Eagles, Rovio announce an Angry Birds deal

A screenshot from the Angry Birds and Philadelphia Eagles promotional video.
A screenshot from the Angry Birds and Philadelphia Eagles promotional video.
Posted: June 15, 2012

With more than one billion downloads, Angry Birds is one of the most popular game apps in the world.

And now, the Eagles — Go, Birds! — are seizing on the branding synergy.

The team and Finland's Rovio Entertainment, creator of Angry Birds, announced Wednesday a marketing and partnership deal in which characters from the game will be used as animated team mascots. The Eagles said they are the first sports franchise globally to sign a deal with Angry Birds.

Financial details were not disclosed, but the agreement seems to benefit both parties. The Birds will use the bird characters to connect with fans, and Rovio will test the football market with an iteration of its current game, perhaps with an eye toward taking it to other NFL markets.

Ari Roitman, senior vice president for business with the Eagles, said the Angry Birds were a "perfect brand fit." Though the team believes Angry Birds will reach all Eagles fans, they should be highly effective, he said, in reaching the "app and social-media generation."

Roitman was not prepared to talk about an Eagles video game component, but he said more details would be available as football season nears.

Another Eagles official said the team will produce original videos using the bird characters to be played at Lincoln Financial Field during games. On Wednesday, the Eagles posted four of the Angry Birds characters wearing helmets on its Facebook page.

To help announce the deal, the Eagles released an animated video of Andy Reid introducing four Angry Birds characters — Red Bird, Yellow Bird, Bomb Bird, and Terence — as new members of the football team.

The animated Reid also mentions a new Angry Bird — the "Mighty Philadelphia Eagle." In the game now, a "Mighty Eagle" swoops into action as a problem-solver.

Angry Birds seem to fly just about everywhere these days. Apple's App Store on the iPhone currently lists eight free or 99-cent games, including Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Seasons, and the movie-linked Angry Birds Rio. The franchise has similar offerings for the iPad and other platforms, including Android phones and tablets.

Released in 2009, Angry Birds is widely considered among the biggest app successes of all time. Using a touch screen, a player launches cartoon birds from a slingshot to destroy snorting cartoon pigs, whose elaborate defenses become increasingly difficult to penetrate as the game goes on.

Those defenses are easier to defeat when players purchase powerful attack birds, such as the "Mighty Eagle," within the game.

"I think it's fairly clever," Scott Steinberg, head of the business-consulting firm TechSavvy in Seattle and a video game expert, said of the Eagles/Rovio partnership. He described Angry Birds as a classic video game that's "easy to learn, difficult to master and addictive."

Contact Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or bob.fernandez@phillynews.com.

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