Just one week ago, I wrote a scathing article regarding Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) and the NFL, titled Sirius XM Fumbles The Ball. Experience had led me to believe that a full marketing campaign would begin near the end of the season, as had seemingly been the case for several years now. The end result has usually resulted in an advertising campaign that came too late in the season to bring any real results to the bottom line. I admit I wanted to ignite a fire, and perhaps I did just that.
My opinion remains firm that not reaching out to the 35 million out-of-market NFL fans (not to mention the possibly larger pool of college football fans) would be inexcusable as it represents billions of dollars in potential revenue to the company. With the Labor Day weekend approaching and summer coming to a close, football season will begin its annual kickoff countdown. The final preseason NFL games begin in earnest tonight and the weekend itself promises a football fan’s dream lineup of college offerings.
A quick check of the games available on Sirius now reveals what may be a new marketing campaign in the works. The Sirius home page reveals a new version of the Sirius mascot (mongo) holding a football with the gridiron offerings taking center stage. The NFL page reveals new graphics touting “Every Game, Every Week, EVERYWHERE” along with a new contest called the straight up pigskin pick ‘em game which challenges listeners to beat the experts. There have also been sporadic reports of Sirius XM commercials being broadcast during last weeks preseason exhibitions.
Critics will be quick to point out the expenses involved out of ignorance. Most already know that a marketing budget exists and how it is spent is another matter. Spending those same dollars on something as promising as promoting Sirius’ exclusive NFL and NCAA college football offerings is money well spent, as opposed for instance to rebate offers. SiriusBuzz recently reported certain marketing costs that may have been eliminated and has since learned of an apparent hiring freeze as all Sirius and XM job listings have been removed from both websites.
Has Sirius XM picked up the ball as I challenged them to do? It’s beginning to look that way.
Position: Long SIRI