Apple has landed a very rare sponsorship deal to ensure it has control of the hottest ticket in San Francisco

Apple 1984Mac History/YouTubeApples memorable ‘1984’ Super Bowl commercial.

Apple has signed up for the first time to become a sponsor of the Super Bowl Host Committee, Daniel Roberts at Yahoo Finance reported.

It’s extremely rare for Apple to splash out on sponsorship deals. Back in 2008, it became a sponsor for TV talent show “American Idol,” and it has some low-key sponsorships — such as supporting the Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing Conference.

In a way, this deal is kind of low key too. As Roberts points out, Apple isn’t sponsoring the Super Bowl itself — which offers billboards and signage around the stadium, the opportunity to be a named-sponsor of fan zones, hospitality suites, co-marketing opportunities, and use of the NFL’s official logo.

Instead, Apple is sponsoring the host committee, which finances and organizes the logistics behind putting on the big game. Usually the host committee gets finances by the state government or the host city’s local tourism authority, but Super Bowl 50 is being privately financed by sponsors. Those sponsors only get access to use the less-recognised Host Committee logo (and only in the state the game is being played in,) a suite at the game, and the knowledge that 25% of their sponsorship money goes to The 50 Fund charity arm. 

So why would Apple want to do that?

Apple to leviGoogle MapsThe location of Apple’s under-construction Campus 2 building is just a short drive from the Levi’s Stadium

We’ve contacted Apple to ask for a statement on why it is sponsoring the Host Committee, and we’ll update this article if we hear back. An Apple spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo it is a sponsor, but provided no further details.

This year the Super Bowl is being hosted in San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium, right around the corner from the big new campus Apple is building.

And this year the host committee advisory board is made up of high-profile tech executives: Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google’s senior VP of corporate development David C. Drummond, HP executive vice president and senior customer officer Hewlett Packard, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and SoftBank CEO Nikesh Arora.

The Super Bowl Host Committee sponsorship rules stipulate that there can be no crossovers within the same industry.

With that many Silicon Valley companies so closely involved with Super Bowl 50, it looks like Apple jumped at the chance to let everyone in tech know that it has the best access to the hottest ticket in town. Take that, Google.

Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Keith Bruce told Yahoo: “Apple was the very first company of all our sponsors to step up. And the reason they did that is because they realised that it was important to Silicon Valley. It was during a bit of a transition time from Steve [Jobs] to Tim [Cook], and they told us, ‘This is the right thing to do. We’re building a mega campus that will be a stone’s throw from the stadium.’ They have no interest in the marketing rights, they have no interest in using our logo. But they’re promoting the partnership a lot internally to their employees.”

With that much focus on the big game this year, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Apple could also be splashing out on a $5 million Super Bowl ad too. The company has only launched three Super Bowl ads in the past, most memorably its “1984” ad, which aired in the same year.

Also sponsoring the Super Bowl Host Committee this year is Uber, Yahoo reports. Another San Francisco tech giant (but operating in a slightly different industry to Apple, so there’s no crossover,) Uber will no doubt use its official status to showcase that its taxis are the best way to whizz around the busy city on game day. 

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