NFL eases restrictions on alcohol sponsorship

The National Football League has said it will allow active players to appear in beer adverts as well as ease restrictions of wine and spirits companies becoming ‘official sponsors’ of franchises.

According to Morning Consult, the league is set to announce that beer brands partnered with teams (principally AB InBev’s Bud Light), will be allowed to use active players in its advertising.

The easing up nonetheless comes with quite a few restrictions. Only active players may be used for example and it must not appear that the players are endorsing the product advertised and if a brand wishes to use more than one player for a campaign then they must use a minimum of six.

Any brand wishing to sign a sponsorship deal with a player or players must sponsor his team (or their teams) as well and all action shots of players in uniform used must come from licenced Associated Press photographs.

Players signed to sponsorship deals will receive a fee as well.

Wine and spirits brands will also be able to sponsor teams and feature the club’s logos on their products but they will not be allowed to use the likenesses of active players.

Other major leagues in the US, notably the NBA and MLB eased up on their alcohol advertising restrictions last season and feedback from these leagues is reportedly what has, in part, prompted the NFL to go ahead with its own changes.

The new rules will be in effect from the 2019 season, which begins this autumn, and will be re-assessed on a yearly basis.

The NFL is America’s biggest professional league sport and with an increasingly international audience. The season’s final championship game, the Super Bowl, attracts an audience of close to 200 million people worldwide and is a major advertising opportunity for brands although a 30 second slot during the game on the designated broadcaster’s channel is now just over US$5 million.

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