By Barry Janoff
February 7, 2017: The first overtime game in Super Bowl history, which saw the New England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28, drew an average of 111.9 viewers on Fox.
The overtime win turned out to a win for Fox, as well, which was charging a Super Bowl record of $5 million for 30-second spots.
Despite challenged TV ratings throughout the season and such issues as player health, team relocations and "Deflate-Gate," sponsorship spend on the NFL hit a record $1.25 billion in 2016, up $5 million over 2015, when spend was $1.2 billion.
However, "hampered by sluggish TV ratings," spend on the NFL and its 32 teams was up 4.3% over 2015 after rising 4.4% the previous year, according to research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago.
The increase exceeds the 4.2% increase in overall sponsorship spending in 2016 but is behind the 4.7% increase in overall sports spending.
Over the past five years, sponsorship spend on the NFL has risen from $946 million in 2011 to $1.01 billion (2012) $1.07 billion (2013) and $1.15 billion (2014).
Beer, led by Anheuser-Busch, was the top sponsor category, with brewers spending 5.5 times more on NFL properties than the average category, with Bud Light as the official beer sponsor for the league.
Automobiles, driven by Ford’s new deal as the league’s official truck and Hyundai’s position as the official car, SUV, crossover and luxury vehicle, was second, with companies in the category spending 4.9 times more on NFL properties than the average category, according to IEG’s 2016 NFL Sponsorship Spending Report.
Anheuser-Busch was the exclusive beer sponsor during Fox' national broadcast of Super Bowl LI, as it will continue to be a Super Bowl national broadcasts via a deal that currently runs through 2022.
Car companies that were part of Super Bowl LI included Audi, Buick, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Kia, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz (as well as automotive-related companies WeatherTech and Michelin).
Insurance was "the most active in terms of number of deals," with firms 3.3 times more likely to sponsor the NFL than the average of all sponsors, according to IEG.
Nationwide, which just renewed its official alliance with the league, has been an NFL partner since 2014. USAA has been aligned with the league since 2011.
Nine NFL franchises, including the Super Bowl LI champion Patriots, have sponsorship deals that are "above the average" among the league’s 32 teams, according to IEG’s 2016 NFL Sponsorship Spending Report.
"Thanks largely to its location in one of the country’s largest DMAs and three Super Bowl appearances over the past five years, the Patriots secured above average revenue in the 2016 season as compared to other NFL teams," according to IEG estimates.
Concurrently, the Falcons posted a below average revenue, "a factor largely attributed to the team’s home in the Georgia Dome — a venue without a naming rights sponsor."
IEG said that the team’s ranking is expected to change in the 2017 season following its move into Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The other franchises with "above average" sponsorships are the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins.
Among the top categories, following Beer and Auto, are Telecom (spending 3.9 times more on NFL properties than the average category), Soft Drinks (3.7), Tech (3.1), Banks (2.9), Insurance (2.6), Medical (2.1), Sports Apparel & Equipment (2.1), Food (1.8), QSR (1.7), and Sports Drinks (1.7).
Behind Insurance as the most active categories in terms of number of deals are QSR (three times more likely to sponsor the NFL than the average of all sponsors), Auto (2.9), Medical (2.9), Food (2.6), Tech (2.2), Beer (2.0), Retail (1.9), Banks (1.9), Lottery & Gaming (1.8), Consumer Electronics (1.8), Ticketing (1.7), Telecom (1.7), Building & Home (1.6) and Soft Drinks (1.3).
According to IEG, ten franchises were considered in the "average of NFL sponsorships": Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Among the franchises "below the NFL average" sponsorship level are the Los Angeles Rams (which moved to California from St. Louis for the 2016 season), the Oakland Raiders (in the process of seeking to relocate) and the San Diego Chargers (which have revealed to their move to the Los Angeles area for 2017).
The others in this category: the Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs,Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.
CURRENT LIST OF NFL PARTNERS
Gatorade since 1993
EA Sports since 1993
VISA since 1995
Campbell Soup since 1998
FedEx since 2000
Frito-Lay since 2000
Mars Snackfood (M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles) since 2002
Pepsi since 2002
Dairy Management since 2003
Sirius XM since 2004
Under Armour (footwear and gloves) since 2006
Bridgestone since 2007
Ticketmaster since 2008
Procter & Gamble since e 2009
Verizon since 2010
Barclays since 2010
Papa John’s since 2010
Castro since 2010
Anheuser-Busch since 2011
USAA since 2011
Bose since 2011
Marriott since 2011
Xbox since 2011
Quaker since 2012
SAP since 2012
McDonald’s since 2012
New Era since 2012
Nike since 2012
Microsoft since 2013
Nationwide since 2014
TD Ameritrade since 2014
Zebra since 2014
Dannon since 2015
Hyundai since 2015
Car Companies Get Big Mileage From Super Bowl Marketing
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