Sep 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM
written by

Kickoff 2019: 5 Sponsorship Stories to Watch this NFL Season

It's finally week 3 of football season so it's a good time to check-in on some of the sponsorship stories from this NFL offseason. Better late than never! Here's a few to keep your eye on in between snaps...

Social platforms partnerships - The NFL is extending its traditional media strategy by more aggressively seeking to engage audiences where they increasingly are, on social platforms like TikTok. Using exclusive content and hashtag challenges to create excitement on TikTok and sharing ad revenue with the platform, it's not hard to see how this strategy could be replicated across any number of other emerging, fast-growing platforms.

Mixing up the alcohol category - If you too were surprised to hear hard seltzer is outselling beer, you probably won't be shocked to hear the NFL wants in on the hard seltzer craze, recently making AB InBev's Bon & Viv the league's official hard seltzer. More of an extension of rights really, than a new deal, since parent AB InBev has been a partner of NFL since 2011. Nevertheless, it points to a category that is seeing seismic shifts due to changes in demographics and tastes. Similarly, to accommodate this on a local level, teams are also increasingly tapping into their favorite local craft brews for official partnerships.

Seeing green from new shields - For the first time-ever, all NFL players will have the option to use slightly tinted shields courtesy of a new four-year sponsorship with Oakley, the largest sponsorship in the brand's history. As an on-field partner, look for the mandatory "O" on all shields to yield massive impressions for the iconic eyewear company.

Sports betting expanding outside of sportsbooks - While the first wave of sportsbook sponsorships were primarily intended to share data with and promote local sportsbook operators, with sports betting becoming ubiquitous it's not hard to envision a future where a second wave of all kinds of different retail and hospitality establishments facilitate your action on NFL games. Take for example Buffalo Wild Wings partnering with MGM Resorts just in time for football season to bring gaming capabilities to applicable locations nationwide. While in-stadium betting is not allowed, given the current momentum it seems like only a matter of time before we go Europe on this one with windows available in-stadiums. Either way, teams should certainly benefit from a wider array of locations getting into the sports betting game.

Autoless off-season - After making it a priority to fill Hyundai's departure last season as the NFL's official auto, the season with start without an official automobile for the first time in over a decade. As one of the most prominent categories, look for the league to leave no stone unturned in its effort to sign the league's next official automobile, its second most lucrative category.

Looking for new sponsorship leads for football season? Don't forget to check out our Seven Sponsorship Categories for Fall!