Bose has been stamped as the official headphones of the NFL, booting the popular Beats by Dre out of any NFL camera frame. Despite Beats’ promotional deals with NFL Pro Bowlers, like Colin Kaepernick (a major poster child for Beats) and Cam Newton, the quarterbacks won’t be able to don their Apple headphones during any interviews post game (ala the Beats commercial with Richard Sherman), or any other NFL-affiliated events for that matter. This new agreement was the result of Beats by Dre headphones popping up in NFL broadcasts inspite of the agreement NFL reached with Bose back in August to make that company’s products the official sound system of the league.
This isn’t the first time this season music and football have come head to head. In August, band managers vehemently opposed the NFL’s “pay to play” arrangement in which potential Super Bowl Halftime performers were asked to provide the league with a percentage of their future tour earnings, if they wanted to play the desirable halftime show; in effect, a bidding war between artists. The scheme was immediately called out by the music industry. Then in September, CBS reneged and then rescheduled Rihanna’s planned pregame performance of “Run This Town,” a move that many, including Rihanna herself, saw as punishment towards a domestic violence victim. At the time, she furiously tweeted, “CBS, you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday. No, f— you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this. The audacity…” All this in the wake of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal does not put the NFL in a positive light.
Also on the list of Apple products banned by the NFL are iPads, since the league made a deal with Microsoft to guarantee players only use Microsoft’s Surface tablets while on the sidelines reviewing plays. The five year deal between Microsoft and the NFL was arranged by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who now owns the Los Angeles Clippers, and maintains his anti-Apple position with that franchise. As for the Bose versus Beats, it isn’t likely Dr. Dre and Jimmy Lovine will be invited back to the sidelines of Seattle’s CenturyLink Field again, and meanwhile Bose has recruited Clay Matthews and Russell Wilson to wear Bose headphones, while also adopting the slogan, “Official sound of the NFL,” for the company. Beats by Dre accounts for sixty-one percent of all $100+ headphone sales, while Bose holds second place at only twenty-two percent, although the subliminal presence of Bose in millions of homes every Sunday could potentially narrow that gap drastically.