Bridgestone Expands Deal With NFL But Drops Super Bowl Halftime Show

By Barry Janoff

June 19, 2012: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations said today that it has revised its contract with the NFL via a deal that extends through March 31, 2016.

Under terms of the new alliance, Bridgestone said it would "shift its focus from sponsoring the Super Bowl Halftime Show to reinforcing the Bridgestone brand performance message, starting at the NFL Combine and culminating at the Super Bowl." The tire company said the new alliance would enable it to engage "more closely with consumers by allowing exclusive behind-the-scenes access at key NFL events throughout the year."

The deal replaces a five-year agreement that the tire brand and the NFL signed in 2010, which would have seen Bridgestone remain as Super Bowl halftime title sponsor through Super Bowl XLIX. Bridgestone and the NFL have been official marketing parnters since 2007.

Financial terms of the revised deal were not disclosed. The NFL said that it already has initiated talks to replace Bridgestone as the Super Bowl halftime title sponsor.

“We have achieved great exposure for the Bridgestone brand through the Bridgestone Super Bowl Halftime Show and the commercials we have showcased over the past five years,” Philip Dobbs, CMO for Bridgestone Americas, said in a statement. “But this revised sponsorship is an even better fit for where we are now as a brand, and we truly appreciate the NFL for helping us get here. It makes good business sense at this point for us to spread out our investment throughout the year and take advantage of the excitement associated with the NFL shield."

Bridgestone had been title sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show since Super Bowl XLII (2008, replacing Pepsi), when Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performed. Bridgestone has since had its name on the halftime show at Super Bowl XLIII (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band), XLIV (The Who), XLV (The Black Eyed Peas) and Super Bowl XLVI (Madonna), the longest consecutive run in Super Bowl halftime history.

Bridgestone said it would still be associated with the Super Bowl via consumer-related activation.

According to Bridgestone, the company will continue to uses its “Time to Perform” campaign to focus on "highlighting outstanding NFL team and player performances on a weekly basis via digital and broadcast media, culminating in awarding the top performance of the year during Super Bowl week."

The next Super Bowl halftime sponsorship deal might be lucrative and historic. It would start with Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and then could include Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona and Super Bowl L at a site still to be determined.

Bridgestone said that its marketing efforts would expand upon national advertising, consumer marketing programs and promotions and broadcast and online media elements.

According to Keith Turner, the NFL’s svp-media sales and sponsorship, “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Bridgestone Americas. Performance is core to both the NFL and to Bridgestone’s tires, and we are excited to continue working together to reach our fans in innovative ways all year round.”

"With this new agreement, Bridgestone Americas is ready to take full advantage of the opportunities the NFL has to offer."

“The NFL has done an outstanding job of building its brand, supporting its sponsors, and generating year-round excitement,” Dobbs added. “We have seen tremendous results from our sponsorship over the past five years, and with this new agreement, Bridgestone Americas is ready to take full advantage of the opportunities the NFL has to offer. We are looking forward to extending the Bridgestone brand’s reach throughout the entire NFL season.”

Bridgestone is also the official tire of the NHL and NHLPA and title sponsor of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the official tire of the PGA Tour, title sponsor of the World Golf Championships–Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio; and has naming rights to the Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL's Nashville Predators.

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