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NFL lifts ban on hard liquor commercials during games

The NFL opened the door for hard liquor ads, as long as they carry a “prominent social responsibility message.”

Seattle Seahawks Fans Gather To Watch The Super Bowl Against The Denver Broncos Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images

The NFL is strict about what can be advertised during games, but the list of prohibited commercials no longer features hard liquor, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A memo distributed by the NFL says that the league will allow no more than four 30-second hard liquor spots per game with a limit of two such spots in any quarter or during halftime. This is a revised policy that lifts a longstanding ban of such advertising.

There’s a catch. Any ad for hard liquor must carry a “prominent social responsibility message” and cannot be football themed.

There are plenty of advertisers that are still banned, though. The “prohibited advertising categories” include condoms and other forms of birth control, energy drinks, supplement distributors like GNC, gambling, and marijuana.

But it’s a significant loosening of the grip for the NFL, which already dialed back restrictions on player celebrations earlier in the offseason. Giving both players and advertisers more freedom is a step in a direction the typically uptight NFL doesn’t go.