Sports Betting Firms Help NFL Achieve Record $1.8B in Sponsorship Revenue

Posted on: January 27, 2022, 12:23h. 

Last updated on: January 28, 2022, 01:08h.

Sports betting operators in the United States played a vital role in the NFL achieving record sponsorship revenue in 2021.

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DJ Marshmello performs at halftime inside Allegiant Stadium last November during a Las Vegas Raiders home game. The NFL allowing sports betting companies and casinos to reach sponsorships with the league paid off big in 2021. (Image: Wynn Resorts)

Data compiled by IEG, a global consultancy in partnership strategies and effectiveness evaluation, released its 2021 NFL sponsorship findings this week. The report detailed a historic year for the pro football league.

IEG says the NFL received $1.8 billion in sponsorship money, a 12 percent jump from 2020. The gaming industry — specifically sports betting — greatly contributed.

The review summarized that tech companies accounted for the lion’s share of the NFL sponsorship spend last year. Verizon and Microsoft, for instance, have deals in place with the league respectively worth $300 million and $100 million per year.   

But after the tech giants, casinos and interactive iGaming firms accounted for the second-most NFL sponsorship dollars. 2021 was the first year the gaming industry was permitted to partner with the league.

Sponsorship revenue is not advertising revenue. Instead, the $1.8 billion represents the total amount that businesses such as DraftKings and FanDuel spent to buy the rights to partner with the NFL. CNBC reports that the NFL has a minimum annual partnership rate of $10 million per year.

Sports Betting’s Big Four

Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel are the three big advertisers and sponsors of the NFL. In part of their official sports betting partner designations, the trio last year committed to directing $1 billion to the NFL over a three-year period.

That equates to roughly $333.3 million a year, or $111.1 million per sportsbook. In exchange, the three sports betting giants can use the NFL logo and any team insignia on their platforms and marketing materials.

A fourth gaming entity — Genius Sports — is responsible for approximately $120 million a year in NFL sponsorship revenue. Genius Sports and the NFL struck a deal in April of 2021 that provides the sports betting tech firm exclusive distribution rights to the league’s real-time official play-by-play statistical stream.

Gaming Finally Welcomed

The NFL kept its distance — a large one at that — from sports betting for decades until the Supreme Court repealed the federal ban on such gambling everywhere but Nevada in 2018. Since the landmark ruling, the NFL has continued to ease its opposition to betting on its games.

Seeing an opportunity to increase interest and television ratings, as well as the undeniable enthusiasm surrounding the nation’s ever-expanding sports betting market, the NFL last August announced it would allow limited sportsbook advertisements during national broadcasts.

The NFL decision allowed its three official sports betting partners — Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel — to buy TV commercials. BetMGM, PointsBet, Fox Bet, and WynnBet were later welcomed by the league.

Along with television media buys, the NFL signed off on teams and stadiums striking sponsorship deals with gaming and sports betting companies.

“Opening new official partnership categories has provided the NFL an opportunity to bring incremental sponsorship revenue to the sport,” said IEG Global Managing Director Peter Laatz.