Even in the face of declining TV ratings, lower attendance and other issues, the National Football League was able to leverage some positive developments into strong sponsorship growth this past year.

Sponsorship spending on the professional football league and its 32 teams rose 5.9 percent to $1.32 billion in the 2017-2018 season, according to ESP research. Spending rose 4.3 percent in the previous season.

The increase exceeds the year-over-year increase in 2017 sports spending and overall North American sponsorship spending, both of which grew 3.5 percent.

In addition to adding an eight-figure naming rights deal for Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, revenue growth can be attributed to two primary factors: a growing focus on digital media (and new sponsorship inventory) at the team level and interest from the tech sector in national deals.

The NFL secured two new league sponsors in the 2017-2018 season: Intel and Amazon Web Services.

Intel is leveraging the NFL via its FreeD replay technology, while Amazon Web Services powers the league’s “Next Gen Stats,” a platform that uses player and ball tracking to create statistics on distance covered, speed and acceleration and other performance metrics.

McDonald’s, SAP and TD Ameritrade dropped their NFL league partnerships following the 2016-2017 season.

NFL League/Team Sponsorship Revenue
NFL League/Team Sponsorship Revenue