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A Touchdown Talk: A Glimpse into the Strategy of the NFL with William Deng

A Touchdown Talk: A Glimpse into the Strategy of the NFL with William Deng

GVS parent William Deng spoke to Upper School students about his role as Head of Corporate Strategy at the National Football League (NFL), offering a captivating glimpse into the inner workings of the renowned sports organization. 

Deng, father to Marshall (Pre-K) and Wyatt (2nd Grade), kicked off his presentation with an exclusive peek into a video produced annually by NFL Films, taking students on a journey through the exhilarating highlights of this past football season. Students were on the edge of their seats as play-by-play moments unfolded on screen, garnering some pronounced “oohs and aahs” along the way.

Delving deeper, Deng shared insights into the elite world of the NFL, explaining the rigorous process of actually securing a spot on an NFL roster as a player, a feat achieved by 0.005% of hopefuls. With a touch of humor, he quipped, "If you ever aspire to join the NFL, taking my path might just be the easiest route."

But Deng's path wasn't without its own twists and turns, likening his journey to Sheryl Crow's "Everyday is a Winding Road." Prior to assuming his current role in 2023, Deng spent eight years in the NFL’s Media Strategy & Business Development group, spearheading various media partnerships. With a background in finance and strategy from esteemed institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Interbrand, and The Clinton Foundation, Deng holds a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Diving into riveting statistics, Deng revealed football's status as America's favorite sport, capturing the hearts of 70% of the population, with NFL programming ranking 93rd among the top 100 programs—and continuing to grow globally. Also on the rise, is the NFL's Flag Football League, now a part of the LA Olympics in 2028.

Highlighting the NFL's staggering $20 Billion annual revenue stream from media, ticket sales, events, merchandise, and sponsorships, Deng offered students a glimpse into the multitude of career opportunities within the NFL, spanning strategy, content production, legal, and beyond.

With a focus on his role as Head of Corporate Strategy, Deng simplified the term “strategy,” defining it as setting a goal, and then creating a plan to achieve that goal. His specific responsibilities include identifying trends, setting goals around long-term growth potential, and ensuring everyone stays on task and works together. From enhancing game safety and excitement to engaging the next generation of fans, Deng's strategic vision encompassed every facet of the NFL's operations.

In closing, Deng imparted invaluable advice on the power of networking, resilience, and self-discovery, urging students to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. “Always listen, work hard, learn your strengths, and don't be afraid to fail and try again.”

As his words lingered in the air, students departed with newfound inspiration and a deeper understanding of the NFL's inner workings.