The National Football League (NFL) is a marketing powerhouse, offering brands and companies an exceptional platform to promote their products and services. With their fame, influence, and global recognition, NFL players have become indispensable assets for companies seeking to enhance brand awareness and connect with football enthusiasts.
Marketers have effectively utilized various strategies, such as endorsement deals and social media influencer campaigns, to leverage their relationships with NFL stars. Additionally, as the NFL embraces new trends like online sports betting, lucrative opportunities have emerged for companies to capitalize on the league’s popularity.
Online Sports Betting
One of the more recent avenues that has proven beneficial for brands involves partnerships and sponsorships with the NFL in the sports betting industry. With the ongoing legalization of betting across the United States, the NFL has embraced gambling as both a revenue stream and a marketing opportunity.
Because of legalization, NFL teams form official partnerships with sportsbooks and casinos, allowing league sponsors like Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings to operate licensed NFL betting platforms online and in stadiums. This action alone has resulted in millions of dollars in sponsorship money for the NFL.
Case in point, the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s decision to legalize online betting in 2021 has created lucrative marketing opportunities for Michigan’s online gambling operators listed on gambleonlinemichigan.com. These sites have the chance to market their NFL offerings to the league’s enormous fan base, with billions of dollars being wagered on pro football annually.
Sportsbook apps employ NFL stars in national advertising campaigns, effectively capturing the attention of bettors. For example, DraftKings’ advertisements featuring Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and others instill trust in their NFL offerings. In-game wagering, which accounts for over half of total NFL bets, directs live viewers to partner sportsbooks.
The rise of online NFL prop bets, such as predicting the next player to score a touchdown, generates further interest in games. Partners leverage fan excitement around the return of football each season by promoting free bet credits for NFL contests.
The NFL’s acceptance of sports betting provides gambling operators and related companies new avenues to activate marketing strategies centered around NFL viewership and engagement.
One of the most established methods companies utilize to profit from the NFL is endorsement deals with star players. NFL stars offer massive exposure, as they are among the most recognizable athletes and celebrities worldwide. Their influence extends beyond the football field, making them highly effective brand ambassadors.
Top NFL endorsers, such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers, have earned more than $10 million annually through sponsorship deals with major companies. Leading brands across industries, including Nike, Gatorade, Pepsi, Microsoft, and more, invest significant sums of money to associate themselves with NFL icons. For instance, Manning reportedly earned $12 million in 2015 from endorsements with Papa John’s, Nationwide, Nike, Buick, and others.
These endorsement deals provide brands with valuable exposure through visible commercials and print/digital ads featuring their NFL spokesperson. The athlete’s legion of fans witness their hero endorsing the product, influencing their opinions and purchase decisions. Marketers capitalize on a player’s reputation and aspirational image, hoping it enhances perceptions of their brand.
Endorsement deals often incorporate social media campaigns, expanding the player’s marketing impact. Brands tap into the NFL star’s follower network through social media posts, Q&As, and contests. Whenever an NFL superstar endorses a product on camera or online, it’s a significant win for the marketing team.
In line with the power of social media, the NFL has fully embraced platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for marketing purposes. The league has developed social media influencer campaigns with current and former players to create sponsored digital content that promotes brands.
The NFL’s influencer marketing initiative includes over 1,000 social media influencers. From megastars like Tom Brady to retired legends like Brett Favre, NFL athletes can earn substantial sums by creating social media posts for companies that want to leverage their fame and following.
Marketers find tremendous value in having their brand seamlessly integrated into NFL player’s social media feeds. When an athlete posts about their love for Pizza Hut, for example, it reaches millions of engaged followers and feels authentic coming from someone they admire. Even a brief video shout-out from a famous NFL quarterback or wide receiver can significantly boost a company’s social media presence.
Brands across every industry have benefited from aligning with NFL influencers on social media. Financial services companies like USAA and Intuit have used player partnerships on social media to enhance visibility and build trust with football fans. Food brands, tech companies, apparel/footwear brands, and many others have tapped into the NFL’s social media potential for highly lucrative collaborations. Having the most followed NFL stars on your side as a marketer provides unparalleled exposure.
Ultimately, the NFL’s global dominance and deep emotional connections with fans will continue to offer fertile ground for brands to develop beneficial partnerships and campaigns. Companies that align strategically with vital NFL assets are well-positioned to score marketing touchdowns.