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BuzzFeed News Asks NFL Sponsors: "Will You Stop Working With The NFL?"

BuzzFeed News asks sponsors if they would sever ties with the league over concerns about the way it handles domestic abuse and punishes players accused of violent acts.

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In the wake of several high-profile incidents of domestic violence involving NFL players, fans and advertisers have questioned the way the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell handles players accused of off-the-field violence.

While several of the NFL's most high-profile sponsors — Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Verizon — have put out angry statements calling for the league to up its game in handling serious personal conduct allegations, no sponsors have yet walked away from America's most lucrative sports league.

This week, BuzzFeed News asked sponsors if they were considering taking the next step and severing their relationships with the NFL. This post will be updated as more advertisers respond to requests for comment.

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Marriott Hotels

How it works with the NFL: Courtyard by Marriott has been the official hotel sponsor of the NFL since 2011.

Will you still work with the NFL? It is going to review their deal. "Domestic violence is deplorable and we applaud all efforts to stop it. We will continue to follow this matter closely and await the findings of the investigations, at which time we will take the opportunity to review our sponsorship."

It's a new NFL season and @TDAJJKinahan asks: will investors punt or continue to drive? http://t.co/EVlRd3EpVn #AtThisMoment

TD Ameritrade@TDAmeritrade

It's a new NFL season and @TDAJJKinahan asks: will investors punt or continue to drive? http://t.co/EVlRd3EpVn #AtThisMoment

5:10 PM - 04 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

TD Ameritrade

How it works with the NFL: The online brokerage house announced a three-year sponsorship deal on Sept. 4. The company told Reuters earlier this month it is finalizing a media buy and other aspects of the sponsorship. The sponsorship extends through the 2016 football season.

Will you still work with the NFL? The company said issues facing the NFL are "very concerning" and has voiced its concerns with the league. It has not yet made any changes to its sponsorship but is "considering its future — as we would with any sponsorship."

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UPDATE — Sept. 22, 2014, 12:55 p.m.: Papa John's

How it works with the NFL: In 2010, Papa John's signed a three-year agreement as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL. The company has 20 sponsorships with individual teams. According to some reports, it is considering suspending its sponsorship of the Vikings following the Adrian Peterson domestic abuse case.

Will you still work with the NFL? A Papa John's spokesperson said, "Papa John's is closely monitoring how the NFL is managing the recent and unfortunate domestic violence issues. We believe the league and individual teams should deal with each of these issues in a direct, decisive and appropriate manner."

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Anheuser-Busch

How it works with the NFL: Anheuser-Busch is the official beer sponsor of the NFL. It has a $1.2 billion deal with the league.

Will you still work with the NFL? The company released a statement on Tuesday saying, "We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. We are not yet satisfied with the league's handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league."

Anheuser-Busch brand communications spokesperson Nick Kelly says they have no additional comment at this time.

Bose

How it works with the NFL: Bose sponsors the official headset of the NFL. Its logo appears on the earphones of every NFL coach.

Will you still work with the NFL? "We've shared our concerns directly with the NFL, and have been assured that they are committed to resolving the issues fully. We want and expect progress, and are monitoring the situation closely."

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Verizon Wireless

How it works with the NFL: Verizon Wireless is the official wireless service provider of the NFL.

Will you still work with the NFL? Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam wrote on LinkedIn that the questions of how the recent NFL scandal will affect the brand and if it will pull its advertising are "beside the point."

"The real crisis this firestorm has brought to light goes way beyond Verizon's image or the future of the NFL. It's about the scourge of domestic violence itself — a plague that crosses all sports, all communities, and all demographics."

A Verizon spokesperson pointed BuzzFeed News to this statement by McAdam but didn't respond to a question of whether the brand would advertise its HopeLine program, which uses the proceeds from recycling and reusing old wireless phones to benefit women's shelters and other victims' organizations, on television during football this Sunday.

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Nationwide Insurance

How it works with the NFL: Nationwide Insurance signed a three-year agreement with the NFL in 2014 to become an official insurance sponsor of the league.

