Sandwich restaurant chain Subway has agreed to a multiyear sponsorship deal with the National Football League.
Subway will sponsor the NFL in the quick-service restaurant category previously occupied by McDonald’s, whose deal after the 2018 season. The deal will grant Subway exclusive marketing rights and activation opportunities at various NFL events. A new ad campaign will also debut this fall featuring various football personalities and Subway promotions.
The brand gains exclusive rights in the QSR and fast-casual restaurant categories, while existing league partner Pizza Hut retains its rights in the pizza category.
The move to a large, league-level deal such as this marks a continued evolution for Subway. Even though it has remained an active buyer of ad inventory in and around sports, the brand’s national marketing in recent years had been more focused on its own menu and promotions following the high-profile scandal involving former spokesman Jared Fogle five years ago.
“We know Subway fans are football fans and our footlongs have always been the perfect game night food, so we are proud to make the connection official with this multiyear NFL partnership,” said Subway chief marketing officer Carrie Walsh. “We are a brand that prides ourselves on making it easier for fans and for athletes to be a little better every day.”
Subway will also sponsor the NFL Flag kids’ football programme and NFL Play 60, the league’s nationwide youth health and wellness campaign. The agreement has been signed ahead of the scheduled start of the 2020 NFL season on September 10.
“We are thrilled to have Subway as an official league sponsor,” said Renie Anderson, NFL chief revenue officer and executive vice president of partnerships. “We are also excited for Subway’s partnership in flag football and our Play 60 initiatives. We look forward to working closely with them to help grow the sport of football and make the NFL season better than ever for our fans.”
Financial terms were not disclosed.
In 2017, Subway reached a deal with the NFL to sponsor the league’s London games for three seasons. The new league agreement does not carry international rights.
The new deal does present some potential category conflict in that Coca-Cola holds pouring rights in Subway locations, while rival soft drink brand Pepsi is aligned with the NFL. Subway, however, does also sell products from Pepsi’s Frito-Lay subsidiary.