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Vikings Land E&J Brandy Sponsorship

The Minnesota Vikings announced its first partnership in the franchise's history with a hard-liquor company.

Until 2008, the National Football League prohibited teams from partnering with liquor companies.

Now, the Minnesota Vikings have chosen to capitalize on a recent rule revision, and E&J Brandy announced on Wednesday that it has partnered with the team for the 2011 season.

"E&J Brandy and the Minnesota Vikings are committed to our consumer and fans," Gerard Thoukis, director of marketing for E&J Brandy, said in a statement. "These shared values make for an ideal partnership."

Gallo Spirits, owner of E&J Brandy, has already locked in deals with 16 sports franchises: San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Las Angeles Angels, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and now the Minnesota Vikings.

The more than 30-year-old brandy producer is based in Modesto, California, and it will be showcased at Minnesota Vikings' home games in signature cocktails and through advertisements. In addition, E&J will display the Minnesota Vikings' logo in stores and will have access to memorabilia and sweepstakes for promotions.

The National Basketball Association frowned on hard-liquor partnerships in the past as well. However, it too has also changed its rules recently. The Minnesota Timberwolves do not have any current partnerships, but "are in discussions with a number of potential partners," according to Michael Cristaldi, director of public relations for the Timberwolves.

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