These Are the Sponsors of the NFL's 100th Anniversary

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The 100th season of the National Football League occurs this year, with celebrations across the weekly games, through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl next February 2. It is a marketer’s dream, but an expensive one. League sponsorship income is estimated at $1.3 billion a year.

The advantages of NFL sponsorship vary from company to company, as do the costs. The larger sponsors like Visa, which has been with the league since 1995, use the NFL logo on a number of its promotions. It also participates in a number of NFL events and is a major advertiser on NFL televised games, although sponsorship does not cover that cost. Companies must buy their advertising independently of their relationship with the league. The 100th anniversary will offer particularly wide opportunities for visibility. According to Sports Business Daily, Courtyard by Marriott and Verizon also are set to activate around the 100th season platform. AB InBev, one of the league’s most active sponsors, is expanding its NFL portfolio with its Bon & Viv brand (now the league’s official hard seltzer).

Most NFL sponsorships are exclusive by category. Gatorade, which has a number of competitors in the sports drink industry, has been the sole sports nutrition drink sponsor since 1983. FedEx has been the exclusive package delivery system and office supplier since 2000.

More recently, the benefits of NFL sponsorship have added exposure on the field during games. Microsoft is the sole sponsor for laptops, PC operating systems and tablets. When television networks that cover games pan the sidelines, there are coaches and players using Microsoft Surface tablets to track and analyze the action. Oakley, the sunglass maker, has become the league’s most recent sponsor, with exclusivity for player visors. Players who want protection for their eyes and faces must use visors supplied by Oakley. Players used to wear dark visors, but the league eventually banned them. They can now wear clear ones from Oakley.

There are several benefits of NFL league-wide sponsorship. Some of the NFL’s 35 sponsors have been with the league for decades. Due to the NFL’s popularity, it remains the most financially successful sports league. Its TV ratings are also the highest for any sport in America. After a dip last year, the ratings are growing again during the 2019 season. Some teams are sold out of season tickets. The Super Bowl is among the most-watched television events of the year — 98 million Americans watched it last year. Millions more watch it overseas, and it is easily the biggest day in advertising of the year. These are the 50 biggest Super Bowl advertisers of all time.

With the new NFL season barely weeks old, the lineup for the 10th anniversary has been set.

Sponsor Category Since
News America Super Bowl FSI 1979
Gatorade (PepsiCo) Sports nutrition 1983
Visa Payment systems services 1995
Campbell’s Soup Soup 1998
FedEx Package delivery services, office supply retailer 2000
Frito-Lay (PepsiCo) Salted snacks/popcorn/peanuts/dips/salsa 2000
Mars Snackfoods (Snickers/Skittles/M&M’s) Chocolate/non-chocolate confectionery 2002
Pepsi Soft drinks 2002
Dairy Management Inc. Dairy products (milk/yogurt/cheese) 2003
Bridgestone Automotive tires 2007
Procter & Gamble (Febreze, Secret, Vicks, Head & Shoulders, Gillette, Secret, Old Spice, Tide) OTC grooming, fabric/air care, household needs, OTC 2009
Verizon* Wireless, local long distance telecom services 2010
Barclays Affinity card/rewards program 2010
Castrol Motor oil 2010
Anheuser-Busch Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, hard seltzer) 2011
USAA** Auto, home, life insurance; military appreciation 2011
Bose Home theater system, headsets, headphones 2011
Courtyard by Marriott Hotel 2011
Quaker Oats (PepsiCo) Hot cereal, granola bars 2012
Microsoft (Surface, Windows) Tablets, laptops, operating systems 2011
Zebra Technologies Real time location solutions, on-field player tracking 2014
Extreme Networks Wi-Fi analytics, network solutions 2013
Nationwide** Auto, home, life insurance 2014
Genesis Luxury automotive 2015
Dannon Yogurt/yogurt-based smoothies 2015
Ford Trucks 2015
Intel Volumetric image/video capture 2017
Amazon Web Services Cloud infrastructure/platform, machine learning, AI 2017
Aramark B2B marketing rights 2017
Pizza Hut Pizza carry-out, delivery, frozen 2018
Sleep Number Mattresses, sleep tracking, bedding, sleep/wellness 2018
Intuit Financial services 2018
Caesars Casino 2019
Lowe’s Home improvement 2019
Oakley Visors 2019

Courtesy of Sports Business Daily.
Notes: *Verizon’s deal for smart communities services and digital media video services is nonexclusive. **Nationwide and USAA have co-exclusivity in the auto/home/life insurance category. Amazon Web Services deal is nonexclusive. The list does not include the following licensees/partners: SiriusXM, Ticketmaster, Under Armour, New Era and Nike.

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