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NFL Remains Atop US Sports Leagues' Sponsorship Revenue

By: Justin Byers.

The NFL continues to lead the charge when it comes to sponsors in professional sports.

Fueled by the opening of the Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium and Los Angeles Chargers and Rams’ SoFi Stadium, sponsors spent a total of $1.62 billion to work with the NFL and its teams this season, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The number is a 10% uptick from the 2019-20 season, which saw over $1.47 billion in sponsorship revenue, according to sponsorship consulting firm IEG. The 10% increase is approximately double the NFL’s typical year-over-year sponsorship revenue growth.

But other leagues aren’t far behind.

  • The NBA brought in $1.4 billion in sponsorship revenue in 2020, up from $1.2 billion during the 2018-19 season.

  • MLB sponsorship revenue reached $1 billion for the first time last season.

  • The NHL’s totaled $650 million, up from $597 million the season prior.

Outside of the stadiums, the NFL remained No. 1 in sponsorship revenue due to an influx of new partnerships.

The league and teams inked 23 gaming and lottery deals — a near 25% boost to spending in the category. It also signed Subway as its official quick-service restaurant after a vacant year in the category, Truist as its first official retail bank in a decade, and Invisalign as its first official clear aligner.

Though average NFL viewership this season dropped 7% to 15.6 million viewers, all 256 games were played, a probable comfort to brands in a turbulent year for sports.



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