The National Football League will partner with Diageo Spirits starting in 2022 on a multi-year deal that will be the league’s first dealing with spirits. The $30 million Diageo Spirits sponsorship could pave the way for other similar deals in the foreseeable future.
Diageo is a London, England-based company that will focus on promoting its Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Crown Royal brands as a primary goal. Diageo will create digital content to be spread on social media platforms and television broadcasts as well as providing physical promotion at on-site events throughout the season.
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$30 Million Diageo Spirits Sponsorship
The Spirits company already had deals in place with 12 NFL teams, but securing a partnership with the league itself will be monumental for them and for the league as a whole. This deal became possible after a 2019 decision to allow players and teams to promote alcohol brands and will be coming to life this fall.
Advertising for alcoholic drinks during football games had been limited to four times per broadcast, although this may be subject to change following the NFL’s new deal with Diageo, who had a net income of 1.454 billion Euros in 2020.
Part of this deal includes a sponsorship for the league’s “Fan of the Year” award, which will be presented by Crown Royal. Diageo will also receive special opportunities during the 2022 International Series games in London.
The NFL has partnered with alcoholic companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev before, but were less receptive to dealing with spirits. Crown Royal was the first spirit to feature in a commercial during an NFL game in 2017 after the league amended previous decisions that limited the scale of alcoholic advertising. Part of Crown Royal’s marketing campaign included a segment that encouraged drinking in moderation and staying hydrated throughout the day to maintain healthy habits.
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In what now looks like a brilliant chess move, an NFL executive stated that a major factor in getting this deal over the line was Diageo’s commitment to responsible drinking, which will feature throughout its promotional efforts.
“What they’ve done from a responsibility standpoint to us really stood head and shoulders above other spirit companies in the marketplace,” said Vice President of business development and sponsorship for the NFL, Nana-Yaw Asamoah.
Opening the door to the advertising of spirits raises the possibility of the NFL providing them either at every stadium or the individual teams that Diageo has sponsorships with, or even partnering with cannabis companies despite a large history of opposing marijuana usage.
Steps towards marijuana allowance were taken for the first time this offseason when the NFL removed testing from April 20 to August 9— with increased legalization nationally and the league having now taken a step away from its comfort zone and dealing with Diageo, nobody really knows what the future may hold.
Diageo executives have been angling towards an eventual deal with the league since first striking a deal at the team level a few years ago. Now, having agreed to a deal with the league, Diageo has the opportunity to expand its brand on the most-watched shows on weekly television. This was a power play that had been well orchestrated since first appearing in the NFL’s timeslot in 2017, and hints at future expansion within the league.
The partnership will go into effect during the first weekend of the 2022 season and run through the Super Bowl for multiple years.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.