We never watched a single game of the NFL Europa, or whatever it was called, and we gather that nobody in Europe did either cause the league folded a couple years back. Did they have an ad-filled Super Bowl there, too? No idea, but it looks like this year’s American Super Bowl will have a Euro bent, as foreign carmakers pick up the slack where GM and Ford drop off:
TVDecoder: Audi of America said on Wednesday that it had bought a 60-second spot in the first quarter of the game, to be broadcast by NBC on Feb. 1, 2009. Audi, part of Volkswagen of America, plans to advertise the R8 luxury sports car, which was the subject of a well-received commercial the company ran during Super Bowl XLII last February.
Audi joins a list of foreign car companies that will be peddling products during the Super Bowl that includes Hyundai. There are others, but they have not identified themselves or been ferreted out by reporters.
There are no domestic automakers on the ad roster for the coming Super Bowl. General Motors, a Super Sunday mainstay, said it would forgo the game as part of its marketing cutbacks that include ending early an endorsement deal with Tiger Woods and withdrawing from a sponsorship of the Academy Awards.
(Another thought: Now that Anheuser-Busch is part of InBev, will the Clydesdale ads be replaced by Euro-ish ads for Stella Artois?)
That’s not the only way the financial crisis is changing the game of Football. This week we learned that the Arena League — which was way more popular and entertaining than normal footbal played in Europe — is close to cancelling its 2009 season. (Don’t worry yet, fans of the New York Dragons, it’s not for certain.)
The whole league was planning to sell a 40% stake in itself to PE firm Platinum Equity, but even back in October, when the deal was first announced, the economy looked a lot better. Suddenly investors aren’t so interested in tying up their crisp cash on a niche sports league where the average score is 70 to 63. Besides if even the NFL is laying off staff, you know things have gotten bad.