No Beating Around The (Anheuser) Busch: NFL Brews New Beer Deal

May 4, 2010: Anheuser-Busch has entered into a six-year sponsorship agreement with the NFL naming Bud Light as the "official and exclusive beer sponsor" of the league.

The deal begins with the 2011 season. Financial terms were not revealed, but reports citing industry sources put the figure at about $7 billion over the course of the alliance.

Anheuser-Busch will replace MillerCoors' Coors Light as the NFL's official beer, whose deal began in 2002 and expires after the 2010 season. That deal was reported to be valued at about $3 billion.

"We continue to invest in the things that support our brands, and our efforts to manage costs enable us to seize opportunities like this one,"  Dave Peacock, president of Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. "We look forward to leveraging this investment to connect our Bud Light brand more deeply with NFL fans."

Anheuser-Busch was the league's official beer from 1988-2001, including several seasons when it co-held the position with Miller, which in 2007 merged with Coors. Anheuser-Busch also has deals with CBS, NBC and Fox, the networks that air the Super Bowl, to be the exclusive beer advertiser through Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.

The NFL deal comes a day after the PGA Tour and Anheuser-Busch extended their marketing partnership by three years. As part of that agreement, Michelob Ultra is the "official Beer of the PGA Tour" and O'Doul's the official non-alcohol brew, both through 2013. Anheuser-Busch has been an official marketing partner of the PGA Tour since 1994.

Anheuser-Busch will again be able to use NFL logos and trademarks in its advertising and marketing. These logos include the NFL shield logo, and marquee events, such as the Draft, Kickoff, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.

"We look forward to welcoming Anheuser-Busch and the Bud Light brand back to the NFL as an official partner," Steve Bornstein, the NFL's evp-media, said in a statement. "We have appreciated their vast support of our clubs and network partners over the years and we are pleased they will join our stable of sponsors."

MillerCoors said in a statement that after the league deal expires it would still have separate deals with 22 of the NFL's 32 teams.

According to Peacock, the NFL sponsorship adds to Anheuser-Busch's successful total sponsorship lineup, calling it "by far the strongest in its industry."

"The NFL is the biggest, most watched sport in North America, and we are proud for Bud Light, the world's best selling beer, to be the league's official beer sponsor."

"The NFL is the biggest, most watched sport in North America, and we are proud for Bud Light, the world's best selling beer, to be the league's official beer sponsor beginning with the 2011 season," Peacock said in a statement. "This gives Bud Light real ownership of professional football within the beer category, and expands on our existing connections to NFL fans through sponsorship of 28 teams, our continued substantial advertising presence in the regular season and playoff broadcasts, and our Super Bowl advertising exclusivity that has been in place 22 consecutive years."

Anheuser-Busch's Super Bowl ads continually rank among the most-liked and best remembered in post-game marketing surveys. Coors has had a successful run with its "Coaches"  TV spots in which former NFL coaches such as Mike Ditka, Jim Mora and Dennis Green are seen in clips from actual press conferences intercut with a group of Coors drinkers asking faux questions.

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