With football fans counting down the days until training camps open in July, the National Football League (NFL) has announced plans to make the upcoming season even more interesting to drinks lovers with its first-ever spirits sponsorship.
The nation’s highest-grossing sport is teaming up with Diageo, the largest producer of Scotch whisky in the world, known for iconic brands, including Bailey’s, Tanqueray, Johnnie Walker, Don Julio, Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, Smirnoff Vodka, and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.
“NFL games have the powerful ability to bring people together, and that very much ties into what our brands at Diageo are all about: bringing people together to celebrate life,” remarked Ed Pilkington, chief marketing and innovation officer for Diageo North America in Wednesday’s press release.
While Bud Light, a product of Anheuser-Busch InBev, has a long-standing relationship with the league, and Crown Royal has been affiliated since 2017, the new partnership will crown Diageo as the first official spirits sponsor of the NFL. During the first year, Diageo will focus on promoting Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, and Smirnoff.
Diageo is seeking to capitalize on the league’s popularity with the agreement. The NFL is an advertising powerhouse (revenues exceed $13 billion per year), with the capacity to reach hundreds of millions of passionate consumers.
Strict advertising regulations pertaining to alcohol prevented spirits manufacturers from developing marketing plans in-line with beer producers in the past, but times are slowly changing. Diageo broke ground in 2004 by partnering with NASCAR, and the company already has agreements with twelve individual NFL teams.
While the terms of the deal remain undisclosed, Sports Business Journal estimates its value as $30 million per year. The multi-year agreement with the league includes a number of opportunities for fans to engage with the brands at stadia, while at-home viewers can expect to see content broadcast and published all season long, from Kickoff to the Super Bowl. Captain Morgan will also be a presenting sponsor of the NFL’s popular Fan of the Year contest.
As football games and weekend get-togethers go hand-in-hand, here’s to the combination of two favorite pastimes: sports and spirits.