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Despite Image Issues, NFL Grew Sponsorship Revenue

Advertising Age, April 07, 2015

By E.J. Schultz

Here is more evidence that the NFL is resilient, at least when it comes to marketer interest: Despite being plagued by domestic abuse controversies all year, the teflon league and its 32 teams grew sponsorship revenue by 7.8% to $1.15 billion for the 2014 season, according to new research from IEG, a sponsorship consultancy. The spending jump is solidly ahead of the 4.9% increase across the total sports category.

"Although media pundits last year speculated about potential sponsor fallout following issues related to domestic violence, the controversy had little impact on the National Football League's ability to attract and retain sponsors," IEG stated in a blog post on Monday.

The NFL lured three new sponsors for the 2014 season: Dannon, TD Ameritrade and Nationwide insurance. The league's brand perception score plummeted in September as the Ray Rice domestic-abuse news made headlines. But although some sponsors, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, issued tersely worded statements, the league held onto its corporate support.