General Motors, one the NFL’s oldest sponsors, beginning their official relationship in 2001, and securing GMC as the official vehicle of the NFL in 2009, will end its partnership with the NFL. Since that time the automobile company has leveraged its marketing department to come up with several successful advertisement campaigns such as the 2014 “Control Your Emotions” ad with clay Matthews. They have also benefited from unique sponsorship activations, from being the vehicle which all rookies arrive to Draft Day activities in, to sponsoring the successful Super Bowl boulevard of Super Bowl XLVIII in Manhattan.
This partnership has given General Motors access to a rabid fan base and the ability to reinforce their tough and preserving brand image. This past November General Motors eclipsed their previous high in SUV sales due to heavy spending on in-game NFL advertisements and declining gas prices. Conversely the NFL reached over $1 billion dollars in sponsorship money during 2013 due in part to their deals with automobile manufacturers like General Motors, who is reported to have paid upward of $25 million a year for sponsorship rights. After spending $173 million on advertising during the 2013 season, General Motors was the NFL’s second-highest advertising spender. The relationship between these two entities has not only been beneficial, but historically expensive over the years.
The reason for end of the partnership is widely unknown, although the recent player conduct scandals which the NFL has had to face this season may be a good place to begin. Whether the reason was to distance themselves from the NFL who, by most metrics, is not suffering an abundant amount of immediate financial consequences, or based more in the finances of spending tens of millions of dollars on its partnership, General Motor’s impending absence opens the door for other manufacturers to fill that void. As stated previously, the fanaticism of NFL is nearly insatiable and the opportunity for other brands to fill that sponsorship void will draw automakers such as Toyota, Ford, and Hyundai to the table.