The NFL announced that it will be administering a distilled spirits advertising season test for the 2017 campaign.

“After a lengthy evaluation, we felt comfortable modifying our policies to be in line with other sports leagues, consistent with industry and network standards,” says a spokesman with the NFL.

Upon hearing the announcement, Kraig R. Naasz, president and chief executive officer of the Distilled Spirits Council released the following statement: “This is welcomed news but not too surprising given spirits companies have partnered with individual NFL teams, and other major professional sports leagues began accepting spirits advertising more than a decade ago. Adult fans realize alcohol is alcohol, and our responsible spirits sports marketing has been met with broad public acceptance.” 

According the NFL spokesman, only general advertising is permitted, which includes traditional ads and billboards airing within a commercial break consisting of other third-party ads. Additionally, sponsorships, including but not limited to, program segment sponsorships and other types of branded programming enhancements, are prohibited.

As part of the season test, load limits have been placed on distilled spirits advertising. For instance, no more than four 30 second ads are permitted within each NFL game with a limit of two 30 second ads in a quarter or within halftime. Additionally, no more than two 30 second ads are permitted in an hour within non-game NFL programming, such as pre- or post-game coverage.

The total number of the load limits on the ads applied to local and national, collectively.

The NFL also issued the following guidelines related to advertisements:

  • All ads to include prominent social responsibility message.
  • At least 20 percent of ads airing during NFL season across NFL content must consist exclusively of social responsibility messaging.
  • Ads must not include direct sales message, have a football theme or target youth or have youth themes.