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Volume 26 No. 46
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Bottoms Up: NFL Relaxing Alcohol Sponsorship Policy This Season

Beer brands who partner with teams will be able to use images of players to market their products
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The NFL is "rolling out new guidelines for its alcohol sponsorship policy, easing restrictions on the use of team and player likeness in ads for beer, distilled spirits and wine," according to Mark Burns of MORNINGCONSULT.com. The league announced the new policy Tuesday via an email sent to team presidents, marketing and sponsorship executives and counsel. The email said that beer brands who partner with teams "will be able to use images of players to market their products," which includes A-B InBev's Bud Light -- the NFL's official category sponsor -- as well as "other brands who have existing team relationships or wish to seek one." Under the new guidelines, only active players "can be used; creative materials cannot imply that players are endorsing the product; and if brands want to use more than one player's likeness, they have to use a minimum of six." This new policy is in effect for the upcoming season, and sources said that it is a "multi-year test that will be re-evaluated annually." A source said that teams also will be "permitted to form partnerships with makers of distilled spirits that allow the brands to bill themselves as the 'official' product for those clubs." The source added that wine companies can also "have a similar relationship with teams." For the "first time, liquor brands will be able to use team logos" on their materials, "including primary and secondary packaging, albeit with some restrictions" (MORNINGCONSULT.com, 5/29).