The National Football League (NFL) has amended its advertising policy to allow TV commercials for distilled spirits to be aired during the upcoming 2017 season.
Under revised guidelines the league will permit up to four 30 second spots promoting strong alcohol per match, with no more than two adverts allowed in any one quarter or during the half-time break.
The move will affect all four of the NFL’s television partners; ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC – each of whom will also be allowed to run two additional spots in their respective pre and post-match programming.
The only other broadcast restrictions associated with such commercials are that they must carry a ‘prominent’ social responsibility message, convey a football related theme or target underage drinkers.
In relaxing its outright ban the NFL will be eyeing a share of the $411m spent on US advertising by spirits manufacturers last year, broadening its advertising base beyond beer, cars and consumer goods in the process.
While the league is becoming more open in some respects it will maintain a puritanical ban on advertising all forms of birth control, including condoms, as well as energy drinks and performance enhancing drugs.
Another red line comes in the form of gambling, which goes so far as to ban ads for places associated with the vice such as Las Vegas while violent videogames and films, as judged by the league’s own censors, are also a no-no.
The NFL has been stepping up efforts to strike up broadcast and digital subscription deals beyond its home market in recent months to drive viewers and revenues.