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Slow, Steady Growth in NFL Sponsorship Rights Revenue

February 06, 2023

The National Football League (NFL) solidified its position as the top earner of sponsorship income in the U.S. with steady, but slowing year-over-year growth according to IEG, the sponsorship authority.

IEG’s Sponsorship Intelligence Database shows total rights fee revenue for the NFL and its teams increased 4% to $1.88 Billion this 2022-23 season compared to $1.81 Billion and 12% growth in the season prior.  The figures are estimated sponsorship rights fees and do not include media advertising and player endorsement income.

“The NFL is the perfect example of doing more with less. It’s sponsorship revenue tops all U.S. sports leagues with fewer games, limited branding and minimal broadcast-visible signage,” said Peter Laatz, Global Managing Director, IEG. “Additionally, the League’s methodical, conservative approach to sponsorship has kept its image away from the cryptocurrency sponsorship debacle.”

League-Level Sponsorship
The sponsorship revenue going directly the NFL is nearly equal to all its teams’ sponsorship rights fees combined. IEG’s Sponsorship Intelligence Database tracked 53 active league-level partnerships. Turnover included the exits of Barclays, Bose, Bridgestone, Ford Trucks, Pizza Hut and PointsBet at the close of the 2021-22 season, and five new sponsors coming on board, Apple Music, E & J Gallo Winery, Bread Financial, Little Caesars and NOBULL.

Naming Rights

Two new stadium naming rights agreements added to sponsorship growth for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. Financial tech company Acrisure paid a significantly larger annual naming rights fee to replace Heinz for the Steelers. The Bengals signed hometown human resources software company Paycor to rename Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals capitalized on a 2022 Super Bowl appearance with 50%+ year-over-year sponsorship rights fee growth.

Top Sponsorship Categories

The top 10 spending categories in NFL sponsorship remained stable year-over-year, apart from Investment Services replacing Sports Apparel & Equipment as the tenth highest spending category. Technology is again the highest spending sponsorship category, further extending its position with the addition of 34 individual new sponsorship agreements in the 2022-23 season. Technology brands Acronis, HCL Technologies, Shift4, I Got It, Amazon Web Services, CHEQ and WAITR added multiple new deals.

Top 10 NFL Sponsorship Categories
based on rights fee payments to the League and teams




Betting, Lottery & Gaming








Soft Drinks








Investment Services


Sponsorship Categories to Watch

Beverage categories of Spiked Seltzer, Coffee/Tea and Bottled Water have increased their sponsorship activity more than other sectors. There were 15 active Cryptocurrency associated sponsorship deals with Socios (11), and one each with, BitWallet, Dapper Labs and Grayscale Investments.