Packers' No. 1 in Local Brand Strength
Next game: Sunday, December 7th vs. Houston
The Green Bay Packers have a losing record this season -- 5-7 -- but the team is No. 1 when it comes to a powerful marketing brand.
The franchise was named the strongest team brand in its local market compared with professional sports teams across the country in the 2008 Turnkey Team Brand Index, a consumer survey of thousands of diehard sports fans.
The Packers ranked first among 122 team brands in the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball in home-market strength.
"What this is saying is the following the Packers have is more intensely loyal to supporting the Packers than any other team," said Len Perna, president and chief executive of New Jersey-based Turnkey Sports & Entertainment. "What this basically says is that all other things being equal, a sponsor gets more value in sponsoring the Packers than any other team."
The Boston Red Sox ranked second followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who topped last year's list.
Three of the top 10 teams were from Boston and each had one thing in common -- they each have won a recent championship.
"The Packers moved up because they had such an emotional year with Brett Favre," Perna said about the team's legendary former quarterback. "His popularity. His longevity. They just really cement the relationship between the brand and fans in Green Bay."
The 38-year-old Favre led the Packers to the NFC championship game last season before losing to the New York Giants. He then tearfully announced his retirement in March, changed his mind and was traded to the New York Jets as Packers management decided it was Aaron Rodgers' time to lead the team.
The Packers, the only publicly owned team in major professional sports, ranked fifth in the survey a year ago.
Craig Benzel, the team's director of marketing and corporate sales, said topping the new list confirms the Packers are doing the right things to connect with their fans.
"No. 1 is normally good," he said. "We will use it to tell the Packers story."
Favre and winning certainly played a part in the Packers' boost in the rankings but the survey covers so many areas that it's difficult for one or two factors to dominate, Benzel said.
The online survey measured such things as team popularity, fan loyalty and assessments of owners. It asked participants about their perceptions of teams -- How entertaining it is to attend games? Is the organization's appreciation of fans genuine? Does the team have likable players?
Turnkey Sports & Entertainment measured what it called 36 "brand attributes" to describe a team, such as family oriented, affordable, exciting or arrogant, by asking fans how well the attributes represented teams.
Rounding out the top 10 franchises with the strongest team brand in its local market were the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Red Wings, San Antonio Spurs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Celtics and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Celtics, who won the NBA championship last season, vaulted into the top 10 after finishing 104th in the first survey.
The study also measured a team's following among fans outside the local market.
The New York Yankees ranked No. 1, followed by the Packers, Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers.
Given the survey's findings, the Packers made a marketing mistake in letting Favre, a sure Hall of Famer, get away, Perna said.
"Maybe there's some kind of football reason that is not clear to me that they wanted to move on," he said. "But just from a brand perspective, big mistake."
His new team, the Jets, are 8-4, and ranked 92nd in Pena's study.
"They are going to be higher next year, yes," the researcher predicted.
On the Net:
Turnkey Sports & Entertainment: http://www.turnkeyse.com/
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)