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The Big Bet on the NFL

January 25, 2022

The Big Bet on the NFL
Sports Betting and Casino Brands Now Among the Biggest National Football League Sponsors

CHICAGO  – Sports books, casinos and lotteries made a big bet on the National Football League and are well on the way to becoming the top spending sponsorship brand category. Rights fees in this sponsorship category grew more than 140% year-over-year and went from being ranked eighth to second largest behind Technology, according to IEG, the sponsorship authority.

IEG’s Sponsorship Intelligence Database shows total rights fee revenue for the NFL and its teams increased 12% to $1.8 Billion this 2021-22 season compared to $1.62 Billion in the season prior. However, the number of total sponsorship deals is flat and new partnerships declined after an uptick last season driven by the Rams, Chargers and Raiders opening new stadiums. Teams took in 4% additional in rights fee revenue year-over-year, while League-level sponsorship spending grew by nearly 23%.

“Opening new official partnership categories has provided the NFL an opportunity to bring incremental sponsorship rights fee revenue to the sport,” said Peter Laatz, Global Managing Director, IEG. “In the coming year, teams should be picking up the pace of sponsorship growth through the new international home marketing rights opening global opportunities.”

League-Level Sponsorship Growth

Sponsorships leading to the double-digit increase in League-level sponsorship included the NFL adding Diageo as the Official Spirits Partner and Cisco as the Official Technology Partner. Additionally, the 2021-22 season was the first full season with Hyperice as Official Recovery Technology Partner and Truist as Official Retail Banking Partner. Verizon also extended its partnership with the league for 10 years.

Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel became official U.S. Sportsbook Partners of the NFL, and the League signed additional partnerships with BetMGM, WynnBet, FoxBet and PointsBet.

Naming Rights

Three new stadium naming rights agreements added to NFL team sponsorship growth. The New Orleans Saints signed Caesars, replacing Mercedes-Benz for the Superdome, the Buffalo Bills began a partnership with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to replace New Era and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium added a field naming rights partner for the first time with the Government Employees Health Association.

Top Sponsorship Categories

The top 10 spending categories in NFL sponsorship are stable year-over-year; however, the rise of Technology and Telecommunications over the past few seasons, and the Betting, Lottery and Gaming category this year further push traditional sponsors of Beer, Soft Drinks, Automotive and Banks down the ranking.

Top 10 Sponsorship Categories in the NFL
based on rights fee payments to the League and teams

Category                                 2021-2022 Rank        Trend




Betting, Lottery & Gaming















Soft Drinks









Sports Apparel & Equipment




Sponsorship Categories to Watch

The spirits category expanded across the NFL signing 14 new sponsorship agreements and increasing rights fee spending by more than 130% year-over-year. Cybersecurity and Specialty Healthcare are other categories making a splash in the NFL. Cryptocurrency is a category to keep an eye on if the League relaxes its current ban on sponsorship deals.