The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl two years ago, the first in their franchise’s history. Now, they are hoping to put together a winning formula off the field as well with a major splash into the lifestyle sector.
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On the eve of the start of the NFL season, the franchise unveiled a broad, expansive -- and likely expensive -- initiative called Eagles Entertainment. The online channel will try to further connect fans of the team by providing access and entertainment that goes beyond the wins and losses that dominate the conversation around the team.
The effort to show a different side of the organization and its personalities will include everything from cooking shows to comedy specials and vignettes that focus on the players as well as the team’s fans. The idea is to expand the Eagles reach from being a sports franchise to forming a bond that goes beyond the stadium.
The challenges are going to be several-fold for the Eagles. They will need to create original content which is certainly no small investment in terms of time and capital. They also will need to decide how they want to deliver and distribute on their channels the programming.
Robert Gutkowski, the founder of RMG SportsVentures and the former President of the MSG Network which televised live games and feature programs for New York's NBA Knicks and NHL Rangers, sees the potential for the venture by the NFL team as exciting but needing shape and direction. “They can do podcasts. They could create their own little streaming network if they wanted to.," Gutkowski told Fox Business, "I don’t know how big of a return on investment that would be.”
While the Eagles team color is green -- the color of money -- this venture will likely see more red according to Gutkowski. “I think it’s going to be a labor of love and if they can create some entertainment shows – and they will have to create some of that – and if it does reach a bigger distribution outlet and they can bring in partners, then maybe they can make some money off of it."
NFL teams are often creative in their online presence and digital content, but Eagles Entertainment offers an approach promises to touch fans with lifestyle pieces that peel back the helmet and show a different side of the team to the community. The breadth and scope of this network is certainly something the league hasn’t seen.
While several Major League Baseball teams operate their own regional sports network, the length of the NFL season and the lack of local rights to games precludes football teams from operating a network. But the Eagles see the way to create non-game or event programming – lots of it – and bypass the conventional restraints of network programming.
The potential of a digital distribution platform could not only mean added revenue for the team but a deeper connection with their fans. “It is another way to expand their brand to the fan base," Gutkowski said, and "to enhance their fan base not just in the immediate area.”