NFL bans Apple’s Beats headphones on camera

“Remember the television commercial that opens with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick arriving at an opposing team’s stadium, where he is greeted by a throng of screaming, projectile-throwing fans? Kaepernick dons a pair of Beats by Dre noise-cancelling headphones to tune out the invective-spewing mob, affecting a stoic pose, as the slogan “Hear What You Want” appears on-screen,” Dawn Chmielewski reports for Re/code. “The professional athlete still can hear whatever he wants, but Kaepernick and other NFL players must remove their Beats headphones around the television cameras.”

“Bose secured a league sponsorship deal that effectively allows it to elbow Beats — and any other rival headphone manufacturer — off the playing field,” Chmielewski reports. “Under terms of its agreement with the league, the NFL confirmed, Bose received a broad set of rights that entitle it to prevent players (or coaches) from wearing any other manufacturer’s headphones during televised interviews.”

“The reason for the aggressive marketing tactics is clear: Beats by Dre, which Apple acquired for $3 billion earlier this year, accounts for 61 percent of the premium headphone market (costing $100 or more) in the U.S., according to researcher the NPD Group,” Chmielewski reports. “Bose had a distant 22 percent — and Sony a paltry 2 percent, the firm reported.”

Read more in the full article here.

38 Comments

    1. Nah. Most of the people mentioned above buy into the Image over Function crap that makes Beats popular. So yeah, they *could* afford it, but most have taken too many hits to the head to recognize quality, so they’ll settle for image.

      1. Bose or not, but I would rather think about banning NFL itself than Beats.

        It is highly corrupt organization that covers the fact that by far most of players gains irrecoverable brain damage.

        There is just no chance that any responsible parent would send their child to a club with this sport.

        1. You have no idea what you’re talking about. “[B]y far most of players gains irrecoverable brain damage” is categorically not true. In fact, most of the damage suffered is believed to occur in college, where there are much less stringent restrictions on full-contact practices. Also, they’re seeing the same types of CTE results in professional soccer and hockey players.

          Guess what college sport leads all sports in concussions (and by a large margin)? Women’s soccer.

    2. What a moronic statement. The guys who are buying Beats headphones, like these sports figures, listen to music (and I use the term loosely) that is mainly rap/hip hop with loads of heavy, electronic synthetic bass. That’s what Beats are good for, plus they look cool.

      Bose make a product for an entirely different demographic, and it’s not the young pro athlete. The only reason Bose entered into this agreement was to get Beats off TV, nothing more.

  1. Beats & Bose–Market leaders in overhyped, overpriced & under-performing hardware.

    And no, I still don’t see any reason why Apple needed to waste $3 BILLION on that company.

      1. Oh I think Cook is a great CEO, but on this one issue I think Apple got suckered into overpaying for Beats. I quote:

        On August 14, 2012
        Almost exactly one year ago, on August 11, 2011, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine announced that they had sold 50% of their headphone company “Beats By Dre” to Taiwanese electronics company HTC for a whopping $300 million. Today, the two moguls are spending $150 million of their own money to buy back 25% of the company, leaving them with a controlling 75% stake. HTC will retain a 25% interest.

        And two years later, Beats was suddenly worth $3 Billion?
        Seriously?

        1. Well yes. That’s what happens when sales skyrocket. I’m no fan of Beats headphones or subscription music, but…

          Here’s a company that has $1 Billion in revenue for the headphones. Now how much profit that translates into is speculative, but we know one thing… since everyone can agree that they’re over-priced, that means they must be high margin. But even if Apple were to lower the price and get a typical margin of 30-35%, we’d be looking at a P:E Ratio on just the headphone business of roughly 3… meaning it pays for itself in 3 years… which makes it a great investment just for that.

          Meanwhile Apple gets the talent, and a lot of work already done for what Apple wants to do in music subscription.

          Again, I’ve tried beats, but have never purchased a pair because I don’t particularly care for them, but for most people, they see Beats as being the best headphones on the market. This is why they’ve dominated the space in such a short time.

          Microsoft, hate them too, but their stores actually do a pretty decent job of mimicking the Apple stores (in effort, if not quality of product), but all of the headphones for demo products are Beats. Despite being an Apple product now, Microsoft is smart enough to know that most consumers see products matched with Beats and associate them as being premium.

          Moving forward, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a better quality headphone from Beats. Just as Beats brings a lot to the table for $3 Billion, Apple brings a lot back to them in terms of design, production and resources… not to mention global retail and marketing.

        2. It is possible. Consider the changes in Apple’s market cap over various two or three-year periods. Also, you almost always pay a substantial premium to acquire a company relative to its market cap.

          I, too, was skeptical about the Beats deal, but I trust that Apple management knows more than I do about the potential from that deal. Plus, you have to take some risks to stay aggressive and stay on top. Sometimes those risks don’t pan out. But I like Apple’s targeted acquisitions, individually and in aggregate, far more than other high profile acquisitions like Motorola Mobility, Skype, Nokia, etc.

    1. The deal starts making money for Apple on day-one.

      As Tim Cook said with their quarterly financials, it’s almost unheard-of that a technology acquisition does that. This was not a speculative play, it’s just a solid business acquisition (that happens to also get them two very savvy entertainment business people with the deal).

