skip to main content

What the NFL, Skiing, and Mothers Have to do with the Future of Resort Marketing

divider image for this post

Among my concerns over the growth of skiing, I haven’t been shy about something I’ve called “the gap“.

I’ve played devil’s advocate on possible X Games side effects and considered possible alternatives to selling skiing during the Olympics that separates what people see on TV from what they’d do on the hill.

But something, one line actually, from another industry and another sport has me questioning our approach again.

The One, The Only NFL
I’m not a big NFL fan. But despite being aloof from the on-field drama, a sub plot has piqued my interest for some time now: concussions. Specifically, the frequency of concussions in the NFL and the long-term effects.

Within this narrative is a doctor who, after examining the brains of dead football players, started to find some common patterns of brain disease. This quote has been publicized quite a bit since it was uttered, but upon showing his results to an NFL doctor, his colleague said:

“Do you know the implications of what you’re doing? If 10 percent of mothers in this country would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport, that is the end of football.”

Just for a moment, allow yourself to believe that this statement is true. It may not be, it may require 25% or 50%, but think about the implications of mothers perceiving a sport as dangerous.

What Gets Headlines
The NFL, like skiing, struggles with a paradox.

On the one hand, they have become heavily engaged in an effort to make player safety a top priority. While on the other they show endless replays of the sport’s most gruesome hits and injuries. Why? Because that’s what gets the ratings.

Skiing has staff dedicated to making sure people ski as safely as possible with swift repercussions if the don’t. Then, every January, we glamorize the most dangerous, extreme parts of our sport. Why? Because that’s what gets the ratings.

In both cases, it’s a matter of perception versus reality.

The Concern
My concern echoes the quote I began with.

If mothers make the vast majority of spending decisions, helicopter parents are becoming more and more common, the only time our sports gets mainstream enough to reach those mothers is Olympic downhills and X Games Big Air, and we have a massive dependence on families for the future of our sport, what does that mean for growth?

I don’t know the answer and maybe my concerns are unfounded, but I worry that our continual selling of the extreme may do more harm than good in the long term.

Let me put it this way. If 10% of mothers think skiing is too dangerous for children, what happens then?

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.