Sponsorship revenue for the National Football League (NFL) and its 32 teams rose 4.4 per cent to $1.2bn in the 2015-2016, but it is a far cry from the 7.8 per cent rise in the previous year, according to a report from IEG, a WPP-owned practice and part of ESP Properties that focuses on sports, arts, entertainment and other sectors.
This year’s increase exceeds the 4.1 per cent surge in overall 2015 sponsorship spending, but lags slightly behind the 4.5 per cent increase in the sports category as a whole.
“Corporate interest in the NFL remains strong. Few properties can offer mass reach, a connection with die-hard fans and in-demand content like the NFL,” said William Chipps, IEG Sponsorship Report senior editor.
Hyundai Motor Company signed on as an official sponsor this season, replacing General Motors, which had been an NFL sponsor since 2001. The most active sponsors this season, in order, were Gatorade (with 100 per cent of properties reporting them as a sponsor), Anheuser-Busch InBev (88 per cent), Papa John’s (61 per cent), Verizon (58 per cent), Microsoft (52 per cent) and PepsiCo (52 per cent).
Both Gatorade and Anheuser-Busch InBev have been sponsors in the league and with teams since the early 1980s.
The most active categories were insurance (with Geico as the most active in the category), quick service restaurants, food, medical services, automotive and banks. Gaming was also quite active, with FanDuel among the more active brands.
Top team sponsorship revenues included the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins.