In this case study, students are exposed to the issue of stakeholder management through the lens of the National Football League (NFL), using a contemporary example of ambush marketing and player endorsement deals as the primary context. The case depicts nonfictitious events that involve players and their disdain for league policies regarding donning brands and products that violate exclusivity agreements the league has with other companies. After identifying the origins of the circumstances, the case profiles the three principal stakeholder groups involved (i.e., the players, the ambushed sponsor, and the focal organization) through their respective leaders (i.e., DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL players association, Bob Maresca, president of Bose Corporation, and Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL). Using fictitious commentary, the case culminates with the three actors utilizing the services of a sports consultancy firm as they work together to determine the best course of action. Learning objectives include understanding collegiality in a professional setting, and mitigating conflicting sponsorship strategies.
Michael L. Naraine, Benoît Séguin, and Eric MacIntosh are with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.