NFL brings Diageo on board as first spirits sponsor
American football’s NFL has agreed a new sponsorship deal with Diageo, the international drinks giant, four years after lifting a ban on alcohol advertising on its broadcasts.
Diageo has signed a multi-year agreement to become the league’s first official spirits sponsor.
The sponsorship, which is reported to be worth $30 million per year, will feature on-site activation and engagement with adult fans, as well as broadcast, digital, and social content.
The collaboration will also include responsible drinking programmes, integration into marquee events and, starting with the 2022 season, involvement in the NFL International Series games in London.
In addition, Diageo’s Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum brand will be a presenting sponsor of the NFL's ‘Fan of the Year’ contest.
The NFL lifted its ban on liquor ads in 2017, with the caveat that they include social responsibility messages.
Diageo-owned whiskey brand Crown Royal was the first spirit to advertise during an NFL game in that year.
In 2019, the league further eased its alcohol restrictions by allowing the use of team and player likenesses in ads for beer, wine and spirits.
That came during a period where hard seltzer entered the US sports scene, including American football, with international brewing powerhouse Anheuser-Busch InBev’s alcoholic seltzer Bon and Viv signing an agreement with the NFL.
The NFL followed that up by naming AB InBev’s Babe brand as its first official wine sponsor.
AB InBev has a long-standing relationship with the NFL, with its Budweiser brand also serving as the league’s official beer.
Diageo already has a presence in the league, through existing partnerships with 12 teams and stadiums, and will now be involved in events including the league’s international games.
Renie Anderson, chief revenue officer and executive vice-president of NFL partnerships, said: "We're thrilled to welcome Diageo to the NFL family as our first ever spirits sponsor. We look forward to working with Diageo on innovative programmes to elevate their business, as well as furthering the important message around responsible drinking."