciate what you have done Wayne in leading the way.
We've come a long way since we started bringing our game overseas.
While we are the number-one sport in the U.S., our future success will depend in large part on our ability to globalize. As the world shrinks, thanks to emerging technology, we will increasingly become partners with many of you in this room.
Today's conference is a real opportunity to develop new partnerships and build upon existing ones. I encourage all of us to share and learn from each other.
We have an ambitious schedule today that should lend itself to that type of learning. Before we get to it I want to touch on one of the themes of this conference -- the future of sport and our role in it.
To understand the potential of NFL football outside the U.S., it is important to understand how we evolved.
Success did not come overnight. It took us in the NFL 45 years - from 1920 to 1965 -- to become the most popular sport in America. Fifty years ago, the NFL consisted of only 12 teams. There was no Super Bowl, no national television contracts, one playoff game and no games played in primetime.
It took time for the NFL to put in place the building blocks that any sport needs to grow:
>> The right cities, the right owners and the right stadiums;
>> Great teams and the ability to change and tailor the game to spectator interests.
>> A sustainable competitive and balanced model that includes significant revenue sharing among owners
In the past 40 years we've accelerated our growth.
The primary force was the use of broadcast television to reach the broadest possible audience. As the media landscape shifts, we have used different media platforms, such as cable, satellite and the Internet to complement and support our successful connection with fans.
The vision of our owners - many of whom are here today, including Wayne Huizenga, Jonathan Tisch, Joel Glazer, Jerry Jones, Bob Kraft, Stan Kroenke, Dan Snyder and John York -- and Commissioners Tagliabue and Rozelle has played a leading role in our success.
They have all been committed to the success of the entire league. They compete on Sunday and Monday nights on the football field, but they are business partners off the field.
We do not, however, take our position for granted. The challenges going forward will be significant. Our success is not guaranteed.
Our game plan is to keep a tight focus on core themes. We have to make sure the game remains exciting and competitive. We have to have a solid league structure with strong franchises across the board; and we have to continue to be innovative, always looking for ways to improve everything we do.
Growth in the future clearly means expanding our presence in the global sports marketplace.
We have dedicated considerable resources already to the global development of football. American Bowls and NFL Europe succeeded in developing our game and the football experience to new fans and establishing a European fan base. But it was time for something new.
The focus of our international strategy now is to present the NFL to the widest possible global audience in new ways. We are focusing on two key initiatives:
First: Staging regular-season NFL games outside the U.S. It is bringing our best product - live regular-season games that count - to fans here and in other international cities.
The live-game experience - in stadium and on TV -- is what makes our sport and all sports unique and distinctive from other forms of entertainment. Sports are appointment TV. Much has been said about reality TV this decade. But the NFL is the ultimate reality TV -- three hours of unscripted and unrehearsed moments that bring people together unlike any other entertainment opportunity.
For example, about 30 million Americans watched the Cowboys-Patriots game a couple weeks ago. It was the most-watched event in the U.S. for the entire week by a margin of 10 million viewers. Not just the most-watched sport, but the most watched television program of the season.
Our goal is to translate America's obsession into the world's passion. A year ago our owners approved a plan to stage up to two games a season outside the U.S. This Sunday is just the beginning.
Second: We will connect with more fans globally through digital media. Digital media expands the potential for communicating about our game and with our fans. The Internet is the new town square, a place for fans across the globe to gather and enjoy the NFL.
I participated in a session at Google's headquarters in California earlier this month, appropriately titled "Sports of the 21st Century, Sports and Fans - A New Connection."
We discussed how this is the golden age for the fan. It's a great time to be a sports fan with more points of contact than ever. It's a self-service, on-demand environment with fans connecting on their own terms. They can get information when and how they want it. That changes our business model dramatically.
Thanks to new technology, we can bring fans closer to football and deepen their interest in the game.
The sports industry is not alone. Other industries are facing similar challenges and opportunities. We must learn from the failures and successes of others. Technology change is a powerful force capable of creating whole new industries.
>> The music industry failed to recognize and adapt to changes in technology and consumer consumption.
>> The media industry, primarily print, is evolving itself from a hardcopy newspaper and magazine to a 24/7 online news service that has become multi-media. I know we'll hear more about that later today from leaders like Sports Illustrated's Terry McDonnell.
Speaking of the music industry, there's a fellow named Bob Dylan who wrote a song about changing times in the mid-'60s - when the NFL was in the process of overtaking baseball. He said:
"The old road is rapidly aging. You better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone."
For those of us in sports, it's happening again. And we'd better heed the call.
We have an exciting schedule for the rest of the day and it's time to get to it. I hope you have a productive day and look forward to meeting many of you.
Re: Goodell: Making NFL the 'world's passion'
Did you guys see that? "World's Passion!" :smile: I guess now that I can relax since NFL hasn't forgotten about the non-US fans from around the world. :thumbsup: :bouncy:
Re: Goodell: Making NFL the 'world's passion'
I think they need to quit worrying about the rest of the world. I know I would hate to see the Steelers lose a home game because they want to play in another country. If I was a Dolphin fan, I would be very upset.
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