It is a money maker.
National Football League players will soon be starring in beer advertising. The NFL has decided, more than likely for monetary reasons, that it will allow its employees to pitch beer. The NFL joins the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball in the suddenly new marketing partnership with beer companies. Sports teams and leagues selling beer is nothing new. In 1882, the upstart American Association decided to take on baseball’s National League and the AA’s owners thought selling beer to customers would help with the bottom line. Athletes selling beer is nothing new, one beer company used a good number of retired players from Bob Uecker to Yogi Berra to Marvelous Marv Throneberry to sell its light beer nearly four decades ago. One of the reasons that active athletes were not seen in beer ads from the 1950s until recently was the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s suggestion that some active athletes from team sports should not be linked to alcohol sales although athletes from individual sports such as golf did push beer in ads. In 2018, In-Bev, the owners of Anheuser-Busch beer, decided a change was needed and cut deals with various sports leagues and players associations to get players to sell beer.
How the beer advertising will work seems simple enough. Players in uniform will talk about the product but not drink the beer. It is not very much different from baseball TV advertising of the 1950s and 1960s when a team announcer would pour beer into a glass and raise the glass but not drink the product. The announcer would talk up the product. The Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola has been pushing a beer on his Instagram account. The Houston Astros George Springer and the National Basketball Association’s Kevin Durant have beer deals. The taps are open.