Silver Bullet Throws A Bomb, Sponsors Super Bowl Pre-Game

Coors Light has extended its relationship with the NFL to become the presenting sponsor of the NFL Network's pre-Super Bowl coverage. The deal is the first of its kind for the league-owned network. The Coors Light brand will be woven into NFLN's more than 60 hours of live coverage during the week before the Super Bowl.

An NFL spokesman declined to release terms of the deal. The network, formed in 2003, is attempting to boost revenue by attaching "presenting sponsorships" to its tentpole events, including six days of coverage of the NFL scouting combined next month and the NFL Draft this spring.

Besides on-air billboards, the Coors Light sponsorship includes on-set logo placement and a Coors Light-branded "News of the Day from Detroit" feature on "NFL Total Access," the network's flagship show. Detroit is the site of Super Bowl XL.

The deal "gives Coors Light direct access to a key consumer group--guys who are passionate about football," said Rob Borland, Coors Light brand director, in a statement. Coors Light is the official beer sponsor of the NFL, although Anheuser-Busch is the preeminent advertiser during the Super Bowl game this year on ABC.



NFLN is billing its coverage blitz as "Truly Everything But the Game" with, ironically, a heavy emphasis on how the media covers the pre-Super Bowl hype. Live coverage before game day will take place from a set in Detroit's Renaissance Center.

The network is available in 35 million homes. The NFL could more than double its distribution if it decides to air live games on the channel, although doing so would deprive the league of revenues from selling those rights to another carrier such as Comcast's OLN. An eight-game Thursday and Sunday package is the last piece of the NFL's deal that runs through 2011 to be handed out.

Another possibility is for the NFL to start a second network--with an all-sports lineup to compete with ESPN--with those games as the linchpin. Several years ago, the NBA flirted with doing the same using its own games as a starting point, but opted against it.

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