The Money Game

Despite the NFL's problems, the league remains the premier advertising and marketing platform for companies that target men. An official sponsorship lets companies use all NFL and team logos in their marketing and promotions, and get value from being seen on television during games (in sideline Gatorade dunks, for example). Rival companies that lose out on an official deal cleverly formulate counterstrategies to associate themselves with NFL teams and players. Here are the marketing muscle matchups in four popular advertising categories.

Official Sponsor Competitor
Beer In 2005, Coors Brewing Co. agreed to pay $500 million over five years to be the league's brew, a 67% increase from its previous deal. Annually, the NFL takes $30 million; the other $70 million is earmarked for advertising and promotion. Anheuser-Busch has individual deals with 28 teams at an estimated cost of $30 million annually. Deals with the networks have made it the exclusive Super Bowl beer advertiser through 2012 (a position it has held since 1989), locking out Coors and Miller.
Soft Drinks and Snacks PepsiCo is spending more than $1 billion on two deals: In 2004, it agreed to pay $560 million for Pepsi (soft drink), Frito-Lay (snack food), and Tropicana (juice); and $500 million for Gatorade (sports drink). Both expire February 2011. Coca-Cola spent just under $10 million on 90 seconds of ad time during the last Super Bowl; it has individual sponsorships with 15 teams, spending roughly $15 million annually. Recent acquisition Glacéau has deals with five marquee players.
Apparel Beginning with the 2002 season, Reebok (later acquired by Adidas) agreed to a 10-year, $250 million deal to be the official outfitter of the NFL. Nike has endorsement deals with nearly 900 NFL players, spending an estimated $100 million annually.
Cars General Motors spends at least $140 million a year to be the NFL's car of choice. It's the number-one TV advertiser during games. GM's four-year deal—signed in 2005—splits official vehicle status among GMC trucks (regular season), Cadillac (Super Bowl and Pro Bowl), and Hummer (NFL Draft). Ford Motor Co. is the number-three TV advertiser during games, spending roughly $95 million per year. Chairman Bill Ford reportedly paid $40 million to name Detroit's football stadium Ford Field through 2022. The Detroit Lions are owned by Ford's father, William Clay Ford Sr.

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