While #DeflateGate has been the face of all sports news lately, the topic of the U.S. military paying for tributes at sporting events, particularly in the NFL, has certainly not gone unnoticed. Recently, Arizona SenatorJeff Flake expressed his disapproval of using government military funds to publicly thank soldiers for their service at sporting events. When you put it that way, it does seem rather unnapreciative and disrepectful, but is that actually the case and reasoning for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to associate with an NFL team? Are NFL teams really that cutthroat when it comes to making money that they won’t even honor our country’s soldiers without compensation? 

When the business agreements between the military and NFL teams are broken down, that is not exactly the case. Sports Business Daily recently posted an article revealing the amount of revenue teams have received from the National Guard over the past 3 years with the Atlanta Falcons coming out on top at over $1 million. Additionally, National Guard Maj. Earl Brown said that the organization is to invest $1.266M to NFL advertising during the 2015 fiscal year alone. He states the purpose of this investment is to aid the organization in the recruitment process through advertising, signage, and website presence. 

This may be the missing piece in this issue. Teams are not being paid specifically to honor their “Hometown Heroes” or honor deceased soldiers. Atlanta Falcon’s owner Arthur Blank’s position in this debate mirrors the idea that this agreement is to be beneficial for both parties involved, as in any business transaction. The Atlanta Falcons, along with many other NFL teams, are paid to advertise in conjunction with the military’s recruiting efforts, not to only show support to U.S. military soldiers. Many teams have argued that action would occur without being paid to do so. 

While money is being spent in order to advertise with the NFL teams, it is not used for what is to be a genuine appreciation for soldiers’ service. Once people can fully understand the impact that sports sponsorships have on military organizations, the more at ease people may become with the military’s decision to invest in sports sponsorship. At Navigate Research, we can assist in the understanding of the ROI and impact of sponsorships and aid in making smart and effective marketing investments. Let us help your organization or brand.