The College Football Playoff debuts in grand style

January 9, 2015 by Mike Goff

It was the day after the first ever College Football Playoff and I was settled in my man cave, watching Kansas State’s “almost” comeback against UCLA in the Valero Alamo Bowl when I heard ESPN announcer Joe Tessitore say (paraphrasing), “I’ve never seen excitement in college football like I have this year with the playoff.”

His on-air statement to a national viewing audience echoed what I’d heard throughout this bowl season from commentators and columnists alike—the first College Football Playoff had achieved a key objective of generating even higher interest in a sport that is growing in popularity each day.  And, the ratings data that soon followed the timing of Tessitore’s statement bore that out—the Ohio State win over Alabama was the most watched event in cable television history, and the Rose Bowl telecast (Oregon-Florida State) was the most for that bowl since it hosted the 2006 BCS national title game on ABC.

Premier Sports Management was fortunate to have been integrally involved in the laying of this playoff foundation given our work on the naming, brand strategy, marketing positioning, visual identity and initial launch for this soon-to-be mega event.  Our counsel to our College Football Playoff partners then was “this is going to be second only to the Super Bowl.”  If January 1, 2015 was any indication, that prediction was right.

The proof of the magnitude of this event will be in the attendance, viewer ratings and fan experience numbers that come out after next Monday night’s championship game between Oregon and Ohio State.  The national following of the Buckeyes will help deliver viewer eyeballs and ESPN and the playoff organization obviously hopes that Oregon’s presence will draw in Pacific time zone viewership.  Yet, ESPN and the College Football Playoff have an opportunity to blow this out even further through strategic use of social media campaigns, a rolling build-up of announcements and events for fans in the week leading up to the championship game, and sponsors and advertisers who follow Allstate’s lead on the Sugar Bowl and devise specific campaigns that optimize their college football investments.

We fully expect that the College Football Playoff will, over time, become a coveted spot for brands to use to build equity, launch new products, and kick off a new calendar year in grand style.  We can’t wait to see that happen.

Take a look at this ABC News article on the College Football Playoff, and Premier’s role in the naming and branding.