NFL loses big as Viagra and Cialis pull out

In what could be seen as a possible trend, the NFL is facing revenue declines as advertisers like Viagra and Cialis may be ending their sponsorship.

Preseason spending on advertising is the softest it’s been since the 2008 recession, according to Ad Age, and the loss of the erectile dysfunction aid as an advertiser will certainly be felt in the upcoming football season.

Viagra, which last year spent nearly $31 million in sponsorship, has been one of the top 40 highest-spending advertisers for the NFL. But, after 20 years on the market, the little blue pill is losing its exclusivity as a generic version of the brand will be launching later this year.

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Cialis, which also loses its patent exclusivity halfway through the NFL season, will likely be pulling out as well.

With Cialis spending nearly $22 million on NFL advertising last season, the softening market and disappearance of the two ED brands, could mean a loss of more than $50 million for the NFL market. The NFL audience has long been “a sweet spot” for Viagra and Cialis, according to Ad Age, with their memorable ads aimed at the 50-year-old median age of NFL viewers in 2016.

The exit and loss of revenue could spell bleak news for the NFL after a challenging season marked with criticism about its political stands.

“Last year, the NFL’s declining ratings, in the face of zombie hordes, presidential campaign fatigue, and general public indifference (along with, maybe, a touch of political protest), dominated much of the early-season conversation,” Yahoo Sports reported.  “Now we’re seeing the reverberations of that ratings slip, as well as other indications of a break in the ever-increasing ad market, and the news isn’t ideal for the NFL and its broadcast partners.”

And while the revenue challenges do not mean the end of the NFL, last season’s political climate and decline in advertising should remain on the radar.

“It’s a reminder—as if we needed yet another one—that viewing habits are shifting,” Yahoo Sports reported, “and what worked so well for so many years might not be a sustainable business model for the NFL’s upcoming decades.”

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