By Barry Janoff
February 3, 2014: The NFL scored big numbers during Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, setting a viewing record with an average audience of 111.5 million, according to the league.
Broadcast network Fox also set a record, charging upward of $4 million for a national 30-second spot.
The numbers were a fitting end to a season that saw estimated sponsorship revenue for the NFL and its 32 teams hit $1.07 billion, up 5.7% from the previous year and an all-time NFL high, according to IEG, LLC, which evaluates sponsorship, marketing and revenue spending and alliances for companies worldwide.
The NFL's increase in sponsorship revenue exceeds the 4.5% increase in the overall sponsorship industry and the 5.1% increase in the sports category, according to IEG.
Led by such marketing partners as Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo's Gatorade and a deal enacted this past season with Microsoft, the NFL's sponsorship revenue has gone from $879 million in 2010 to $949 million in 2011, $1.01 billion in 2012 and the record high in 2013.
“A fervent fan base, broad reach and year-round marketing platforms continue to make the NFL a go-to platform for corporate marketers,” William Chipps, senior editor for the IEG Sponsorship Report, said in a statement.
IEG said that revenue growth was "driven in part by the NFL’s five-year, reported $400 million partnership with Microsoft Corp., a multifaceted deal that includes sideline rights for Surface tablets and other technology integration."
Insurance (health, life, auto, etc.) is the most active category. USAA (United Services Automobile Assn., which provides insurance to the military community), is in the midst of a multi-year deal as the official military appreciation sponsor of the NFL. USAA also works with teams including the Super Bowl XLVIII champion Seattle Seahawks.
Teams are allowed to sign individual deals with insurance companies. Geico is the most active with deals with 42% of NFL teams.
The Seahawks are partnered with American Family Mutual Insurance Co., which uses quarterback Russell Wilson in marketing.
Behind insurance, the league's most active sponsorship deals include quick service restaurants, autos, telecommunications, hospitals and beer, per IEG.
On a brand level, Gatorade, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Ticketmaster are the most active sponsors, according to IEG.
“A fervent fan base, broad reach and year-round marketing platforms continue to make the NFL a go-to platform for corporate marketers."
Gatorade has sponsorship deals with all 32 NFL teams, which in 2012 was joined by Procter & Gamble's Tide (the official laundry detergent of the NFL) as the only two brands to hold that distinction.
Anheuser-Busch has alliances with 88% of NFL teams, TicketMaster has deals with 67% of teams, Verizon is at 58% and MillerCoors, Pepsi and Visa are aligned with 52% of NFL teams, according to IEG.
Other highly active teams in the NFL landscape include Papa John's (45%), Coca-Cola (42%), Ford (39%) and Toyota (33%).
P&G signed a corporate sponsorship agreement with the NFL in 2009 that provided several of its brands the rights to participate in official league marketing roles, including Febreze, Head & Shoulders and Duracell.
Although the IEG Sponsorship Report did not offer specific financial details, the firm said that teams with sponsorship revenue "above" the NFL average are the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts.
Teams regarded as being at the "average" in NFL sponsorship revenues are the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.
Teams considered having "below NFL average" sponsorship revenue include the Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals and the Oakland Raiders.
Chicago-based IEG is a division of global media and advertising firm WWP.
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