By Barry Janoff
November 4, 2015: Calling it an "evolution in how the leading sports marketer will build connections with partners and fans in the 21st century," Anheuser-Busch has signed a multi-year renewal and global expansion of Bud Light's official beer sponsorship of the NFL.
The move extends Anheuser-Busch's alliance with the NFL, which was due to end after Super Bowl LI in 2017 for six years.
Financial details were not shared. The deal was valued at $1.4 billion, according to industry analysts.
Bud Light also is officially aligned with 28 of NFL's 32 teams.
"Our latest collaboration with the NFL brings together the most popular sport in the United States and the world's largest brewer as true partners that will collectively shape incredible experiences for fans," Lucas Herscovici, vp-consumer connections for Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. "The new and significant assets Bud Light is receiving through this partnership will connect the brand in radically new ways with the sport, its teams and — most importantly — the fans, to drive our business for years to come."
Anheuser-Busch is currently in takeover talks with SABMiller, a deal valued at $104.2 billion.
The extension comes about a year after Anheuser-Busch took the NFL to task for incidents involving players in cases of domestic violence and child abuse. In September 2014, Anheuser-Busch said in a statement, "We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league."
Bud Light took over in April 2011 as the NFL's beer sponsor, replacing Coors Light, which in turn had replaced Bud Light ten years earlier. The Anheuser-Busch deal at that time was put at six years for $1.2 billion, according to industry analysts.
Anheuser-Busch also has exclusive rights to national TV broadcasts for the Super Bowl.
From Super Bowl XLIV through Super Bowl Super Bowl XLVIII , the top five ad spenders totaled $456.6 million, led by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which spent $152.5 million during that period as the exclusive category broadcast partner, according to Kantar Media.
Anheuser-Busch spent an estimated $23 million on ads during Super Bowl XLIX.
As part of the new agreement, Bud Light said it would gain additional marketing rights in the U.S. as well as the ability to utilize NFL marks internationally in promotional materials.
That includes Bud Light "significantly" expanding its presence across premiere league events, serving as the presenting sponsor of Thursday Night Football, a sponsor of the NFL Draft and NFL Kickoff.
The brand will be able to "authentically represent the NFL game using (current) footage across digital and social channels." Previously, Bud Light was able to utilize only past seasons footage in TV creative.
In addition, Bud Light would have "increased activation with teams and the ability to have additional NFL integrations into their promotional materials."
"We look forward to working closely with A-B to bring our fans here in the U.S. and around the world closer to the NFL and our marquee events."
"Bud Light is proud to continue its designation as the official beer sponsor of the NFL and the official beer of the fan," Alex Lambrecht, vp-Bud Light, said in a statement. "Through this partnership, we can bring football fans completely unique experiences and packaging, tapping into the passion they have for their favorite NFL team."
Lambrecht said that the recent release of team-specific NFL cans "have been met with overwhelming consumer demand across the country, and we're thrilled that this new agreement will allow us to reach more fans in more places than ever before."
Bud Light will continue to support and evolve Good Sport, a fan-focused program launched in 1986, which rewards designated drivers and promotes responsible alcohol consumption among adult sports fans attending NFL games throughout the season.
"We are pleased to extend and expand our partnership with Anheuser-Busch," Renie Anderson, svp-sponsorship and partnership management for the NFL, said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with A-B to bring our fans here in the U.S. and around the world closer to the NFL and our marquee events and continue to partner on ways to further promote responsibility among our fans."
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