MillerCoors Behind the Beer

Liquor to advertise on NFL games

Liquor companies will be advertising during National Football League games for the first time during the 2017 season.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story about the league’s new liquor advertising policy on Friday. According to the article, there will be a limit of four 30-second liquor ads per game. Ads can run during pre- and post-game programming as well.

Advertising Age noted that the NFL is also changing its rules to allow advertising for flavored malt beverages.

From the Ad Age story:

“It’s been a slow march of hard liquor encroaching on television over the past 20 years,” said a former ad buying executive for a major brewer. “So this was inevitable because networks and leagues need more revenue opportunities. The NFL was the last holdout, which the beer industry valued because it’s the biggest and most popular league. So I’m sure it will be disappointing to the league official sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev. But NFL teams have been doing sponsorship deals with hard liquor (with restrictions) so it was just a matter of time that it was acceptable on television.”

Brett Cooper of Consumer Edge Research wrote in a report that the move will put more pressure on beer.

“While it’s unlikely that the change by the NFL will drive a step change in relative performance, it is a positive for spirits and a negative for beer as beer will face increased pressure on share of voice relative to what it is today,” he wrote.

Liquor companies for a long time observed a self-imposed ban on advertising in electronic media. That began to change in 1996 when House of Seagram started advertising Crown Royal and Chivas Regal on local affiliates and cable.