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WILL FUTURE NFL DEALS POUR SIMILAR TO LATEST COKE CONTRACT?
Published June 2, 1998
Property rights holders and buyers are trying to discern whether Coca-Cola's four-year, $20M NFL deal "is a harbinger of all future deals or simply an extraordinary event," according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. Lefton writes that over the years, NFLP has proved itself to be "an absolute master at milking maximum dollars out of the most contentious categories," but that this time, "Coke was it." NFLP VP/Corporate Sponsorships Jim Schwebel: "It's easy to say this is a bellwether for all of our deals, but really this was a unique situation. ... [T]his is a national, non- exclusive, no (restaurant) pass-through rights deal. On that basis, it was a good deal." Lefton adds that the deal "has created a perception problem" throughout sports, as one senior marketer at another league said, "That deal is already killing me" (BRANDWEEK, 6/1). The SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Andy Bernstein reports that while several NFL team execs said that they expect to see "an increasing number of sponsorships split up between local and national rights," the league is "not about to abandon the national marketing model any time soon" and will assess each category individually. Team marketers say local soft-drink deals could range from low six-figures to more than $1M per team, averaging about $250,000 (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/1). THE NEXT STEP: BRANDWEEK's Lefton reports that with other "high-ticket NFL categories" up next year, such as telecom, isotonic drinks, beer and candy, those deals "will prove whether or not the league's only growth business is broadcast/Internet rights." More immediately, a national quick service restaurant (QSR) deal is still being sought, with clubs seeking local deals in that category (BRANDWEEK, 6/1). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Bernstein adds that teams "relished calling on not only hamburger chains but pizza restaurants," as well, saying that pizza and hamburger chains do not compete directly and should be treated as separate categories (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/1 issue).