Bloomberg News

AB InBev Extends Bud Soccer World Cup Sponsorship to 2022

October 25, 2011

(Updates with chief marketing officer’s comments starting in third paragraph.)

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s biggest brewer, said Budweiser will be the official beer of the soccer World Cup in 2018 and 2022 as the company continues its push to promote the brand globally.

AB InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium, will have worldwide sponsorship rights for the competitions in Russia and Qatar, it said today in an e-mailed statement.

“We’ll bring together the number one global beer brand with the top event of the world’s biggest sport,” Chief Marketing Officer Chris Burggraeve said today in a phone interview. “It’s an opportunity to build the positioning of the beer as the American dream in a bottle.”

Today’s announcement extends a 25-year partnership between the brewer and FIFA, soccer’s governing body, according to the statement. Budweiser will serve as the official beer of the FIFA World Cup for the ninth and 10th time, AB InBev said, after sponsoring the 2014 event in Brazil.

The brewer will also have the right to sponsor local events with brands including Brahma in Brazil and Harbin in China, it said in the statement.

AB InBev, which also owns beers including Beck’s and Stella Artois, wants to make Budweiser the world’s “first and only truly global brand,” Burggraeve said last month. The company started selling Bud in Russia in 2010 and introduced it in Brazil this year.

‘Significant Investment’

Burggraeve declined today to comment on how much the company spent on the sponsorship deal, calling it a “significant investment.” He also declined to comment on how much AB InBev expects the brand’s sales to grow due to the deal.

“The great reference we have is 2010, which was a fantastic year,” he said, referring to the World Cup in South Africa. The final game attracts about 700 million viewers, Burggraeve said, about five times more than the Super Bowl football championship game in the U.S.

“It can connect with lots of existing customers already worldwide and bring Budweiser to a lot of new consumers,” he said.

--Editors: Jerrold Colten, David Risser

To contact the reporter on this story: Clementine Fletcher in London cfletcher5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.


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