Home news features editorials & columns Making a play in NFL could help solar score big

Making a play in NFL could help solar score big

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This giant 8,000+ panel solar canopy installation at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, also sports 10 EV charging stations. [Photo Credit: NRG Energy]

anna-dreiling-guest-columnRecently, I wrote about some of the progress the National Football League has seen in terms of promoting and utilizing solar technology at games and in other events.

If you talk to the majority of season ticket holders and hardcore football fans, it seems like their sentiments are generally the same: “We would love solar energy usage at games… But only if it doesn’t raise the already-ridiculous price of football tickets.”

In terms of my personal opinion on solar in the NFL, I couldn’t agree with them more. Make use of the exceptional marketing opportunity that is football, but do it without hurting the fans.

Huge potential
NFL games are a marketer’s dream.

Just think—each Sunday, millions of Americans sit down to watch the games from home. What better time for TV advertisers to have their commercials viewed by a captive audience?

If fans are not at home watching the games, they might actually be attending them at a stadium, and boy, do the marketers spring on that!

Advertisements are everywhere—in the concourses between the seats, on electronic banners circling the stadium, on the scoreboards themselves. Every pause in gameplay is accompanied by a message from the team’s sponsors or a promotional entertainment “brought to you by” yet another company.

If they can show solar accomplishing something big—such as powering scoreboards in the stadium or covering all of the electricity used in the stadium on non-game days—then people will see that solar is truly useful, not just a good idea still on the drawing board.

All this amounts to this simple idea: football is the perfect opportunity to get people’s attention for whatever you’re selling, whether it’s a product or an idea… And that’s where solar comes in.

Solar bandwagon
Since the Redskins, Jets, Seahawks, Patriots and Eagles have already gotten on the solar bandwagon, I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams do the same.

As long as they have a captive audience, solar companies, proponents and supporters ought to put a lot of their time and money into promoting solar at NFL events.

If they can show solar accomplishing something big—such as powering scoreboards in the stadium or covering all of the electricity used in the stadium on non-game days—then people will see that solar is truly useful, not just a good idea still on the drawing board.

Real world application speaks volumes compared to simple conjecture. Apply solar to NFL games in a useful way, and people will notice.

Think of the fans!
The key to all of this, however, is to keep all costs away from the fans.

Solar companies and other solar advocates should be prepared to absorb a lot of the initial costs of promoting solar through the NFL.

As my family has been Denver Broncos season ticket holders since 1964, we have seen huge fluctuations in ticket prices in that time range, and needless to say, the tickets have only ever increased in price.

Fans are disgruntled about price increases as it is, and they harbor angry annoyance towards the NFL organizations as a result. If the NFL teams were ever to increase ticket prices on account of solar investments in the stadium, fans would take out their resulting anger against solar.

In other words, if solar causes increased prices, fans will dislike solar and its ideas no matter how good or beneficial it might seem.

When it comes down to it, ideas are only as good as how much they are accepted. And in America, ideas that cost too much are never going to be accepted.

Ultimately, take note of that, solar proponents—target the NFL, but do so without hurting the fans.

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