The Indianapolis Colts have become one of the first National Football League teams to sell a corporate sponsorship patch on
playersÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? practice jerseys, finalizing a deal with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance this week.
The five-year deal will bring in a mid-six-figure annual sum for the team, said Colts officials. NFL owners voted to allow
such patches, which can be no larger than 3-1/2 inches by 4-1/2 inches, at the league meetings in March. The NFL does not
allow sponsorship patches on game-day jerseys Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? at least not yet.
The New York Jets and New York Giants have signed practice jersey sponsorship deals, while the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos,
Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans are expected to sign deals soon.
In larger markets, sports marketers said, the jersey sponsorships could bring in a high-six-figure or low-seven-figure sum.
The money from such deals stays with the team, rather than going into the league revenue-sharing pot.
Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??This is an incremental increase to our revenue, and every bit in this economy helps,Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? Tom Zupancic,
vice president of sales and marketing, told IBJ. Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??WeÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??ve been working on this deal for a while, so
to get it done. Farm Bureau continues to be a really good partner for the Colts.Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??
In 2008, Farm Bureau signed a major sponsorship deal with the Colts, which included putting its name on the teamÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s
Street training complex. The Farm Bureau deal now is likely worth between $1.3 million and $2 million annually to the Colts,
sports marketers said.
Colts owner Jim Irsay last year called the Farm Bureau-Colts pact Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??the perfect match.Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??
Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance covers the entire state and will be a great partner for us as we continue to build
throughout the region,Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? Irsay said in 2008.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, organized in 1934, has grown to include insurance products for auto, life, home, business and
farm. The 1,200-employee company also offers banking services.
Zupancic said it was key to get the deal done before training camp opened Aug. 2 to maximize the benefit for the teamÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s
The only time the ads will be visible to fans will be during open practices Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? most of which take place during
NFL officials think sponsors will pay for the small spots so they show up during media shots of practice and during post-practice
The jersey sponsorship opportunity is coming at an ideal time for the Colts, who lost Chevrolet as the southeast corner sponsor
at Lucas Oil Stadium and a handful of other smaller sponsors following last season. In 2008, the first in Lucas Oil Stadium,
sponsorship revenue was up about 30 percent from the previous year.
Last month, Zupancic said the Colts sales staff would have to hustle to match last yearÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s sponsorship sales revenue,
this month he is more optimistic they can approach that level.