Will you still work with the NFL? "As a relatively new sponsor of the NFL, we have found the recent incidents involving domestic violence and abuse to be very concerning. The recent actions of a few players certainly are not consistent with our corporate values. We understand the league is working to complete a full and independent investigation, and we await their resolution of these matters."

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Pepsi

How it works with the NFL: PepsiCo announced a 10-year extension of its sponsorship with the NFL in 2011 that was estimated to be worth at least $1 billion. The company has been an NFL sponsor for 31 years and promotes Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Quaker, and Gatorade through the deal.

Will you still work with the NFL? Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo's chairwoman and CEO, and one of the most powerful women in the world, issued a statement decrying "the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL's acknowledged mishandling of these issues." However, she expressed her support for Commissioner Roger Goodell and said that he and the NFL "have an opportunity to effect positive change with the situation presented to them."

PepsiCo declined to answer questions from BuzzFeed News around whether the company would consider scaling back advertisements or consider dropping its deal.

CoverGirl

How it works with the NFL: CoverGirl became the official beauty sponsor of the NFL in September 2013 in a move to appeal to the league's female fans.

Will you still work with the NFL? The company issued a statement on Monday, saying, "As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, CoverGirl believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence."

Despite a viral social media campaign against CoverGirl's NFL sponsorship, the company has refused to comment further.

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Visa

How it works with the NFL: Visa has been an NFL sponsor since 1995 and renewed its league sponsorship through the 2014 season. It's the "exclusive payment services sponsor" for the league and all official NFL events.

Will you still work with the NFL? Visa released this statement on Sept. 15 and didn't respond to additional inquiries from BuzzFeed News.

"Domestic violence in any form is unacceptable. It has no place in the NFL or our society more broadly. As a long-standing sponsor we have spoken with the NFL about our concerns regarding recent events, and reinforced the critical importance that they address these issues with great seriousness. Our expectation remains that all of Visa's partners, including the NFL, maintain high ethical standards and operate with full transparency."

Crest

How it works with the NFL: Crest is part of Procter & Gamble's multibrand sponsorship of the NFL.

Will you still work with the NFL? P&G's Crest toothpaste brand pulled out of a breast cancer awareness initiative with the NFL. It remains a sponsor of the NFL, but will "determine future actions as needed."

Spokesman Paul Fox said: "The brand has decided to cancel on-field activation with NFL teams. Domestic violence is completely unacceptable and we have strongly urged the NFL to take swift and decisive action to address this issue... Our decision to cancel this on field activity was related to this ongoing issue."

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Bridgestone Tires

How it works with the NFL: Bridgestone is the official tire of the NFL.

Will you still work with the NFL? No response.

Castrol

How it works with the NFL: Castrol is the official motor oil of the NFL.

Will you still work with the NFL? No response.

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Campbell's Soup Company

How it works with the NFL: Campbell's Chunky Soup brand is the official soup of the NFL.

Will you still work with the NFL? No response.

FedEx

How it works with the NFL: FedEx is the official worldwide delivery service of the NFL.

Will you still work with the NFL? No response.

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Lenovo

How it works with the NFL: Lenovo is the official laptop, desktop, and workstation provider of the NFL since 2012.

Will you still work with the NFL? No response.

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Extreme Networks@ExtremeNetworks

NFL CIO Says League Improving Fan Experience With Technology

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3:45 PM - 14 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Extreme Networks

How it works with the NFL: Extreme Networks is the official Wi-Fi analytics provider of the NFL.

Will you still work with the NFL? No response.

Microsoft

How it works with the NFL: Microsoft inked a $400 million, five-year deal with the NFL last year; teams are using versions of its Surface tablets on the sidelines and in coaches' booths. It's the "official tablet of the NFL."

Will you still work with the NFL? Microsoft acknowledged it received BuzzFeed News' request for comment but didn't offer a response before publication time.

Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mike Hayes at mike@buzzfeed.com.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

Sapna Maheshwari is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Maheshwari reports on retail and e-commerce.

Contact Sapna Maheshwari at sapna.maheshwari@buzzfeed.com.

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