TV ratings are not the only thing rising for the NFL—the league is swimming in sponsorship dollars thanks to surging interest from sports betting, casino and lottery brands.
Spending in those sectors jumped 140% this season, helping boost the total rights fees haul for the league and its teams to $1.8 billion this season, up 12% from the previous season, according to a new report from IEG, a sponsorship consultancy.
The windfall is the result of the NFL’s new embrace of gambling sponsorships after spending years resisting them. A key moment came in April 2021 when the league signed Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel as its official sports betting partners. A couple of months later it embraced the liquor category for the first time, signing Diageo as its first-ever spirits sponsor, clearing the way for the owner of Crown Royal, Smirnoff Vodka and Captain Morgan to use NFL trademarks in national TV ads, digital marketing and activations at games.
“Opening new official partnership categories has provided the NFL an opportunity to bring incremental sponsorship rights fee revenue to the sport,” Peter Laatz, global managing director of IEG, said in a statement.