Major brand sponsors are watching closely to make sure the National Football League doesn’t fumble the investigation into how its executives handled evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case.For big companies like Anheuser-Busch, General Motors and Procter & Gamble, an NFL sponsorship is a coveted prize. The deals can cost up to $10 million per brand, but they deliver eyeballs. An average of 17.4 million viewers watched professional football games during the 2013 season, according to Nielsen.Now that the NFL is investigating how its executives handled a video showing Baltimore running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee, sponsors are forced to balance the exposure NFL games offer with the risk of alienating customers.On Wednesday, the NFL said it hired former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller to lead the investigation. League Commissioner Roger Goodell previously said no one at the NFL had seen the video before it surfaced on Monday, but the AP reported Wednesday that a law enforcement official sent the tape to the organization in April.With the investigation just beginning, experts say there is little else sponsors can do but wait and see.”These situations often develop and change direction very rapidly, so sponsors need to be incredibly agile,”… Read full this story
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