on November 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Major U.S. sports to pull in $2 billion from sponsors

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The big four U.S. professional sports leagues will take in more than $2 billion in sponsorship revenue this year, up 15 percent from 2006, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The study from consulting firm IEG said the rise in sponsorship revenue for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League is partly due to new international deals.

It points out, for instance, that the NBA nearly doubled its roster of partners for the recent China Games, where match-ups featured the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Orlando Magic and the China Men’s National Team.

New partners for the NBA’s China Games included Adidas AG; Lenovo Group; and Toyota Motor Sales USA., IEG said.

The NFL, meanwhile, has increased its revenue by opening up new areas to sponsorship. For example, it signed a deal making Bank of America the league’s official bank and made Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire its official tire company.

Those deals and others will help propel overall sponsorship revenue to $2.07 billion in 2007, with the NFL accounting for the largest share at $785 million. MLB is next, with $505 million, followed by the NBA at $490 million and the NHL at $290 million.

Sponsorship revenue for the four major pro sports totaled $1.8 billion in 2006 and $1.5 billion in 2005, IEG said.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch)