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Diageo Signs Liquor Ad Deal with Redskins

Fri Sep 6, 7:57 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Alcoholic beverage giant Diageo Plc has signed a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with professional football's Washington Redskins, in what is believed to be the first such pact between a spirits company and a pro sports team, according to a report on Friday.

The multi-year agreement includes signage for Diageo's Smirnoff Ice and Captain Morgan's Gold brands inside FedEx Field where the Redskins play in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., an executive familiar with the deal told Ad Age, a publication that covers the advertising industry.

The agreement could also include spots for Diageo brands on pre-game shows, the executive said.

The deal marks the first time a maker of hard liquor has sponsored a National Football League team, and is believed to be the first such sponsorship deal for any professional sports team, according to the trade publication.

The ads, which could be seen on televised football games, are likely to generate debate among television networks that air beer commercials during sports games but have adhered to a self-imposed ban on hard liquor ads.

NBC, a unit of General Electric Co. , tried to buck the trend late last year when it announced a deal with Diageo to run liquor ads. But the network later recanted after a strong public outcry against the decision.

In response to the move, Diageo in May announced plans to create a constellation of local network affiliates, cable channels and other TV stations to serve as a one-stop advertising outlet for brands such as Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and Captain Morgan's rum.

Diageo has also continued talks with the networks and said last week it expects ads for spirits to air soon, Ad Age reported.

In addition to the Redskins deal, Diageo, the world's largest liquor company, is said to be negotiating with other stadiums and teams to be on equal footing with brewers, according to Ad Age.

I'll drink to that!

:cheers: :cheers: :pint: :pint:


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