        1. Apple vexes the wise! They persist in “thinking different” than the world class stable of experts and taste setters we are privileged to know hereabouts.

          It is worth a reminder that every step they have taken for years has been labelled a mistake of some kind. Despite it all, they have undeniably become a juggernaut of commerce—acquiring so much momentum that even rivers of FUD haven’t slowed it.

    2. Beats ‘phones are at least as well made as Bose, Sony, or any of the mass-market audio manufacturers. Their audio signature is biased towards their target market, which is predominantly interested in music with a heavy bass-bias, namely dance and electro, which should be perfectly clear by the name, Beats.
      However, that is something that is very easily rectified, and many other makes of earphone and headphone also have an audio bias, so wouldn’t suit all users.
      I have a pair of Beats Solo HD’s, bought from eBay, knowing I could alter the acoustic quality easily with an app on my phone, and the sound quality, with a boost from around 300Hz upwards to 16kHz, and a slight boost to the lowest bass from 128Hz down to 32 means they sound easily as good as my UE SuperFi 3 Studio or my Shure SE215 IEM’s.
      I have a number of pairs of ‘phones, and all of them, apart from my UE TripleFi 10 Pro’s, need tweaking for my satisfaction, so there’s nothing unusual about the Beats Solo HD’s, and style-wise, comfort, and portability, they are as good as anything else I’ve seen and auditioned up to around £300.
      Mine cost me £70.

    1. huh? The NFL is an employer. Most employers have rules, including dress codes. Some companies have employees sign annual code of conduct updates. Obviously the only people who have a problem with this are the bad actors who don’t want to act with integrity or the ego-driven asshats who think that what they wear makes them more noteworthy. Cheers to the NFL for FINALLY making its players — who, whether you like it or not, are highly visible to fans of all ages and therefore must be held accountable to a very high standard — have to start dressing and acting the type of role model that the media makes them to be. Now about domestic violence — it’s still a problem and there should be no acceptable level for that in any way. We all know that much of the out-of-control rage is driven by steroid and illicit drug use. How about cracking down on that, NFL?

  2. Bose is all about advertising, name recognition. Not about the best product.
    Bose ad in every magazine, cooking, gardening, you name it. The wife says, Bose are good. All she knows is that the ads are everywhere she looks. She has heard of Bose, Not Beats, Sennheiser or AKG, or any other high quality headphones. I have never owned a Bose product nor will I ever own a Bose product. Over priced and overrated.

      1. For the performance you get? Absolutely, Bose is overpriced. Compare comparably priced products from the aforementioned Sennheiser, AKG, Grado, or any number of other headphone makers that don’t shell out millions of dollars on ad campaigns and corporate sponsorships. Grado does almost zero marketing and hand builds their headphones in Brooklyn, yet their models that sell for less than $100 will outclass competing headphones that cost more than double.

        BTW, I put Beats in the same category as Bose — overpriced, overmarketed, and underperforming. Apple is not in that same category because they deliver an overarching ecosystem and products that are well engineered and with often class-leading performance.

    1. I agree with most of what you said, but you imply that Beats are quality like Sennheiser of AKG. Sorry, but I disagree. Bose has done some good stuff in the past, but you are correct that they now are also in the name game more than the quality game.

    2. Bose are to HiFi what Bang & Olufsen are; posy toys designed to look good to your middle-class friends who never actually listen to music, just have it around to avoid having awkward silences.

    3. Well then, your bias is emblazoned clearly for all to see. Sound and hearing like all other personal likes and dislikes are highly subjective. If you’ve never owned Bose, your objections are based only on the specs… but specs have little to do with your listening experience. I own Bose, Shure 5 series, will buy the 6 series, I love the Klipsch ear buds, some Bose head phones, and love the open air quality of Sennheiser… some times. They all have their foibles as I’m sure this is also true of Beats, which my 20 year old son loves more than all the other mentioned phones. But try listening with your ears and not just printed specs. You may be surprised at what you hear.

  3. Bose deal here could totally backfire. They make Beats the “outlaw” renegade brand in the NFL that Beats wants to be. Plus shots of players wearing headphones are pretty fleeting already, mostly getting on and off planes and practicing before the game (in both cases only seen by small fraction of TV audience). However, they have these things all commercials that happen during the game that almost everyone sees. Now Beats can run a commercial with the hottest players (not in uniform of course) and that is the image people will associate and remember. Beats could buy advertising in stadiums and everyone Kap throws a TD to Crabtree the brand you see in the background would be Beats. What does Bose get for enduring image? The coaches wearing the headsets. Usually the sideline shots are of coaches (mostly older, mostly fatter, mostly not attractive lot) screaming and ripping off the headsets to yell at refs. Oh and how long before gorilla marketing that Bose is the official headphone of wife beaters. Official licensing is big in sports but with exception of Nike hasn’t always worked good for the brand who takes that route.

  4. Yeah, but I was reading something the other day about iPad bans as well since the league signed that $400M deal with Microsoft to use the Surface tablets. And then to have announcers refer to them as iPads in the first week, classic.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.