Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed a multi-year deal to ensure that Budweiser will remain the official beer of Major League Baseball (MLB).
The deal follows the withdrawal on both sides of legal proceedings issued last November, originating from a disagreement over the original renewal agreement last April. Anheuser-Busch had accused MLB of backing out of an exclusive sponsorship contract when the league sought to renegotiate the partnership. MLB cited "a change in marketplace dynamics" as its reason for seeking larger fees from Anheuser-Busch. This was understood to be a reference to the sponsorship the brewer had subsequently agreed with the National Football League, valued by some sources at as much as US$1.2 billion over six years.
Financial terms for the new settlement have been kept confidential, but reports indicate that Anheuser-Busch have agreed to an increase on the US$10 million it was believed to have been paying the league each year. In its lawsuit against the league, Anheuser-Busch had claimed to be investing "tens of millions" of dollars in baseball-related advertising and promotional activities.
Mark Wright, the vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing at Anheuser-Busch, said: "Major League Baseball has always been a top priority for our Budweiser brand. We value our long-term relationship with the league and are happy to have resolved this issue."
MLB executive vice president Tim Brosnan added: "We have made significant progress with Anheuser-Busch and look forward to working together on planning for the 2011 season."
Budweiser has been a sponsor of MLB for over 30 years, and has separate deals in place with 26 of the 30 individual franchises. The exceptions are the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox, who are sponsored by Miller Light, the Colorado Rockies, who have an agreement with Coors Light, and the Toronto Blue Jays, whose official beer is the Canadian brand Labatt.