The Philadelphia Eagles National Football League (NFL) franchise has signed a new marketing partnership with Rovio Entertainment, creators of the popular smartphone game Angry Birds.
The partnership will see an Eagles-themed version of the smash-hit game launched this autumn, while a marketing campaign will include social media initiatives and displays at the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field that will run when one of the team’s players sacks an opposing player.
The agreement marks Rovio’s first team sports partnership globally; however it is not the first involvement in sport for the Finnish company. In Formula One, Rovio sponsored the Lotus F1 team during this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, while Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen wears an Angry Birds-inspired helmet.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Andrew Stalbow, Rovio’s general manager for North America, said: “We’re very selective, we haven’t done a lot of partnerships so when we do them we want to do them deep and well. I think if we can be smart, there are organic partnerships and it’s a great way to grow our business. One of the things we’re quite proud of is that we were able to grow our business without spending money on marketing and partnering is key.”
As yet it is unclear whether Rovio will sign additional partnerships with teams in North America or elsewhere. But if, as Stalbow told WSJ, the company is seeking “organic partnerships…to grow our business”, it will not have to look far for more bird-themed relationships. In the US alone, 11 teams in the country’s ‘big four’ leagues use bird-related monikers, including the NFL’s Balitmore Ravens, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
An animated video featuring Eagles head coach Andy Reid “announcing the signing of five very special undrafted free agents” was released to launch the partnership.