Wednesday September 27, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

Antonio Brown, NFL Score Big With New Madden Cover

Front Office Sports Today

Writer’s Strike End a Boon for Sports Networks, Agencies

We delve into the potential long-term impact of the five-month strike.
Listen Now
September 26, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

EA’s Madden NFL 19 summer marketing campaign officially kicked off with the big cover reveal — and it certainly generated drastic attention.

Who and what the Madden cover features has been noteworthy since 2000, which is when John Madden himself stopped being the primary figure. Since then, it’s become quite an honor to be grace the video game’s cover (or a curse, depending on who you speak with). This year’s game features Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown, notably as the first athlete to appear without wearing a helmet.

Brown is an exciting, terrific player on the field — achieving one of the few perfect 99 ratings in the game — and now this initiative ups his game outside the stadiums as well. Being featured on Madden NFL 19 has always provided instant personal marketing for the cover player, but his year, Brown gets his name and his face out there worldwide.

“From a brand perspective, this is a huge win for him and the Steeler brand,” sports marketing expert Jeremy Darlow stated.

As a former Brand Marketer for video game company Ubisoft, Darlow has seen firsthand just how salient video games — especially a transcendent one like Madden — can be.

“During my time (in video game marketing), Madden continued to come in at number-one every year. The amount of eyeballs on that game, the media attention and space the game gets in retailers from GameStop to BestBuy and Target — it’s huge,” he said.

Forget about the game itself, even the release of the Madden cover draws national hype.

Meanwhile, Darlow and Ashley DeWalt, the founder and managing principal of brand management and marketing consultancy LVRG Sports, are absolutely transfixed by what a brilliant move this is for Brown, the Steelers, and the NFL’s overall branding strategy.

Beyond that, being featured without a helmet makes the Madden cover particularly effective for Brown’s image because, as Darlow mentioned, “one of the issues faced by individual athletes in the NFL is they have to wear a helmet 99 percent of the time, which is a massive detriment to their personal branding.”

DeWalt agreed, and expounded on that, noting how big of a move this is, especially for a player with the character and personality of Brown. “It’s a game-changer for NFL athletes. Brown’s personal brand will benefit tremendously from the global exposure of Madden,” he said.  

More potently, the fact that he’s featured without a helmet “allows Brown to give fans a glimpse of his personality from a visual standpoint, which is especially powerful since he’s known for always smiling on and off the field,” DeWalt explained. 

The team themselves stand to benefit as well. While the Steelers obviously have a passionate following among all those that worship the Black and Yellow, having one of their star players featured on such a huge platform is sure to bring more attention to the franchise.

“This is great for the Steelers because they are embracing and supporting the growth of the personal brand of one of their star players,” DeWalt said.

[mc4wp_form id=”8260″]

The National Football League will reap the rewards of its players having a more pronounced, engaging presence that allows them to showcase their humanity and personality off the field. In a way, it effectively deploys the National Basketball Association’s marketing strategy, emphasizing the league’s individual athletes, which has proven to be successful — and DeWalt thinks the league would be wise to emulate.  

In the NBA, player popularity directs attention to the team, and in turn, the league. In the NFL, attention typically flows the other way, with the league directing an audience to the teams, which in turn, point out their specific star players. Perhaps this cover will get the marketing and promotion channel flowing in both directions.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

A Chicago Bears helmet.

Arlington Heights Looks To Break Stadium Logjam With Bears

Village board cites striking Bears deal as its top priority

NFL's Swift Mania Starting To Show Impact Through Merch Sales, Viewership

Taylor Swift stole the NFL's spotlight by attending Sunday's Chiefs game.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass in the first quarter of the NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams at Paycor Stadium.

NFL Fans Can Now Bet On Games While Streaming

BetVision will allow users to bet while watching NFL games.
First Take vs. FS1

Sharpe: 'First Take' Would Still Beat 'Undisputed' Without Stephen A.

Even if Smith leaves, Sharpe said he will still beat Skip Bayless in the ratings.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Writer’s Strike End a Boon for Sports Networks, Agencies


Featured Today


Oakland-MLB Relationship Devolves Into Next-Level Toxicity

Commissioner, mayor have very different accounts of July meeting
Jacksonville Jaguars Team President Mark Lamping addressed community members at Strings Sports Brewery on Main Street for the first of 14 planned town hall sessions to present the team's plans for the new "stadium of the future" complex and address the public concerns.
September 25, 2023

Jacksonville Jaguars President Walks Back Stadium ‘Threat’

"Viewing those comments as a threat to leave Jacksonville isn't correct."
Chatri Sityodtong
September 25, 2023

ONE Championship's Quest To Challenge Rival UFC Through U.S. Expansion

Leveraging its Amazon deal, ONE Championship seeks to expand in U.S.
September 24, 2023

Savannah Bananas Break All The Rules To Hit The Mainstream

Team concludes 2023 tour with even-bigger plans for next year


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations
Drew Brees smiling while wearing hat

Drew Brees, PointsBet Pull Off Elaborate Lightning Publicity Stunt

The video racked up over 2 million views in about 12 hours.
September 16, 2022

NBA Legend Scottie Pippen Latest Celebrity To Endorse LIV Golf

The former Chicago Bull is part of LIV's celebrity marketing campaign.
al michaels and kirk hergstreit
September 15, 2022

Amazon's Advertising Blitz Ahead Of First 'Thursday Night Football'

'Thursday Night Football' has launched massive marketing takeover ahead of Chiefs-Chargers.
June 21, 2022

NBA Finals Broke Records on Social Media

The NBA closed out the season with a bang on social media, eclipsing 2 billion video plays for a 19% increase over last year.
June 21, 2022

Gallo Winery Could Be New Player For Super Bowl Spots

Anheuser-Busch is giving up Super Bowl alcohol exclusivity for first in decades. NFL sponsor E. & J. Gallo Winery might step up with own commercials in the Big Game.
June 13, 2022

NBA's Latest Floating Court Hits London's River Thames

Hennessy continued their global initiative with the NBA by creating a floating court in the River Thames.
June 13, 2022

Steph Curry Is NBA's Social Media King

Steph Curry isn't only dominating on the court, he's become the king of the NBA's social and digital push.
June 7, 2022

The NBA Continues to Dominate the Social Media Space

The NBA seemingly capitalizes in the digital and social space more than most leagues. Here's some of the data from the Finals.