One of the biggest changes seen in the NFL over recent seasons has been the influx of corporate partners for the league as well as individual teams, which has boosted revenues for them, while giving those companies huge exposure and eyeballs.
In that regard, it is interesting that the Eagles will continue their existing partnership with Wawa for another five seasons.
Of course, Wawa is iconic in Philadelphia for their hoagies, and so they will continue as the Official Hoagie for the Eagles for the next five seasons as well, with various promotions, deals and offers for Eagles fans. Fans will have the chance to win tickets to games, official merchandise and fan experiences with the Eagles team through these promotional activities. Another way in which the brands will ensure maximum exposure is through wrapping each hoagie in Eagles-themed wrappers during the football season every year in all Philadelphia stores. The company has also been a partner for the Eagles Autism Challenge during its time as a sponsor for the Eagles, and therefore has sponsored the Junior, Shorti and Classic bike ride races every year as well, with the funds raised going towards autism research and support for families impacted by autism as well. With over 900 stores across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C., Wawa is a huge, iconic brand, and this partnership with the Eagles has only strengthened its appeal amongst football fans in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
This is just one small example of corporate sponsorships helping to increase the appeal of NFL teams and also contributing to their revenues. The appeal of the NFL can be seen from the fact that the league generated over $16 billion in revenue in 2018, half of which went to the 32 franchises. Thus, partnering with the NFL and NFL teams can be extremely attractive for various brands, given the number of people it reaches every year. One of the biggest new entrants in this space has been the arrival of gambling and casino operators. Quite a few of these have hospitality interests as well, which serves as a very good mix for a potential NFL partner. For example, a hospitality chain can easily leverage the NFL partnership to offer fans curated NFL experiences at their properties when there are NFL matches taking place in their cities, for example, as well as giving them preferential access or offers at the casino, where their patrons can then play baccarat, poker, blackjack or any other of the various casino games on offer. This will be especially valuable during the Super Bowl, in whichever city the Super Bowl takes place that year.
These changes have only been made possible following the US Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2018 which legalized sports betting. While individual states are still working on laws and rules around how this will be implemented, many have already legalized sports betting as well, which also led to the NFL relaxing its rules around casino and betting operators being brought in as sponsors or partners. Given the popularity of the NFL in the USA, along with how widespread betting, gambling and sports betting is, it was only a matter of time before the NFL would allow these companies to work as partners, since the opportunities for partnerships and collaborations are huge, and will only serve to increase the revenue and growth of the league, the various franchises as well as the betting partners themselves. Even with some restrictions in place, such as logos not being allowed in stadiums where they can be picked up by cameras on the field, or not allowing naming rights to stadiums at the moment, there is still enough growth potential to attract casino operators to the league.