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NFL renews its sponsorship deal with Pepsi, but without the Super Bowl halftime show

A detail view of a Pepsi ad at FedEx Field during an NFL football game between the Washington Football Team and the New York Giants, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Landover, Md.

Aaron M. Sprecher via AP

Pepsi is keeping its sponsorship rights with the NFL but will give up a core asset – the Super Bowl halftime show.

The soda-and-snacks company officially renewed its nearly four-decade partnership with the league Tuesday after the NFL’s spring meeting in Atlanta. Team owners voted to ratify the renewal, which allows Pepsi to use NFL premium rights for its brands, including Frito Lay and Tostitos.

As part of the agreement, Pepsi gets pouring rights at top NFL events, including the NFL Draft. The company’s sports drink maker, Gatorade, keeps its high visibility on NFL sidelines. In addition, Pepsi and the NFL are teaming up to unveil a Gatorade pre-workout product for players this fall. The line is expected to be available for consumers in 2023.

The terms of Pepsi’s renewal were undisclosed. The previous deal was reportedly worth $2 billion over 10 years.

“Our priorities and their priorities have evolved, and we wanted to make sure that as we continue this partnership that we’re all working toward the same goal,” Tracie Rodburg, the NFL’s senior vice president of sponsorship management, told CNBC.

This time, though, Pepsi won’t be sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show. It’s the second time since 2012 that these rights hit the marketplace. Auto parts manufacturer Bridgestone held the Super Bowl Halftime rights before Pepsi.

The 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show featured iconic hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The NFL partners with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to produce the halftime show.  

Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and Dr. Dre speak during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Press Conference at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Jeff Kravitz | Filmmagic, Inc | Getty Images

CNBC reported in October that Super Bowl halftime rights could hit the market, and the NFL would seek up to $50 million for them. Industry executives suggest Bridgestone paid between $5 million and $10 million annually.

“It becomes tough to justify,” Tony Ponturo, the former vice president of global sports and entertainment marketing at Anheuser-Busch, said of the potential cost. As big as the Super Bowl is, there are always executives who will say there’s a lot more for a company to do with the money they’re saving, he added.

As part of larger deals with pro leagues, companies also commit a portion of the total money toward buying TV ads. For the 2021 season, Pepsi spent roughly $114 million on NFL games, including the playoffs. That’s down from approximately $127 million for the 2020 NFL season, according to media measurement company iSpot. Pepsi also has 15 team deals with NFL clubs including the Dallas Cowboys.

Team owners also approved keeping the league’s combine event in Indianapolis in 2023 and 2024, the NFL announced on Tuesday.

NFL officials contemplated moving the pre-draft scouting event to Dallas or Los Angeles. Still, logistics around hotel space and access to medical facilities played a factor in keeping the combine at the Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

In 2022, the event generated roughly $9.6 million in economic impact, according to the league. Indianapolis has hosted the NFL Combine since 1987.

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