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Marketing and Sponsorship

49ers' latest deals with United, Levi's grants rights in international markets

By Ben Fischer

The 49ers last week announced extensions with United Airlines and Levi’s, granting those two longtime sponsors rights in the U.K. and Mexico. They were the first and only known deals announced under the NFL’s new program allowing some teams commercial rights in foreign markets. It is important to pay attention to the structure of the deal. There is a new cash fee, but United and Levi’s both committed to a minimum activation spend, said 49ers CRO Brent Schoeb. Unlike in the Bay Area, the 49ers in these new markets will need new eyeballs more than dollars. It is reminiscent of the U.S. Olympic team, which depends on consumer-packaged goods sponsors to help them rapidly introduce new star faces every four years. “We’re going to lean on Levi’s and United, who have been in these markets for a long time, to unveil our plans from a 49ers standpoint,” Schoeb said. “This significantly helps activate the 49ers brand in these markets, because they are trusted brands there.” Schoeb is hoping success with Levi’s and United can spur deals with other existing sponsors who are watching closely, and that includes their large stable of B2B sponsors, even if they might have a different angle. The 49ers have enlisted Elevate, which they partially own, and Wasserman to sell in their new markets.

For more from the football business world, please read Ben Fischer's SBJ Football newsletter every Thursday.

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