Anheuser-Busch, NFL extend partnership through 2022

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bud Light will continue its role as the official beer of the NFL for another six years.

The brand's parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, extended its current deal, which is slated to expire at the end of the 2016-17 season, for another six years through the 2022 season. A source with knowledge of the deal puts the value at $250 million a year.

With the deal, Bud Light can use the logos of all 32 teams collectively but has to have individual deals with teams to put team logos on cans, as it did this year. The brand currently has deals with every team but four -- the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers.

The deal also includes Bud Light becoming the presenting sponsor of Thursday Night Football, which is broadcast on CBS and the NFL Network.

New elements of the deal include the right for Bud Light to use clips on its website and in digital campaigns, but Renie Anderson, the NFL's senior vice president of sponsorship and partnership management, said part of that deal includes the understanding that specific players will not be recognizable. The NFL has long stipulated that its players cannot endorse alcohol brands.

Other facets of the new deal include the wine category and the permitting of team-specific cans to be sold in other markets. Not included in the deal is any locker room celebration rights, as Budweiser has with Major League Baseball, nor the league exclusivity in the spirits category, which AB-InBev was said to covet.

Bud Light has an 18-19 percent national market share in the beer category, according to trade publication Beer Business Daily, meaning one out of every five beers sold in the U.S. is a Bud Light.

The deal is one of the NFL's biggest, though smaller in annual value that the league's agreements with the likes of PepsiCo, Microsoft and Verizon.