The NFL’s alcohol partnerships are now complete. The league agreed to a multiyear deal with E. & J. Gallo, the parties said Wednesday, giving the California-based wine company exclusive pouring rights at premium league events, including the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl.
The NFL divided its alcohol rights after Anheuser-Busch lost complete control of the sponsorship asset in December 2021. As a result, Anheuser-Busch now retains only the league’s beer and hard seltzer rights, with Diageo holding hard alcohol rights and now Gallo handling wine and champagne. Gallo also has a league deal with the NHL.
The terms of the NFL deal weren’t publicly announced, but to get a sense of value, the league’s 2021 deal with Diageo is said to be worth $30 million.
Tracie Rodburg, the NFL’s senior vice president of sponsorships, cited familiarity with Gallo as a reason the league selected the bid. Gallo had team deals with NFL clubs, including the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills, in 2021. In addition, representatives for Gallo told Forbes they are in discussions with up to 14 NFL teams for regional wine and champagne rights.
With Gallo already “in the world of the NFL,” Rodburg said, it was “helpful” in persuading NFL owners to approve the agreement.
Gallo wants to leverage the agreement with the NFL to build more consumer awareness for brands including Barefoot and New Amsterdam, says Gallo chief marketing officer Stephanie Gallo. The league’s beverage partners also agree to advertise with NFL broadcast partners in bigger league deals.
Live media, says Gallo, is “still the place to be for viewership. There isn’t any other property that will give us the scale or magnitude like the NFL.”
With alcohol rights revenue locked in and the addition of blockchain partnerships, the NFL is poised to eclipse $2 billion per season in sponsorship fees. The NFL made a record $1.8 billion in fees in 2021. That’s up from $1.62 billion for the 2020 season, according to IEG, a sports consultancy firm.
But the NFL could lose some sponsorship revenue in 2022.
The NFL has no partner for its headset rights after Bose ended its agreement in February. Bose will still supply headphones, says Rodburg, but without its logo displayed on NFL sidelines during games. Instead, the NFL will use its logo on headsets.
Rodburg said the NFL is “engaged” in the marketplace and “talking to a lot of people,” but she didn’t reveal the names of potential partners.
She added that the NFL is planning to enter the 2022 season without a headset partner but expressed optimism the NFL still has time before the fall to add a company.