Last Week Today: June 14 – June 20, 2021 Sponsorship News
This is part of our "Last Week Today" series that includes a weekly roundup of the past week's most exciting and industry-altering news. Check back on our blog every week for updates! These stories cover sponsorship news for June 14 – June 20, 2021.
Sunday Spirits – Diageo Signs with NFL
Beginning in 2017 with the approval to run advertising for spirit brands during game broadcasts, the National Football League takes its next big step in the world of liquor through a new sponsorship with Diageo. The deal, which is reported to be around $30 million per year will focus on marketing Diageo’s spirits since Anheuser-Busch still holds the exclusive rights to beer advertising. One interesting carve-out of the Diageo deal is that it will not include the Super Bowl. The NFL will continue to use that major event for one-off, high-level sponsorships.
Sports Media Partnership Falls Through…For Now
With a value that has grown to over $475 million, it is no surprise that The Athletic is rumored to be interested in being acquired by a major media company. While there’s still a good chance that this could happen in the future, it appears that the New York Times will not be that buyer as talks have recently fallen through. As is usually the case, rumors are that talks ended after disagreements over money. It remains to be seen what The Athletic and their over 1.2 million paid subscribers will do next but many in the industry think there could be a good fit with NBC’s Peacock brand which has recently invested heavily in sports content.
A Sticky Situation for MLB
As pitchers adjust to the new Major League Baseball ruling against sticky substances, an unintended consequence may end up being the adjustments on player’s salaries. For a sport that rewards good pitchers with lucrative contracts, this mid-season rules change could impact pitcher stats and negotiation power for future contracts. The timing of this move by MLB is interesting as it will also impact the collective bargaining negotiations between the league and players this upcoming offseason. As we’ve seen before, large disagreements like this going into collective bargaining have led to labor strikes in the past.
NFL Going Green?
After years of recommendations from both players and medical professionals, the National Football League is finally investing in cannabis research as an option for player pain relief. With the CBD market alone being recently valued at $2.8 billion, one can expect that the NFL will tap into those sponsorship dollars once they solidify any messaging on how cannabis positively impacts the pain relief of players. It’s only a matter of time before a major cannabis distributor joins the ranks of Diageo as a major sponsor of the NFL. How this will change how the NFL drug tests and punishes players remains to be seen.
Be on the lookout next week for the usual round-up of sponsorship news.