SBD/April 13, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

NFL Removes Ban On Casino Advertising For '12, '13 Seasons

Johnson said NFL will explore new business opportunity "thoughtfully"
The NFL notified its teams Thursday that the league's ban on accepting casino ads had been lifted, at least through March 31, 2014. In a memo to the clubs, the league said the business ventures committee had voted unanimously to change the policy for the '12 and '13 seasons, which could allow each team to raise millions of dollars. "These policy modifications are designed to ensure that all permitted gambling advertising by NFL clubs is executed in accordance with industry best practices, is intended to target adult audiences, is consistent with the League’s continuing opposition to sports gambling, and minimizes any potential negative impact on the NFL brand," the memo said. There are significant restrictions, most notably the specific casino in question cannot have a sports book. And the casino as part of an ad deal must contribute 5% of the value to the NFL’s anti-gambling program for its employees. Stadium signs will only be allowed in the upper bowls and in concourses, meaning most ads will escape the TV cameras. The ads, which the league will also allow on radio broadcasts and in print but nowhere else, cannot depict anyone actually gambling. Nor can the ads use players and coaches. The ads cannot contain club marks, and the medium in which the ads run, must have an audience reasonably anticipated to be at least 70% composed of individuals 21 years of age or older. The ads also must include responsible gambling messages and cannot induce consumers with messages that they could win big (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal). In N.Y., Paul Tharp notes both the Jets and Giants owners "voiced interest in accepting casino advertising at MetLife Stadium." Industry reports said that a "typical team could reap up" to $6M a year from casino ads. Jets Owner Woody Johnson said, "This is another example of the NFL prudently opening up new business opportunities (and we) will explore it thoughtfully" (N.Y. POST, 4/13).
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