But aren’t we talking energy drinks here -- not opiods?
The perception is these drinks could contain some strange elixir of ingredients. Further, they could give the appearance of the NFL’s approval of products -- thus extending the association to its football players, and perhaps an unfair performance boost on the field.
Mind you, the NFL has no problems allowing other marketers to make other references -- like liquor and casino advertising. Surely, no one wants to believe players on the sidelines are playing Texas hold 'em while knocking back single-malt whiskeys.
Going forward, the NFL must approve energy-drinks advertising in advance and cannot imply improved athletic performance or, in a strange turn, promote mixing those products with alcohol.
Here are some typical energy brands that have been airing in non-NFL TV schedules recently over the last month: Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy, NOS and Recover 180.
Those brands buy time on lots of sports, including the “2019 World Series,” college football and NBA Basketball. One noted exception: Many brands have bought pre-game NFL programming, such as “NFL Live” and “Fox NFL Sunday.” Non-sports shows include “Family Guy” and “South Park.”
One quasi-performance drink, Gatorade, bought some TV time on NFL game programming recently. Gatorade, a performance drink that has been around for decades, eschews some modern energy-drink ingredients, including the stimulant caffeine.
While hyper-performers touting energy drinks in TV commercials may now appear on TV networks airing NFL games -- NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN and NFL Network -- those companies will still be banned as official NFL league marketing partners.
But even that might change. If energy-drink marketers can claim improved nutritional benefits -- especially for all those NFL viewers consuming healthy food choices, like wings, pizza, chips and beer, then perhaps there will be an expansion of Sunday afternoon’s tony dining choices.