Official chili, official cookies: Cincinnati Bengals partnerships add revenue streams for team

There’s something sweet about being attached to a National Football League team in terms of marketing, and that something is money.

There are a lot of eyeballs on NFL teams. When the Cincinnati Bengals played the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl in 2022, 112.3 million people tuned in to watch it.

NFL teams have incredible social media efforts as well as athletes and staff who participate in local events and stay in the spotlight year-round. Those who want to target the NFL audiences are eager to partner up and become the “official” insert-item-here of the team, which comes with a huge boost of recognition.

After a 21-year partnership with Gold Star, the Cincinnati Bengals changed things up this year and partnered with Skyline Chili, a Gold Star rival. It took fans by surprise, but was welcomed, as Skyline is a brand so largely connected with Cincinnati.

Bengals Director of Entertainment Elizabeth Blackburn said “Skyline Chili is a Cincinnati staple,” when the partnership was announced earlier this year. “We look forward to bringing two iconic Cincinnati brands together to deliver delightful experiences and cultivate Cincinnati-pride. We remain focused on providing fans with a first-class experience and hope Skyline Chili and coneys are a well-received addition for our amazing fans.”

The news was big enough that Gold Star issued a response:

“Gold Star will no longer be the ‘Official Chili of the Bengals’ on paper,” the response reads. “We will always be the official chili in our hearts and our commitment to the team. We bleed orange and black. And we will always, always root the hardest and loudest for our Bengals and our city.”

Official partnerships are important revenue streams for the Cincinnati Bengals, which has been facing contract negotiations with star players and a need for stadium upgrades. The team does not disclose the monetary value of its partnerships. Its 16-year deal with Paycor HCM Inc. for stadium naming rights, made in 2022, is likely worth $108 million to $112 million through the life of the partnership, according to multiple estimates by attorneys and media outlets.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

In early August, “That’s So Sweet!” announced it is the “Official Cookie” of the Bengals. The bakery is based in Montgomery but will sell its chocolate chip cookies, Reese’s Pieces cookies, pecan pie bars and more throughout Paycor Stadium.

“As a local bakery dedicated to serving others with the best desserts around, we’re excited for the opportunity to deliver treats that fans will love,” said Nancy Aichholz, That’s So Sweet! owner and founder. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to team up with the Bengals, and we look forward to sharing our sweet treats with Who Dey nation this season.”

The official cookie is not to be confused with the official brownie, which Ohio company Killer Brownie was announced as “official” for the Bengals in 2022.

In January of this year, Biggby Coffee was announced as the official coffee of the team.

“As a proud partner of the Bengals, Biggby Coffee will offer a variety of Bengals-themed drinks, including the Who Dey Latte, and exclusive promotions at participating local stores in the greater Cincinnati area. The partnership aims to enhance the game day experience by fueling Bengals fans with quality beverages and warm hospitality that Biggby Coffee is known for,” the company says directly on the Bengals’ official website.

Last year, the Bengals named Betfred USA Sports as its official sports betting partner. That agreement was facilitated by SCCG Management, which was later selected by the team “to assist in a market access process for a second ‘skin,’ or branded mobile sports book partner, to further extend the Bengals brand into the sports wagering community,” according to a release from EIN Presswire.

“We couldn’t have found a better partner than the Cincinnati Bengals to showcase the growth of our sports marketing division. The Bengals team have a vision for their organization that is positive, and growth focused — we are honored to have been asked to be a part of it again,” said SCCG Management founder and CEO Stephen Crystal.

In May 2022, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Kettering Health as the team’s official health care partner for at least the next decade. The official partnership is aimed at both entities creating a larger platform together to raise health awareness and to allow each to reach more people.

Kettering Health has focused on care of professional athletes over the past two years, with many of them seeking care within the health system.

Talks between the two organizations to form the partnership launched in January 2022 — right before the Bengals headed to the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

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