Millennials Are Ready for a Sum of Football

Below is a blog posted on July 26, 2011 by TRU, a youth research company that focuses on tweens, teens and twenty-somethings. Millennials are loosely defined as individuals born somewhere between the mid-1970s to mid-1990s, with some sources including as late as the early 2000’s.

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Blog_lids_truview Phew, that was close!

For a (long) while it looked like the NFL labor impasse would taint the 2011 season and force Millennials to, at least temporarily, find something else to do on Sundays. Would Millennials even care? You bet they would. Ever since Michael Jordan retired from the NBA (for the second, not the third time), the NFL has remained, bar none, young people’s favorite sports league.

With the NFL deal in the rear-view mirror now, it’s not inconceivable that, come late October, Millennials’ two favorite active sports leagues will be the NFL and their collegiate counterpart. With a just-completed World Series and a potentially unresolved NBA lockout, NCAA Football will play Robin to the NFL’s Batman, with the immensely popular videogame companions creating a seemingly impregnable Justice League of Football. Holy Madden!

Not long ago, TRU coined the theme Authenticitude™ to explain Millennials’ insatiable need for items or actions that mimic the “real thing.” Exhibit A is videogames, increasingly suitable surrogates for doing the amazing (e.g., shredding on guitar), illegal (e.g., killing strangers) or, of course, highly improbable (e.g., turning a Peyton Manning button-hook into a pick-six).

After using the internet and watching TV, Millennials spend more time playing console videogames than any other form of media, ahead of listening to MP3s, using social networking sites, and listening to the radio. In fact, among teens, playing videogames is one of the only media activities where usage time has increased every year since 2007. (The same can’t be said for using the internet and watching TV). Furthermore, among Millennial guys, sports games represent the third most popular genre (after first-person shooters and action/adventure games), and “Madden NFL 11” was the second best-selling videogame last year (after “Call of Duty: Black Ops”), with the next installment due in stores next month.

Because no NFL games were sacrificed during the impasse, Millennials will mandate no period of forgive-and-forget, or what TRU likes to call Re-Generation™. In fact, force-fitting free agency, training camp, a potential supplemental draft, fantasy-football forecasting, and the release of “Madden NFL 12” into a one-month period may whet young people’s appetite even more than usual. If there’s one thing Millennials have demonstrated, it’s that when it comes to stimuli, too much is never enough.