A new rule on the field restricts National Football League players from wearing Beats by Dre headphones during the game and all NFL-related broadcasts (training camp and practice session interviews included). The Dr. Dre- and Jimmy Iovine-helmed brand currently counts Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton as part of its promotional roster.
The league announced in August that it instead commissioned Bose, another luxury audio brand, as the official headset, reports HipHopDX. Players caught on camera with the Beats Electronic gear will face a fine.
Although Newton and Kaeperick's deals "are not expected" to be affected, Beats is not taking it quietly. "Over the last few years athletes have written Beats into their DNA as part of the pre-game ritual,” a spokesperson for the company said. “Music can have a significant positive effect on an athlete’s focus and mental preparedness and has become as important to performance as any other piece of equipment."
The move is not unusual, the league insists, citing internal policies that date back to the early '90s. With millions of viewers in the audience, their marketing game has become quite a tight ship. Reportedly, Microsoft antes up $400 million to have Surface as the official tablet used by coaches and players.
Beats, too, has become a marketing monster. In addition to league players, music stars like Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga have been a part of their official advertising campaigns, even before the company was acquired by Apple for some $3 billion.
The brand also counts in its history Pharrell Williams, who was on hand to kick off the 2014 NFL season, and M.I.A., who has a strained relationship with the league after flipping off the crowd during Super Bowl XLVI. The two are said to have consulted with the company during the headphones' development stage.
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(Photo: Beats by Dre)