Jarryd Hayne: An opportunity?

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Last week I wrote a story about how proud I was of Jarryd Hayne following his pre-season hit out for the San Francisco 49’ers against the Houston Texans (you can read that story here).

Can you imagine how I am feeling today after his second game which was yesterday?

Excited is an understatement and I know I am not the only one.

The media are now on board too and have decided that Jarryd must make the San Francisco 49ers’ 53-man squad following his performance against the Cowboys. There is now even interest from other NFL teams! His stats for his game yesterday are as follows – he returned three punts for 84 yards with his first punt return counting for 27 yards. He also had 8 carries for 54 yards.

I’m not going to pretend that I understand what any of that means, but my NFL friends inform me that our kid is doing pretty well. I could not be more delighted – we all knew that Jarryd was talented, but there was much doubt about whether he would make it in the NFL. This is one of my favourite ever ‘follow your dreams’ stories.

I was thinking this morning about the opportunity which this now presents for the NRL, the NFL and more specifically the San Francisco 49’ers and the Parramatta Eels.

Whilst the NFL is already a world brand, the very fact that the Americans are calling the NRL ‘rugby’, suggests that we have a long way to go in marketing our game.

Surely the success of Jarryd Hayne presents a tremendous opportunity to do this?

The interest in Jarryd at the moment is undeniable. He is new. He is fresh. He is talented. Let’s claim him as our own and show him and the game that made him a star off.

When I think about myself, I am now beginning to show a minor interest in the NFL, a sport which I previously had no interest in. Watching the highlights of Jarryd’s hit-outs has been my first introduction to the game and I am now likely to continue to watch him and follow his progress. The San Francisco 49’ers now have another fan (albeit a useless one), but Jarryd being part of this team has at least made me take notice of the sport.

Surely this opportunity now exists to market the NRL in the United States. Even if the American population do not all become fully fledged NRL fans, there is at least some interest in where Jarryd has come from and this ‘rugby’ sport which turned him into the star we see today.

The NRL should begin thinking about marketing opportunities in the US – perhaps there would even be appetite for some of the teams to go over and play a game and show off our game.

The next area I see as an opportunity for more exposure is through merchandise. Surely an arrangement can be teed up between the San Francisco 49’ers and the Parramatta Eels for next year where we cross-sell jerseys and merchandise.

I have no doubt that there will be interest in Australia for a jersey with Jarryd’s name on it and if even one extra Parramatta Eels scarf can be sold in the United States, it is a plan I am on board with.

I see massive potential here. Regardless of what sport Jarryd is playing, I know that he still has a deep love and commitment to the Parramatta Eels and I am sure would do whatever he could to encourage a relationship between his new team and the team that made him.

Now if you’ll excuse me all… I’m now going to do some research to learn what a kick return is.

Love,

Ladies who League xxx