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NFL working on changing the perception of the league, executive says

Blair Shiff

The average viewership for an NFL game is about 15.8 million during the 2018 regular season, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. With that many eyeballs, being an executive for the NFL could be very stressful.

NFL chief marketing officer and senior vice president Tim Ellis spoke with FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo about his goal in his role. He said he's focused on the joy and the love of football, which he said is "the heart of why this game exists."

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"We have to begin to drive our own narrative and not let others tell our story for us," Ellis said on "Maria Bartiromo's Wall Street."

Ellis said they are hoping to "bridge generations" and look into "how to bring generations together" in an exciting way. He hopes they can make younger generations feel like football is relevant and modern.

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He said the first thing he did was look at the NFL ecosystem and tried to figure out what is important to them. They connected to players' colleges and brought in public relations and social media teams to "immerse them in the NFL."

"While we can't speak and work with the NCAA athletes, we can speak and work with their teams, with their social media teams," Ellis said. "We're taking what is to some degree a casual audience, and we're bringing them in to be a more avid audience, which is critical for the NFL."

And in the 100th year of the NFL, it was important to make sure the league was in the 21st century, Ellis said. It all kicked off with a Super Bowl commercial in 2019 showcasing famous players.

"This year, we're going to have a similar approach, but we're going to be focusing on the youth," Ellis said.

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He called the 2020 commercial "passing the torch." The two-minute-long commercial will feature younger players.

"We're actually doing a casting call, if you will, which is a campaign in itself to find the top 32 players in the country, ages between 9 and 12, boy and girl," Ellis said.

He said the prospect of being in this commercial has "caught the imagination of all these kids and families."

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