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GATORADE RUNS SIDELINE ROUT, RENEWS NFL PACT FOR $125-130M
Published June 8, 1998
Quaker Oats' Gatorade has renewed its sponsorship agreement with the NFL and its clubs through 2004. The deal provides Gatorade with national and local marketing exclusivity for the league and clubs in the sports drink category, in addition to beverage exclusivity on NFL sidelines (NFL). In N.Y., Stefan Fatsis reports that Gatorade, whose cups, coolers and towels are "a fixture" in TV shots on NFL sidelines, will pay the league more than $125M over six years, "three times" the annual amount the company currently spends on the NFL. Gatorade VP/Sports Marketing Bill Schmidt, on the sideline exposure: "That's where we get our visibility." Fatsis adds that the deal "could irk the NFL's TV partners," who are "having a tough time persuading advertisers to fork over big rate increases" to pay for the combined $18B in broadcast deals. Gatorade counts on its sideline exposure and doesn't buy a great deal of ad time (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/8). BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton, who puts the deal at $130M, reports that Gatorade's "ramped up commitment" supports NFL execs' contention that its recent "lowball" $5M per-year deal with Coca-Cola "was constrained more by category dynamics than any fading of the NFL's luster." Lefton adds that Gatorade will continue to "underwrite" some of the league's youth marketing initiatives, and will gain entitlement to the Punt, Pass & Kick program (BRANDWEEK, 6/7). In Chicago, George Lazarus reports that Gatorade's sports marketing group's "close ties with the NFL were key" to renewing the deal. One observer said that sideline placement is "where you want to be if you're an advertiser or marketer" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/8).