SBD/Issue 238/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Here’s To Football: Coors Signs Five-Year Renewal With NFL

Coors Doubles Up With
$500M NFL Extension
Molson Coors has agreed to renew its NFL sponsorship in a five-year extension through 2010 worth $500M, with options for 2011 and 2012, according to sources cited by SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Kaplan & Lefton. Coors’ current four-year, $240M deal expires at the end of this season. The new deal pays the NFL a $30M annual rights fee, up from $14M per season, and Coors will also commit $70M annually “spread across advertising, promotions and other team deals,” up from $46M. Coors presently only sponsors five teams — the Broncos, Jets, Patriots, Raiders and Steelers -– but the company is “committed to increase its number of team deals” under the new deal. Teams are allowed to have multiple beer sponsors (SBJ, 9/5 issue). The Bonham Group Chair Dean Bonham said of the NFL sponsorship, “Right now, Molson Coors needs to do some branding, and there isn’t a better vehicle to do it” (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 9/7).

WHAT ABOUT BUD? SBJ’s Kaplan & Lefton add the NFL was also negotiating with Anheuser-Busch, which sponsors 28 NFL teams. A-B VP/Global Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo: “Our overall sponsorship advertising and promotional investment in the NFL is significantly better than the competition, and we’re disappointed that the NFL chose to go in a different direction.” Some NFL team execs “cautioned that alienating the powerful Ponturo and [A-B] could be a problem for the league.” One team exec said, “They are risking the anger of the ‘Pope’ (Ponturo) by continuing with Coors.” Kaplan & Lefton note Coors had in its favor its “incumbency, its support of every NFL marketing initiative since becoming a sponsor, and the league’s calculation that [A-B] will continue to spend its vast marketing budget with NFL broadcasters and teams.” The status quo “was judged to be the most lucrative deal for the league and its teams.” A source in the negotiations said, “If Bud got the league deal, Coors walks away to some other property. If Coors gets it, Bud can’t walk away” (SBJ, 9/5 issue).

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