As a non-sports-type geek, there’s not an evident overlap between the two circles of that Venn Diagram. Certainly being a sports fan does not preclude one from being a Star Wars fan, or vice-versa. The two fandoms are simply not as aligned as, say, “sports + cars” or “Star Wars + comic books.”
My train of thought is that Star Wars is ubiquitous, and everyone who wants to be aware of it and excited about it already is. There is almost no one who might be buying a movie ticket that isn’t aware of Star Wars, for good or for ill. So reaching out to the football crowd achieves nothing. It makes a group of people who are generally not known for their love of sci-fi have to endure the lead up and aftermath of an enormous media event, and it makes a group of geeks have to tune into a sporting event. It’s seemingly lose-lose.
Finally, however, I saw how the pieces fit together. The media behemoth that is Disney is the owner of both the Star Wars and ESPN properties. It’s synergy.
“This is a trailer that turns the game into something bigger,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, a global media-measuring company, said. “This suddenly is appointment television.”
This brings in higher ratings for a middling, low interest game, and taps into an excitable fanbase with the Star Wars crowd.
In short, the decision wasn’t aimed at football fans or Star Wars fans. It was aimed at generating numbers. At the end of the day, people got their football game, we got our trailer, and Disney got the numbers they were looking for across the board.