Diageo becomes first spirits sponsor of NFL

17th June, 2021 by Alice Brooker

Smirnoff owner Diageo has partnered with the National Football League (NFL), becoming its first official spirits sponsor.

The sponsorship will include brand-specific programming such as responsible drinking campaigns

The multi-year sponsorship will involve Diageo-based programming throughout the NFL calendar, ‘structured with the NFL fan in mind’.

Broadcast, digital and social content will be launched from the NFL Kickoff game through to the Super Bowl.

“NFL games have the powerful ability to bring people together, and that very much ties into what our brands at Diageo are all about: bringing people together to celebrate life,” said Ed Pilkington, chief marketing and innovation officer, Diageo North America.

The partnership involves Diageo releasing responsible drinking programmes in association with the NFL, as well as the brand’s integration into awards presentations such as the NFL honours, and London-based NFL International Series games – starting with the 2022 season.

Pilkington added: “This is a perfect match. We are energised about bringing new and exciting programmes and experiences to the NFL’s passionate adult fan base, while continuing to use our platform to champion social responsibility in every way.”

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum will be a presenting sponsor for the NFL’s ‘Fan of the Year’ contest, whereby 32 clubs choose a fan representative who will win a lifetime Super Bowl experience.

Renie Anderson, executive vice president of NFL partnerships, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Diageo to the NFL family as our first ever spirits sponsor.

“We look forward to working on innovative programmes to elevate its business, as well as furthering the important message around responsible drinking.”

In 2018, Diageo-owned Crown Royal, a blended Canadian whisky, became the first spirit brand to advertise during a televised NFL game. Its ad campaign, Water Break, encouraged keeping hydrated between alcoholic beverages.

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