Research firm IEG has revealed total sponsorship spending on the National Football League (NFL) and its 32 teams rose 5.1% to $1.39bn in the 2018-2019 season. This follows a 5.9% gain last year and outperformed the industry, which averaged 4.1% year-on-year gains.

IEG reported that the growth was strengthened by a spate of new league-wide sponsorships including IntuitMcDonald’sPizza Hut and Sleep Number. Also contributing was a major spike in casino/gaming deals including the recently announced tie-up with Caesar’s Entertainment which became the league’s first-ever “Official Casino Partner.” The partnership is said to be worth $30m per year. Caesar’s also has deals with seven NFL clubs.

Peter Laatz, Global Managing Director at IEG, explained: “The NFL and its teams have successfully leveraged the increased ability to sign betting and gambling partners. It allowed the league to defy the odds and increase sponsorship revenue by a decent margin coming off a season of declining ratings in 2017-18 and no new stadiums opening in 2018-19.”

In terms of number of deals activity in the lottery and gaming category was actually very similar to the 2017-18 season said the firm. However, spending in the category greatly increased. While casinos are signing top-tier deals with NFL properties, Daily Fantasy providers are cutting back on their spending with NFL teams or dropping deals completely.

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