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Sports Business

Manning drives value of jersey spot

August 11, 2009
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farmbureauAfter watching heavy doses of ESPN SportsCenter this weekend, it’s easy to see why the Indianapolis Colts are one of only a handful of NFL franchises so far to sell an ad on their practice jerseys.

NFL teams were only notified five months ago they would be allowed to sell the practice jersey sponsorship patches—one per team. Other teams will soon follow, but few have a star like Peyton Manning to drive the deal.

On Saturday and Sunday I saw the Colts QB waxing poetic on national TV for minutes on end. And placed prominently on his shoulder was the Indiana Farm Bureau logo. First, the placement of these ads is genius. They’re so high up, there’s no way to take even a super close-up head and shoulders shot and cut the logo out of the screen.

The patch is only allowed to be 3-1/2 inches by 4-1/2 inches, but its placement makes it look much larger and is unmistakably eye-catching.

According to Joyce Julius, an industry leader in rating the value of TV exposure, the kind of exposure Farm Bureau got from this weekend’s ESPN exposure alone is in the high five-figure range.

Once advertisers fully understand the value and nuances of these deals, teams with the very biggest stars will easily get more money than other teams. Much more. That will probably play into future player contract negotiations.

Players have more ability to drive the value of these sponsorships perhaps than any other team deal. If the local and national cameras follow your team’s players, that team’s jersey sponsorship is going to pay off big. And once team’s realize just how much exposure the jersey sponsors are getting, I wonder if a company like Indiana Farm Bureau will be priced right out of the game. Those spots will soon be reserved for the Cokes, McDonald’s and IBMs of the corporate world.

While other elements of Farm Bureau's sponsorship package is multi-year, the practice jersey spot is a one-year deal. Sources close to the team told me Farm Bureau will pay mid-six figures for the deal. I think the Colts soon will realize, as long as Manning is on the roster, they could have commanded much, much more.

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