SBD/Morning Buzz

Samsung, NFL In Talks On A Mega-Deal Worth $60M-Plus A Year

Samsung is close to returning to the NFL as a league sponsor in a deal that would put the manufacturer's brand on NFL coaches' headsets in an agreement worth more than $60M a year. The deal would also pave the way for tablets to appear on NFL sidelines.

Chargers Owner Dean Spanos, who chairs the league's business ventures committee, acknowledged that the NFL is in talks with Samsung, along with current league sponsors Bose and Microsoft. Another source suggested the sideline technology rights could be split among several brands, though that seems unlikely since the league’s TV rights deals restrict the number of brands visible on the sidelines. NFL owners at the league’s annual meeting in Arizona this week voted to give league staff the authority to select a brand and close the deal. Speaking outside the meetings, Spanos said, "In the next 30 days, I would hope to have direction." He would not say if there was a leader to land the deal. Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, who is also on the business ventures committee, confirmed that talks were advanced but also declined to say if any company was a front runner. However, other sources close to the league said the deal was Samsung's to lose. The NFL was without a headset sponsor last season, when 13-year incumbent Motorola walked away from its NFL rights package after terms for a renewal that would have included tablet rights exceeded $50M per year.

NFL Exec VP/Media Steve Bornstein is leading the talks for the league. Samsung CMO Todd Pendleton is driving the deal for Samsung.
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