Samsung Softens NFL Focus

After five years, Samsung has opted to end its NFL sponsorship as it executes more of an entertainment-focused strategy, a source said.

Since 2005, Samsung has been a corporate sponsor of the league, paying $6 million a year for those rights, according to Sports Business Journal. In 2007, the brand also became the “Official HDTV of the NFL,” a deal that included the installation of Samsung HDTVs in select areas of all stadiums as part of the league’s HD upgrade.

Despite its decision, the brand will maintain its ties to football by retaining New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning as a pitchman for its large-screen TVs.

The move comes as Samsung is planning a broader marketing strategy “more involved in entertainment,” a direction signaled by the brand’s ad buy during this year’s Academy Awards presentation, the source said.

An NFL rep confirmed that Samsung’s sponsorship expired in March. The rep said no replacement has been named. Samsung reps could not be reached for comment.