NFL Agrees to Landmark Deal With Distiller Diageo

    • The deal is worth a reported $30 million per year.
    • Marketing efforts will be focused on Smirnoff, Crown Royal, and Captain Morgan.

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The National Football League is sipping on spirits for the first time ever in a new partnership with the world’s largest distiller, Diageo.

The deal — the NFL’s first with a liquor sponsor — is worth a reported $30 million per year. 

Roughly half the amount is for rights fees, and the deal does not cover the Super Bowl, per the Sports Business Journal. Diageo’s Guinness beer, however, will not be a part of the deal — Anheuser-Busch has held exclusive rights to beer advertising for the Super Bowl since 1975, with the duo’s last deal worth roughly $250 million per year.

With exclusive rights, Diageo will focus marketing on its Smirnoff vodka, Crown Royal whiskey, Captain Morgan rum, and Tanqueray gin brands across the NFL’s broadcast, digital, and social channels.

Wednesday’s announcement is the latest in a string of moves by the NFL to leverage the $97 billion U.S. spirits industry.

  • May 2019: NFL announced the decision to allow promotion of alcohol brands using team and player images. 
  • June 2017: The league began allowing spirit brands to advertise on game broadcasts, with a limit of four per game. 

Diageo, which has a market cap of $104.4 billion, was the first industry sponsor of NASCAR. It has ongoing deals with 12 NFL teams and aired the first spirits commercial after the league’s ban was lifted in 2019.

“What they’ve done from a responsibility standpoint to us, really stood head-and-shoulders above the other spirit companies,” said Nana-Yaw Asamoah, the NFL’s vice president of business development and sponsorship.