The NFL is again growing its alcohol sponsor roster, signing up E. & J. Gallo Winery as the league’s wine sponsor.
Gallo’s Barefoot brand will headline the deal in the early days, but the NFL described the pact as a “multi-branded, multi-year agreement.” Gallo’s other brands include Apothic, Black Box, J Vineyards and Winery, La Marca Prosecco and Orin Swift. The deal does not include Gallo’s non-wine brands, such as New Amsterdam Vodka and High Noon hard seltzers, which are among the company’s hottest offerings. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The pact further erodes Anheuser-Busch InBev’s hold on the alcohol category sponsorship for the NFL. The brewer for years was the sole alcohol sponsor under league rules that prohibited liquor sponsors. That ban was lifted in 2019, two years after the league first began allowing spirits ads, and Diageo signed on in 2021 as the NFL’s first liquor sponsor.
AB InBev-owned Babe Wine had previously held the NFL’s wine sponsorship, which marked the league's first wine partner.
The move to add separate wine, liquor and beer sponsors continues the league’s approach to open up new sponsorship categories, which has boosted its revenues from corporate partners. The total rights fees haul for the league and its teams swelled to $1.8 billion last season, up 12% from the previous season, according to IEG, a sponsorship consultancy. The surge was driven in part by the NFL’s new embrace of gambling sponsorships.