Oct 14, 2009 at 09:14 PM
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Now Comes the Tough Part.

After an 0-5 start, there may not be much the Tennessee Titans are ahead of at the moment, in the NFL standings, but they were well ahead of the curve on one thing: the still nascent practice of jersey patch sponsorship (state-side at least).

Along with lottery deals, practice jersey sponsorships have become one of the hottest topics in NFL sponsorship this year. You'll recall that the phenomenon kicked into high gear after the league formally approved the practice of selling practice jersey patches in the off-season, even though it's been said the Tennessee Titans had been doing it for years with Baptist Sports Management.

In the subsequent past few months ramping up to the season, many NFL teams have signed deals that include the practice jersey patch (some separate deals, others as extensions to existing deals).

Some have questioned what relevance (aside from straight media exposure), these six figure deals will have, given that the patches will not be worn in games... (yet).

With the season heading into week six, now comes the tough part. Evaluation.

Philadelphia-based Front Row Analytics has been hired by the Seattle Seahawks to evaluate the success of the team’s practice jersey partnership for this season.

“With practice jersey sponsorship at the forefront of new and innovative revenue streams in not only the NFL, but also in other professional sports leagues now too, Front Row Analytics is excited to work with the Seattle Seahawks this season,” said Joe Marsh, Manager – Front Row Analytics. “We offer an unmatched evaluation and we look forward to delivering the results when it is all said and done.”

“Front Row Analytics will provide many of the key measurement tools we will utilize in our comprehensive evaluation of our partnership with Bing, particularly with respect to the Seahawks practice jersey element, but also focusing on several fully-integrated marketing elements connected to our website, broadcast media, and game presentation. We’re excited about Front Row’s ability to help us monitor progress and track our overall effectiveness in raising awareness and stimulating new Bing user activity,” said Seahawks VP Corporate Partners Ron Jenkins.

As for the deal itself, "The Seahawks and Bing are a perfect brand match," Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke recently told USA Today. "We viewed the available space on our practice jersey as sacred, not simply a billboard opportunity, and reserved it for a partner that shares our core values."

Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of the Online Audience Business Group at Microsoft said "Bing offers great ways for Seahawks fans to plan amazing game experiences, from searching for local businesses around the stadium to booking travel for away games."

A recent piece by IEG speculated that practice jersey sponsorships "could prove to be at best financially unjustifiable based on exposure and at worst toxic and divisive to its target audience" so we look forward to seeing what Front Row and other measurement firms have to say.

Some would argue that practice jersey sponsorships should only be measured based on simple exposure, others would disagree. What side of the aisle do you fall on?

Photo by Microsoft