NFL SIGNS SPONSORSHIP PACT WITH IBM

Three-Year Deal Worth $18 Million

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The National Football League has signed on IBM Corp. as its latest corporate partner in a three-year, $18 million deal, executives close to the situation said.

Rick Singer, director of IBM's worldwide sponsorship marketing, confirmed the deal but he declined to comment on the financial figures, and the NFL did not return a call at press time.

Matches Levitar deal
The executives said the NFL and IBM

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deal is similar what Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline are paying for its new erectile dysfunction drug, Levitra, to be a corporate NFL sponsor. That deal was made official last week.

The executives said IBM will also spend $15 million to $25 million annually in media buys, including advertising on the league's new cable network, the NFL Network. The deal makes IBM the league's official information technology partner. Big Blue will also have an advertising presence on NFL.com and NFL Sunday Ticket, the league's satellite subscription package available on DirecTV. IBM receives the rights to use the NFL shield and Super Bowl marks in its advertising and marketing.

The NFL gets IBM's technology, services and consulting in the area of digital media management.

"We just had a great opportunity with the NFL. ... It's a business relationship and a sponsorship," Mr. Singer said.

Super Bowl ads?
Mr. Singer said it's too early to say whether IBM, either in combination with the NFL or by itself, will have a TV advertising presence in the Super Bowl next year. WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles IBM's creative account.

The NFL's other corporate sponsors include Visa USA, Pepsi-Cola Co., Coors Brewing Co., Southwest Airlines, Motorola and General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac.

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