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America’s most popular sports league has just announced a partnership with the world’s most successful automaker. So what will happen when Toyota teams up with the NFL? Fans of both can expect big things.

The best with the best

According to an October 11 press release, Toyota has signed a massive new deal with the National Football League to become football’s official car brand. Both organizations plan big things for their ongoing relationship.

Toyota will be spearheading multicultural outreach across the United States, working with partners in professional and amateur football to guarantee every American access to athletics and transportation. 

Toyota has been a major NFL investor for decades. Starting out as a halftime sponsor in the first years of Monday Night Football, the automaker has been a major presence in NFL branding ever since. This deal represents an even closer relationship between one of the bestselling carmakers in the American marketplace and the country’s most popular sport.

How, why, and who benefits?

Relationships and goodwill missions are all well and good, but running numbers on the deal raises questions. According to Forbes, the NFL brought in total revenue of $12 billion in 2022. 

In the same year, Toyota made $279 billion

According to Macrotrends, Toyota brought in $103.8 billion from North America alone. Bluntly, Toyota completely outclasses the NFL as a business entity. Why the sudden interest? What does each party expect to bring to this new partnership?

Game recognizes game


Yes, Toyota Has History, and It’s Returning to Its Roots

Toyota’s role is obvious: they’re the money. Toyota could cover the NFL’s entire annual operating budget by itself without permanently damaging its cash flow. Toyota’s sponsorship represents a major part of the NFL’s projected future income.

The NFL’s contribution is less concrete but equally important: marketing.

Whatever its financial status, the NFL reaches an estimated 205 million football fans every year, making it America’s most popular sport and, by many measures, one of the most powerful marketing engines in the United States. For Toyota, then, the NFL’s partner status isn’t about maximizing profit directly. 

Instead, the NFL partnership is meant to associate the Toyota brand with football in the minds of football fans. That plays well with the partnership’s planned multicultural missions and Toyota’s ubiquity in NFL branding. Toyota wants every fan to think “Toyota” when they think about football. The new partnership effectively makes the NFL a major new source of customer outreach for Toyota’s U.S. operations.