Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: The NFL and Us

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in New York City for Inman Connect, a yearly conference where innovation meets real estate and where leaders in our industry come together to brainstorm and share ideas. While at Inman, I participated in a panel discussion—“Creating Motivation Through Accountability”—and attended several events to talk shop with both new and old friends. (To see what other attendees are saying about the conference, scroll through #ICNY.)

Because New York is, well … New York, I’ve also had the opportunity to do some incredible networking while I’m here in the Big Apple like being at the NASDAQ Closing Bell Ceremony or, thanks to my pal, Max Paulsen who works at the NFL, tour the National Football League headquarters on Park Avenue.


Speaking at ‪Inman Connect‬ on “Creating Motivation through Accountability,” along with Amy Bayer, co-founder and co-CEO of PorchLight Real Estate Group and Joseph Rand, general counsel and managing partner, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Rand Realty. The session was moderated by Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

For this week’s post, I’d like to talk a little more about my visit to the NFL HQ, which was particularly meaningful because as I walked through the beautiful offices—football memorabilia on display—I couldn’t help but think about the similarities between their business and ours.  Like Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the NFL is a franchisor and has created an incredible network of franchisees—the 32 football teams in the league—that has grown to become one of the most powerful franchise networks in the world. Just as we do at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the NFL fiercely protects and safeguards its brands, understanding the value of each brand and how easily that value can be tarnished if not treated with the proper amount of attention, respect and care.


At NFL Headquarters with Kevin Ostler, HSF Affiliates director of communications and PR, and Chris Stuart, director of franchise sales for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Additionally, the football teams themselves are very much like our network’s members. Each player supports one another for the success of the team as a whole and leaders emerge from the group to help guide other players to victory. Also, NFL teams are more than just the sum of what they do on the field, similar to the way real estate agents are more than professionals who help clients buy and sell homes. As agents, you know how important this transaction is to your clients—perhaps the most important transaction of their lives—and likewise, football players understand their role not just as quarterback or tight end but also as idols and
heroes to their fans. And they help out the community in which they play as any true hero should; through charity programs and initiatives like the 49ers Foundation that supports underprivileged youth in the San Francisco area. Agents, too, are avid community activists, working each day to make their neighborhood a better place for all. Think about the great work we do for the Sunshine Kids and the parallels here are easily drawn.

So, what’s the message? When you stop and analyze it, the NFL is just like us. The NFL’s clients (the fans) enthusiastically respect NFL brands, much like your clients enthusiastically respect yours. And while I haven’t yet heard of clients lining up at one of the network’s real estate offices to get an appointment with an agent like NFL fans line up for games, (you’re always ready to see your clients, right?) it’s not unusual to hear about sellers who decide to list with a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices agent in part because they want our sign in their yard, or about customers walking into one of our network’s locations across the country simply because they love the brand.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

2 responses to Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: The NFL and Us

  1. Interesting correlation/connection between real estate and professional football. You’ve demonstrated that when we look for similarities instead of differences we’re able to learn, grow and spot opportunities others might miss! Great seeing you Gino.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s