From the San Francisco 49ers to the New York Giants the National Football League is home to some of the toughest athletes and most passionate fans in global sport.
Big hits, fourth-quarter comebacks and last-minute Hail Marys are the stuff of legends, roared on by tens of thousands of fans in the stadiums and millions glued to TV sets across America – to be relived in bars, parties and barbeques for years, if not decades, to come.
At just five months, the NFL season is one of the shortest in sport, but it packs in more than its fair share of glamour, superstars and spectacular half-time shows.
The Super Bowl is one of the world’s greatest sporting occasions, an unofficial American holiday with TV viewing figures second only to Europe’s UEFA Champions League as the world’s most-watched annual sporting event.
The Barclaycard effect
Given this dizzying mix, the NFL’s biggest challenge is to create new ways of enhancing the fans’ experience. Luckily, new technology is providing fertile ground for innovation in this space.
Barclaycard has been on the NFL’s team for more than six years, inspiring loyalty with co-branded card products and money-can’t-buy experiences. What started as a simple affinity card carrying teams’ logos is now a lot more powerful.
And like the NFL, the product is evolving each season to keep it fresh and relevant for the fans.
“Baseball may be known as America’s pastime, but football is America’s passion,” says Renie Anderson, Senior Vice President of Sponsorships and Partnership Management at the NFL.
“Devoted fans fill our stadiums while families get together and surround their TVs to catch live games. It’s important to us that we feed this passion in unique ways.”
Barclaycard customers get a range of benefits for the NFL, including a deal on seasons tickets purchased on the card. It also gives fans the chance to get on the field of play during the game, a once in a lifetime experience.
Cardholders can win unique access to training camps and even the Super Bowl, to meet sporting heroes and to bag a bundle of exclusive team merchandise. With prizes like these it’s no wonder the NFL is proud of the partnership.
“It’s an incredible success story,” says Renie. “With Barclaycard at our side, we’re delivering a fantastic product that exceeds our customers’ expectations.
“Our product has to evolve every year, because we need to keep the offer fresh for our fans. One of the best things about working with Barclaycard is they have displayed this flexibility since the partnership began.”
First and goal
Renie sees teamwork and trust as the key to a successful partnership.
“The individuals we work with at Barclaycard every day are phenomenal,” she says. “Their enthusiasm in executing the program has been incredible.”
“Trust is also vital. Bringing partners on board is a big thing for us because we’re asking them to integrate with our most engaged fans. Barclaycard has earned that trust.”
The NFL is looking to the future and wants Barclaycard at its side for the next big play. In the fast-paced world of pro sports, the NFL needs partners flexible enough to respond to its ever-changing needs and goals.
“Technology and innovation are key to us and payment innovation is at the forefront of that,” says Renie. “With the support of Barclaycard we’re looking into ways that fans can buy food and drink at a game without leaving their seat. It’s a big challenge, but an exciting goal for the future.
“If I could sum up our relationship with Barclaycard in three words, I’d say collaborative, strategic and successful. It’s exciting to work with such a focused team that shares the same goals and values that we do.”