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The NFL’s Impact on Marketing: Analysis, Research, Facts


Let’s get down to brass-tax.  Or perhaps it’s the dolla-holla!  Don’t ask me about these fancy terms.  It’s all Ish if you ask me.

But when we look at the numbers, the NFL is big.  No doubt about it.

As reported by Plunkett Research who composed a report using a number of sources, the NFL raked in $7.8 billion in the 2010 season.  That’s a billion more than the MLB and nearly $4billion more than the NBA.

Let’s go to the board:

  • During a regular NFL game, viewers are likely to watch only 11 minutes of actual playing, 17 minutes of replays, 3 seconds of cheerleaders and 67 minutes of players standing around.
  • The yellow line costs approx $20K per broadcast.
  • 80% of all Super Bowl tickets go to corporate sponsors (and you thought the game was about the fans!)
  • The Monday following the Super Bowl antacid sales increase by 20% (especially true if you get the Pat’s logo tattooed on your head)
  • An estimated 90 million people flush the toilet during the Super Bowl half time (so don’t run your TV spot then)
  • Coors paid $500 million over five years to be the league’s official beer (up 67% from it’s previous deal), but the deal ended and the economy (plus the current legal battle is taking a toll); Anheuser Busch InBev has signed a $50 million dollar per year six year deal with the NFL.  But to confuse things even further, MillerCoors still has deals with 21 of the 32 NFL teams.
  • PepsiCo paid out more than $1 billion in deals with the NFL in support of Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Tropicana and Gatorade
  • GM spends approx $140 million a year to be the official car of the NFL (and now all tax payers can proudly consider themselves sponsors)
  • Nike has endorsed more than 900 NFL players, spending more than $100 million per year

With all that money going around, why did Tim Tebow turn down millions in endorsements?  Because he thinks it’ll interfere with his game.  Perhaps he’s an idealist but he certainly isn’t paying attention to the bigger picture.

And don’t for an instant think that the NFL holds all the cash.  In 2009 Yahoo sued the NFL to use professional player’s stats for it’s Fantasy Football league, a digital game that attracts upwards of 15 million users per year and generates more than $1 billion dollars a year.

But even though the NFL trumps the MLB and NBA, are they really king of the U.S. sports scene?  Not exactly.  Just take a look at NASCAR.  Those southern boys know how to bring in the cash.  Being a primary sponsor of a team (a single car) costs between $350K – $500K per race.  And NASCAR attracts 75 million adults (or 1/3 of the U.S. Adult population.  Over 90% of NASCAR fans are reported to attend a NASCAR race in person.  The NFL doesn’t even come close to that until you count the TV viewership during the Super Bowl.

Can you imagine how much corporations would pay to see all the NFL teams compete simultaneously at 200 MPH?  I’d pay to see that.



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