Yesterday I had a some tourists from Buffalo flip out seeing me in my Dareus jersey in the Brisbane CBD once they realised I was a local. It got me thinking about how the Buffalo Bills have gone about marketing the team to fans outside Western New York. In particular, do they have a plan to sell the team and those fine new jerseys to the international market?
As a long time fan in Australia I have watched a lot more small market team jerseys popping up around my city over the past 10 years. But none have been Bills jerseys.
Around Brisbane (a city of over 1.75million and growing) you see the big team usual suspects: 49ers, Cowboys, Pittsburgh, Jets, Giants, Indy, Patriots and Green Bay jerseys. But now there are a few smaller market/less popular teams like Detroit, Atlanta, Saints and Tampa popping up with regular frequency.
I know of only two people in this city wear Bills gear: myself and WillG (from this forum). My analysis is hardly scientific. It is basically the vibe I get from walking around my city. (As an aside, WillG (my best friend) formed a long term friendship on the basis of bumping to each other in Kelly jerseys and completely losing our minds thinking we were the only fans in town!). Hopefully cities like Sydney and Melbourne are full of Bills fans, but I wouldn't be holding my breath.
I completely understand the view that if the team is successful then sales will follow. However, even during the Super Bowl years, there wasn't a whole lot of love for the Bills in terms of the team and the merchandise. I have always suspected that it may have to do with the way the team goes about marketing itself compared to some of these big teams.
I say suspected, because to be honest, I don't now. But just going onto the NFL.com shop, the Bills have hardly any player jerseys etc, compared to other teams. Clearly a team like the Cowboys would have a massive marketing department compared to the Bills, but surely it can't be two hard to have a range of the better players jerseys on a website.
NFL has really taken off in Australia over the past 10-15 years. We get about 3-4 live games a week. Workplaces now have NFL tipping comps to go along with Aussie Rules and Rugby tipping comps. In our fantasy football comp the Aussies and beaten the Americans 6 out of the past 7 years (granted two players are Raiders fans, so are always going to struggle). There is a growing marking in Australia, which I would bet my bottom dollar is being replaced across Europe and Asia. When selling to overseas fans, the Bills need to count more on the shallow side of human nature of people jumping on a band wagon of a successful team.
Outside Boomer on ESPN, what is the One Bills Drive strategy to put the Bills brand out there and hopefully generate some revenue? Why can't the Bills, seemingly, cash in on the overseas market like these other teams?
I am not marketing guy, so I would be interested in everyones views. i am not trying to be negative or jump on OBD. I am just curious and hopefully someone has some insight.
Hopefully we start seeing some more Stevie, Fitz and Meatball jerseys around in the future.