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23 September 2022
NFL sponsorship hails Apple’s arrival in sport
The iPhone maker and the National Football League have struck a deal for the sponsorship of the Super Bowl’s halftime show, replacing Pepsi, and hinting at deeper shifts in Apple's business.
Why it matters
Apple tends to do its marketing differently, usually choosing to stay high-end, but taking the spot of a major CPG firm at the country’s biggest advertising event indicates the importance of the mass market to Apple’s evolving business.
Now used by the majority of Americans, continued growth will come both from intensification of existing users while continuing to acquire new users. Sport is already a strategic pillar to this, as evidenced by Apple’s successful move for Major League Baseball rights.
What’s going on
The joint press release aims to reflect how the music and sport combo of the halftime show chime nicely with Apple’s longstanding presence in music (and also, it says, sport), but it comes at a time when the kinds of sums demanded by the world’s largest sporting IP are only available from major west coast tech firms of Apple or Amazon size.
The New York Times makes much of how it could point to a deeper relationship emerging in coming months or years, reporting that the opportunity for the halftime sponsorship stemmed from talks about a deeper relationship.
With an expensive though little used streaming service to sustain, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that more, and more expensive sport will be available exclusively on Apple+. As its advertising ambitions grow, could it mean buyers going to Apple both for performance and more traditional-style TV inventory?