NFL Takes Super Bowl Sponsorship Rights Before Halftime As Pepsi Deal Expires

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The 2021 professional football season is just over a month old, and the NFL is already gearing up for the 2023 Super Bowl.

The National Football League Super Bowl hiatus is sponsored by Pepsi, though the deal will expire after the 2022 game that marks the end of the current season. The NFL now plans to bring future sponsorship rights to the open market, according to people familiar with the matter who have asked not to be named because the negotiations are private.

Pepsi acquired the rights to the show in 2012 as part of a more significant marketing deal worth more than $2 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Before that, auto parts maker Bridgestone owned the rights to the show, paying up to $10 million a year.

Pepsi could still extend its deal with the league, but the NFL may also choose to split the halftime show and sell the assets separately, the people said.

The NFL declined to comment on this story.

Pepsi continues to sponsor the February contest in Los Angeles, which features artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. The NFL has partnered with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to produce the show. The 2022 Super Bowl will air on NBC, which is owned by CNBC parent company Comcast.

The value of the halftime show could range from $25 million to $50 million, one marketing expert estimated based on industry statistics. That takes into account what Bridgestone last paid for the rights, along with an evolving media landscape that takes social media impressions into account.

Making an accurate estimate is a challenge. NBC charged $6.5 million for 30-second ad slots for the upcoming Super Bowl LVI in 2022. If that figure is applied to a 12-minute halftime show, an ad value would be in the $150 million range. But it’s unlikely that a company would pay that much every year just for the peace of mind.

A rights Super Bowl halftime package usually includes additional programming during the NFL season, commercial spots during the Super Bowl, exclusive access to artists for content, and other NFL branding leading up to the game.

Wherever it lands, the prize would be rich as marketers get a huge audience when they invest in the Super Bowl. The 2021 game averaged 96.4 million viewers (including streaming) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs matchup. NBC last broadcast the Super Bowl in 2018, attracting more than 100 million viewers.

‚ÄúNothing reaches half the market in homes and demographics [other] than the Super Bowl,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president of Anheuser-Busch Global Media Sports and Entertainment Marketing. for the rights as they come to market, he added.

‘Direct brand awareness’

When discussing Super Bowl rights with CNBC on Wednesday, Ponturo used Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial as an example of how newer tech companies can “shake the boat” using the NFL’s top game.

“If you didn’t know who Apple was in 1984, you knew who Apple was now,” Ponturo said. “It was Steve Jobs’ way of making a huge splash.”

Given the game’s global appeal and the presence of artists from outside the US in the halftime show, the sponsor could be from another country, including Germany, where the NFL is looking to grow. When asked about brands that might be a good match, Ponturo named electric car maker Lucid Motors.

“I think one in 100 car customers knows who Lucid is,” Ponturo said. “So if they need brand awareness and want to make a big impression on people who aren’t on Wall Street or car enthusiasts to know who they are, then I see a company like that doing it.”

Ponturo called it “instant brand awareness” and, despite the high price tag, “one would say it’s worth it,” he said.

Lucid did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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