NFL Overcomes Early Season Challenges to Claim Harris Poll EquiTrend® Sports League Brand of the Year Title For the Second Year In A Row

Clif Energy Bar is also a repeat Brand of the Year; Merrell Running Shoes, Under Armour, ESPN and Cabela's all emerge as Brands of the Year

Jun 06, 2013, 10:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- It's clear that despite a bumpy start to the NFL season, Americans still support football. Not only did it retain its spot on an annual Harris Poll as America's Favorite Sport this year, but, for the second year in a row, the NFL earns the Sports League Brand of the Year in the Harris Poll EquiTrend® (EQ) study. Nearly 70 sports-related brands were assessed for 2013, including those in three new sports-related categories: Sporting Apparel, Sporting Goods Stores and Sports TV.  EquiTrend is an annual brand equity study that measures the perceptions of 38,500+ American consumers on more than 1,500 lifestyle, product and service brands and is comprised of three key factors: Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration.

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"The NFL faced challenges early in its 2012-2013 season, with the referee lockout beginning in June and replacement refs facing criticism that threatened the Brand Equity of the NFL," explains Eric Stone, Research Director at Harris Interactive. "However, after reaching an agreement with the refs in September, the NFL was able to regain its footing, thus maintaining its strong Brand Equity scores, which reached its highest point in the three years we've measured the NFL in the EquiTrend study."

"What really helped the NFL overcome these early challenges were consumer perceptions of the NFL's Brand Momentum, which is comprised of Future Outlook, Leadership, Ubiquity, Popularity and Energy," continues Stone. "For 2013, the NFL's Brand Momentum score falls in the top 20 of more than 1,500 brands measured in EquiTrend. This strong score shows consumers' faith in the long term outlook of the NFL."

Findings from the 25th annual EQ study show football to be a dominant force within the Sports League category, with NCAA Football also scoring above the category average, along with Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball.

Clif Energy Bars Climb Brand of the Year Peak Again

Another repeat Brand of the Year is Clif Energy Bars. "Clif Bar really asserts its brand dominance in more ways than one, in that its LUNA brand also out-performs the category average," remarks Mary Bouchard, Vice President and Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive.

Besides Clif Energy Bars and LUNA, Odwalla, Zone Perfect, Kashi GOLEAN and PROBAR energy bars also rank above the category average.

Come From Behind Victory for Merrell

Taking the Running Shoe Brand of the Year title for 2013 is Merrell. "In its second year in EquiTrend, Merrell has shown strong increases in Familiarity and Purchase Consideration, which has driven its overall Brand Equity score not just above the category average for 2013, but all the way into the Brand of the Year position," says Bouchard. "Merrell Running Shoes went head-to-head with high Familiarity running shoe brands like Nike and New Balance and came out top ranked."

New Balance, Nike and ASICS also come in ahead of the category average.

No Sweat – Under Armour Has the New Sports Apparel Category Covered

In the new Sporting Apparel category, Under Armour takes the inaugural Brand of the Year award against some more well-known brands like Nike and adidas. "While Under Armour has not been around as long, and consequently does not have as high a level of Familiarity, it receives strong Quality and Purchase Consideration scores," says Bouchard. Other sporting apparel brands coming in ahead of the category average include Nike, Columbia, Bauer, Champion and adidas.

Click here for full sports category results, including the following additional categories:

  • 2013 Sports TV Brand of the YearESPN Television Network
    Other brands measured – CBS Sports Television Network, Fox Sports News Channel, MLB Television Network, NBA Television Network, NBC Sports Television Network, NFL Red Zone Television Network, NFL Television Network, NHL Television Network, SPEED Television Network, Tennis Television Network, The Golf Channel Television Network
  • 2013 Sporting Goods Store Brand of the YearCabela's
    Other brands measured - Champs Sports, DICK'S Sporting Goods, Dunham's Sports, Finish Line Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, Gander Mountain, Lady Foot Locker, REI, Sports Authority

Harris Poll EquiTrend® Methodology

A sample of 38,814 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online by Harris Interactive from January 11 through February 8, 2013 and the survey took an average of 35 minutes to complete. The sample was from the Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, a database consisting of over a million cooperative respondents who have double-opted in to be randomly invited by Harris Interactive to take part in online surveys. The total number of brands rated was 1,511. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. This is the same precision weighting approach Harris has used to become the leading online polling organization when calling elections.

The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program providing an understanding of a brand's overall strength. A brand's Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.

An academic study concluded that when using the Harris Poll EquiTrend® Brand Equity model to determine brand value (as opposed to a financially-based measure of brand value), the stock performance of the top brands consistently surpassed the market during the 2008 financial downturn. The academic study findings appear in the September 2012 issue of the International Journal of Research in Marketing in the paper titled, "The Performance of Global Brands in the 2008 Financial Crisis: A Test of Two Brand Value Measures." The paper was authored by Johny K. Johansson, Claudiu V. Dimofte and Sanal K. Mazvancheryl.

The Harris Poll EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

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