According to research firm IEG, total sponsorship spending on the National Football League (NFL) and its 32 teams rose 5.1% to $1.39bn in the 2018-2019 season. This follows a 5.9% gain last year and outperformed the industry, which averaged 4.1% year-on-year gains.

IEG reported that the growth was driven by a spate of new league-wide sponsorships including Intuit, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Sleep Number. Also contributing was a major spike in casino/gaming deals including the recently announced tie-up with Caesar’s Entertainment which became the league’s first-ever “Official Casino Partner.” The partnership is said to be worth $30m per year. Caesar’s also has deals with seven NFL clubs.

In terms of number of deals, activity in the lottery & gaming category was actually very similar to the 2017-18 season said the firm. However, spending in the category greatly increased. While casinos are signing top-tier deals with NFL properties, Daily Fantasy providers are cutting back on their spending with NFL teams or dropping deals completely.

Peter Laatz, Global Managing Director at IEG,  explained: “The NFL and its teams have successfully leveraged the increased ability to sign betting and gambling partners. It allowed the league to defy the odds and increase sponsorship revenue by a decent margin coming off a season of declining ratings in 2017-18 and no new stadiums opening in 2018-19.”