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Volume 27 No. 5
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Advertisers Ask Networks For Flexibility Around NFL Buys In '20

Advertisers are "pressing for unprecedented flexibility to back out of monthslong spending commitments with TV networks, concerned that the coronavirus pandemic is sapping the fall schedule of new programming and threatening" the NFL season, according to Alexandra Bruell of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. After several college football conferences decided not to play in the fall, Chipotle CMO Chris Brandt said that the chain "shifted some of its ad spending from college football to NFL games." Brandt now is "asking networks for the ability to back out of those spending commitments if professional football games get canceled." Frito-Lay North America CMO Rachel Ferdinando said that the company "expects to spend as much on the NFL as it did in previous years, but is working with broadcasters to ensure there are contingencies." Verizon Chief Media Officer John Nitti said that the company is asking networks for the ability to "walk back commitments if football games get canceled and to pull the plug on some ads closer to their air date." Nitti said Verizon also is "looking for the flexibility to move its ad dollars to digital content." The NFL's fate is "likely to have a major impact on the ad world, not only because of the partial postponement of college football but also because little new entertainment programming is being made" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/3).