The NFL is reportedly close to loosening its restrictions on alcohol sponsorships for its teams and players, according to an email which was leaked to Morning Consult.
The alterations focus on not only the use of a team’s branding in marketing content, but it is also expected that alcohol brands will be able to utilise player’s images to market products, if they are partnered with the team.
The changes are also reportedly applicable to the league’s official sponsor, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Bud Light, meaning that the adjustments could have a significant impact on the partnership portfolios of many teams.
Current restrictions are seen as deeply limiting for alcohol partners of NFL teams, with brands unable to use an individual player to promote their brand, but having to use a minimum of six players. It has been reported that the new legislation on alcohol sponsorship will be applicable to adverts for beer, distilled spirits and wine, and will come into effect as soon as next season.
The news will serve to accelerate the continued expansion of the NFL’s sponsorship capabilities, with research firm IEG revealing last year that total sponsorship spending on the league 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 Intuit, McDonald’s, Pizza 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.