SBD/November 11, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

NFL's Sponsorship Rules Complicate Super Bowl XLVIII Event Planning In New Jersey

The city of Secaucus, N.J. hopes to attract thousands of people to its Super Bowl XLVIII party in February, but Mayor Michael Gonnelli said that the event may not have any official connection to the game or the NFL "largely because local officials have found it so difficult to find businesses to help pay for the event without violating the strict sponsorship rules of the NFL and the Super Bowl Host Committee," according to Christopher Maag of the Bergen RECORD. As a result, the town "probably will avoid the league altogether." Gonnelli said of the planned event, which will be held four miles away from MetLife Stadium, "We don’t want to be limited in the amount of money we can make. And they really don’t offer you much in terms of PR anyway." Many New Jersey officials have "expressed concerns that efforts to attract and police large crowds -- combined with the difficulty navigating the NFL’s corporate sponsorship rules -- could actually hurt them financially." Meanwhile, there "appears to be confusion between the towns and the host committee ... over whether certain municipalities have the right to call themselves Super Bowl hosts." Montclair, N.J., council member Rich McMahon said, "We haven’t gotten anything from the host committee. We’d like to get money, assistance, advertising, something." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy defended the league, saying that it is "doing everything it can to help New Jersey and local communities promote themselves while protecting the league’s own logos and trademarks." Morris County Tourism Bureau Exec Dir Leslie Bensley said, "The NFL is very controlling. I never even tried to tap major corporations because I knew they were already being tapped by the NFL" (Bergen RECORD, 11/11).
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