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SBD Global/September 2, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sponsor Roster For NFL Int'l Series Grows As League Increases Presence In London

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The LED boards at Wembley are a unique feature of the NFL Int'l Series games.
As the NFL "has increased its presence in London, it has also attracted more corporate support," according to HJ Mai of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Go back five years to '09, and the league "had only seven partners for its single London game." Fast forward and the Int'l Series "now counts 21 brands across 18 companies in its sponsorship roster for this year’s three games at Wembley Stadium." Ion "is the most recent company to sign on as a partner." The deal "is expected to be officially announced early this month and will make the company the official action camera partner of the NFL International Series." The league broadly divides its U.K. partners into three tiers -- cornerstone, associate and local -- "though it tries to customize deals for specific partners." The deals are typically separate from the league’s primary U.S.-based sponsorships, although those partners "are offered 'first dibs' on international activities." NFL Int'l Commercial Dir Marc Reeves said that "depending on the scope, deals range from mid-six figure amounts to the low seven figures." He said the league "will announce a few more sponsorships before the first game at Wembley between the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders on Sept. 28." The London games "offer some unique features for advertisers." They are "the only ones on the NFL schedule that feature sideline LED boards." Reeves described this anomaly "as an ode to the fact that LED boards are typical in the U.K. and they also help to differentiate the NFL games." One of the companies that will be taking full advantage of the LED boards is Visa.
Visa Senior VP of Global Sponsorship & Marketing Ricardo Fort said, "On the broadcasts you’ll see a lot more branding than you see in a regular match. You get a feel that there’s a little bit of influence of how soccer treats branding during the matches and that’s something they can offer in the International Series that you don’t get here." In comparison to regular-season games in the U.S., the league "is putting more resources behind the U.K. games." Reeves "compared the London games to a Super Bowl in terms of production." In addition, league owners "loosened the NFL’s marketing regulations and allow U.K. partners to talk about the NFL and American football in connection with other sports." A company that will "take advantage of this new opportunity is Nike." While the NFL’s official uniform supplier "declined to provide specifics, it is expected that the company will create a 'football meets football'-type campaign, highlighting its affiliation with American football and soccer" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/1 issue).

For an in-depth look at the "The NFL In London," click here.
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