All involved with professional sports continue to wear rose colored glasses as hopefully the NFL lockout comes to an end in the coming days, with two a days and exhibition football not that far off. We earlier talked about the collateral damage of lockouts, and who has already been effected, but here are some other thoughts on who may benefit when the floodgates of free agency open.
1- Uniform providers: At this time equipment guys have pretty much set their numbers and many of their lettered jerseys for the opening of camp. The flurry of signings will be a nice little take for jersey lettering companies, not to mention for all the overnight shippers who will have to get all those uniforms and the changes that are made on the fly to the right place at the right time. Also the merch folks will have to get up to speed with new items as the bigger names land with teams and the need for new jerseys for fans pops up when camps open.
2- Movers: Relocation companies make a premium in handling every aspect of a move for athletes. When a guy signs, he usually works with a company to get things shipped asap. Now that there is so much uncertainty, re-lo companies can make a nice extra piece of change on getting things in place extra quick.
3- Local merchants: The sad thing about the lockout is that many small towns and college campuses lose the ancillary dollars that come in from having teams hold training camp away from home. However with most teams now staying close to home, local merchants around a training facility can reap the benefits of those dollars they would never get…the dollars of the thousands coming to see training camp open to the public at a training facility, a place which rarely is open to the public.
4- Digital fantasy football companies: There is no bigger fantasy sport than football, and the lockout has meant that many of those print magazines that fans rely on may not be done this year, which will drive more and more people to the web for their fantasy info. That creates a great opportunity for the best of fantasy sites, who will now have to cram months of work into weeks as teams began the free agent onslaught.
5- Local sponsors: In addition to the merchants, keeping a team local for training camp can create some additional activation opportunities for team sponsors who may not have been able to fully maximize on the preseason when a team was far away. Yes there would be sponsored trips to training camp, but now having the team local could mean some extra inside access for brands looking to get added value from the dollars they invest in a team year round.
There will be lots of uncharted waters with regard to player signings, added pressure to make sure players are in game shape, and added pressure on training staffs to keep guys healthy. However if the lockout is settled, the great sigh of relief and excitement for the NFL could even reach a new high when kickoff comes September 8, and can even have some extra benefits from those who now can see an income stream returning from off-field activities where just a few weeks ago they thought there might not have been one.