The National Football League and Coca-Cola Co. reached an agreement late on May 21 for a new four-year marketing alliance that falls far short of the revenue goals the NFL was seeking for the soft-drink category. Still, insiders say the deal is best for the league and was sanctioned by owners. Coca-Cola becomes a national promotional partner of the NFL, with rights to all NFL marks, though team logos must be used collectively. Teams will be allowed to sign their own local soft-drink sponsors. Coca-Cola is said to be paying a rights fee of less than $10 million a year. The NFL was said to be seeking $30 million a year for national and local exclusivity. Coca-Cola's just-expired five-year deal, which guaranteed total exclusivity, was priced at $15 million each year.
Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.