(from Sports Business Journal, November 5, 2012) With November being a month of saluting our military and veterans, the NFL will be making the switch from the October’s pink breast cancer theme to a military premise.
USAA, the NFL’s official military appreciation sponsor has activated the Salute to Service initiative that began November 1 in San Diego through the last activation November 18 in Washington. USAA has developed sponsorship tie-in at 16 NFL stadiums, which is an increase from the 10 in 2011. This tie-in includes fan card stunts during the game, where fans flip cards thanking veterans; fan give-a-ways of marked wrist bands; a digital campaign; team events with local military and veterans; along with the Salute to Service award, recognizing accomplishments in the military community.
The NFL is also contributing to the military initiatives. For every point scored during the 32 Military Appreciation games $100 will be donated to a military related foundation. These foundations include the Pat Tillman Foundation, the USO, or the Wounded Warrior Project.
Also, as the NFL did with Breast Cancer Awareness in October, on field elements will be included each game. The end zones will be stenciled with “Salute to Service” and the game footballs will sport a camo ribbon. Players will be wearing various camouflaged items such as stickered helmets, representing different military branches and camo Nike and Under Armour gloves. These gloves used in the game will then be auctioned off, with the proceeds benefiting the foundation selected for that game.
NFL Vice President of Fan Strategy and Marketing, Pat O’Reilly, spoke of this year’s focus of establishing the Salute to Service as a major platform for veterans. The NFL intends to compare the feedback of this platform to similar veteran platforms of the past, to develop for the future.