Football Lockout Over: Who Won the PR Battle?

Okay, so the NFL football lockout is now over and fans can rest now that there will be a full pro football season this year. During the lockout, which began on March 11, there was an all-too-familiar phrase written about both the owners and players by mainstream scribes and murmured by the public on social media outlets: "Billionaires vs. Millionaires." Meaning, the billionaire owners vs. the millionaire players. It seemed as though public opinion was skewed against both groups.

But now, all seems right with the world, at least among rabid NFL fans who don't even remember that the lockout was about dividing up the billions of dollars in yearly revenue between the owners and the players—while more and more season ticket holders are being held hostage by seat licenses that can cost thousands of dollars, and individually sold tickets and merchandise prices just keep going up.

According to Ned Barnett, president of branding and positioning agency Brand, it's like there wasn't a lockout at all. "If one side or the other had unreasonably blocked the season, 'hell hath no fury' like the fans'" says Barnett.  But that didn’t happen. "This lockout will be forgotten at warp speed, as passionate fans who define their lives by the rise or fall of their team will focus on the games, rather than on the lockout," he says.

Now that the lockout is over, you wonder if the players or the owners "won" the PR battle, or was it a stalemate? Says Barnett: "Neither side did a great job of positioning themselves via PR, but to the extent that either side won, it would be the team owners. While fans are passionate about players on the field, the off-the-field lives of players—assault charges, DUI arrests, etc.—doesn't translate to positive PR. Most owners are far more discrete and are therefore far less likely to arouse fans’ ire." 

But the bottom line: Even in a stagnant economy with high unemployment rates, football is money for both the owners and the players.

Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Measurement Conference 

Media Relations ConferenceJoin PR News at the National Press Club on Dec. 11 for the Media Relations Conference, where you'll learn how to tie your media relations initiatives to business goals, use the right metrics to prove the success of your efforts, incorporate social media in a brand crisis and more.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.