When Ari Roitman, senior vice president of business for the Philadelphia Eagles, started thinking about partnering with Rovio, the creator of “Angry Birds,” the relationship between the team and the game seemed like a given. “You are just as likely to open up the paper in the morning and see ‘Birds Knock off Giants’ as you are to see ‘Eagles Knock off Giants,’ so the connection was obvious,” says Roitman.
Explaining that to a Finland-based company that’s a bit removed from the marketing horsepower of the NFL — and from Philly, for that matter — proved more challenging than expected. “We sent huge decks conveying the power of the NFL brand and spent a great deal of time selling the city of Philadelphia and its wonderful attributes,” says Roitman.
While the ubiquitous “Angry Birds” franchise has more than 200 licensing partners — from T-shirts to cookbooks to a theme park — the Eagles partnership, which launches today, is the first that the game has forged with a sports team.
While Eagles’ fans shouldn’t expect to leave the Linc loaded up with “Angry Birds” merch (the licensing issues are tricky), they can look forward to Angry Birds appearances on the scoreboard following touchdowns and big plays. Plus, fans can play the free Eagles-centric game on the team's Facebook page. A new level will be unlocked after every Eagles game this season.
If you’re questioning whether Angry Birds is getting tired, here’s your answer: "Angry Birds Space," the franchise's latest iteration, was downloaded more than 10 million times in just three days. To date, “Angry Birds” has topped 1 billion downloads. In 2011, “Angry Birds” was the sixth-most searched phrase on Yahoo!, and estimates of Rovio’s worth are as high as $9 billion.
On a more personal note, I got a sneak peek of all levels of the new Eagles game and can tell you that it’s as addictive as ever. Plus, it was great seeing all the Philly sights — LOVE Park, the Rocky Statue, the Liberty Bell and more. And I’m not alone: Even Jaws is raving about the new acquisition.
The bigger question is: Do Philly fans really need another reason to get angry?