CINCINNATI: Procter and Gamble, the consumer goods giant, has forged a new sponsorship deal with the NFL, which is said to be the most expensive such agreement in the FMCG company's history.

It has been argued that sports sponsorship offers a unique way for brands to engage with properties that enjoy high levels of devotion among consumers, and Coca-Cola has proved particularly successful in this area in Europe.

According to IEG, the research firm, this category will see revenues rise by 0.7%, to $11.5 billion (€8.0bn; £6.8bn), in America this year, following on from an expansion of 15% in 2008.

However, Procter & Gamble, which has an annual marketing budget of some $8bn, typically spends just $90 million on sports sponsorship in the US per year.

Under the terms of the new tie-up, the Cincinnati-based firm will be able to add the tagline "Official Locker Room Product of the NFL" to goods such as Febreze, its fabric "refreshener", Old Spice, its deodorant, and Head & Shoulders, the shampoo range.

The owner of Gain detergent, Dawn soap and Bounty paper towels will also be able to append the NFL logo to this latter group of products, as well as featuring it in advertising and in-store marketing material.

While the exact terms of the agreement – which was said to have been under negotiation for three years – were not made public, the Wall Street Journal reported that a source familiar with the matter pegged the amount being paid by P&G at a minimum of $10m a year.
Mark Waller, the NFL's svp, sales and marketing, said the "locker room products category" was created specifically for the company.

Greg Luckman, of GroupM's sports and entertainment marketing division, added that "the days of the sporting leagues just looking to the beer and financial-services companies for sponsorship money is over."

Other examples of similar alliances among the NFL's 21 biggest corporate "partners" include designating KFC as the "official wing" of the playoffs, while Motorola phones and Gatorade's sports drinks both prominently feature during matches.

Coors Light similarly takes the role of the "official beer" of the football league, while Reebok holds the title of its "official apparel maker".

Even though Procter & Gamble's goods are unlikely to enjoy such prominence, Waller said the link between "tough players and tough products" was what

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff