Crown Royal, a brand of Diageo North America, New York, announced the continuation of its multi-year NFL partnership, which includes the "Kick off with Crown Royal” campaign by dedicating $25,000 from the Crown Royal Generosity Fund to the Southern Smoke Foundation, an organization created to take care of food and beverages workers who need it most.

The donation is a part of the award-winning whisky’s $1 million commitment to hospitality workers, active duty military members and veterans throughout the NFL season.

As a whisky sponsor of the NFL, Crown Royal pledged to honor those who help fans celebrate game day by partnering with NFL legends Bo Jackson and DeMarcus Ware in a cook off at the Southern Smoke Festival.

Jackson and Ware collaborated with local Houston restaurateurs to create two unique Crown Royal infused BBQ sauces and went head-to-head in a BBQ sauce competition. Consumers 21 plus voted for their favorite sauce, raising further funds for the Foundation. After Team Bo Jackson took an early lead, Team DeMarcus Ware came back to seal the victory for the best Crown Royal infused sauce.

“We’re proud to continue to give back to the hospitality community, and extend our partnership with the Southern Smoke Foundation, who shares in our mission of helping those who help us celebrate game day,” said Nicky Heckles, vice president of Crown Royal, in a statement. “This season, we’re excited to further our relationship with Houston and the greater-Texas community by giving back directly to the hospitality industry with Bo Jackson and DeMarcus Ware.”

Kathryn Lott, executive director of Southern Smoke Foundation, added: “We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with Crown Royal as we aim to inspire generosity toward the people who make game day what it is — the bartenders, servers, dishwashers, and more who help us enjoy each and every NFL game day. As we continue in our mission of helping our own, the food and beverage industry, we’re thankful to Crown Royal for their ongoing support of our efforts.”

Building on Diageo’s league sponsorship deal, which first launched during the 2021-22 NFL season, Crown Royal’s generosity efforts will continue throughout the NFL season with activations in partner stadiums and cities, benefiting hospitality industry employees, it notes. These efforts will extend to another group whose generosity continues to go unmatched, military veterans, who Crown Royal has supported for over a decade through The Purple Bag Project, it says.