Anheuser-Busch and SUM renew expansive soccer deal

Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the commercial arm of Major League Soccer (MLS), has announced a multi-year renewal with American brewing company Anheuser-Busch (AB) that covers MLS, US men's and women's national soccer teams and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).

Anheuser-Busch and SUM renew expansive soccer deal

Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the commercial arm of Major League Soccer (MLS), has announced a multi-year renewal with American brewing company Anheuser-Busch (AB) that covers MLS, US men's and women's national soccer teams and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).

Under terms of the comprehensive four-year deal, AB brands Budweiser and Budweiser Chelada will continue in their co-sponsorship capacity as the official beers of MLS. According to an official press release on the MLS website, both brands 'will continue to have logo rights for advertising and promotions, and co-branded promotional merchandise.

Both brands will also retain on-field signage placements during all nationally televised games, the AT&T MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup. Budweiser will receive entitlement of MLS’ Golden Boot Award – given annually to the league’s top scorer – and Budweiser Chelada will continue leveraging MLS games as sampling opportunities.'

Additionally, Budweiser will continue to act as the official beer sponsor of the US men's national soccer team - with global logo, advertising and promotional rights covering the United States' involvement in World Cup events and the 2012 Olympics - while Bud Light will have a similar deal in place with the US women's national soccer team. Furthermore, both brands will receive entitlement to the man-of-the-match award.

A sponsor of the FMF since 2004, AB's renewed agreement with the organisation enables the Anheuser-Busch InBev subsidiary to support the national soccer teams of Mexico in the US. Included in the arrangement are rights to the team's logo for packaging and advertising, on-site activations during friendly matches played in America, as well as on-field signage during nationally televised US broadcasts.

Both SUM and AB declined to reveal the financial terms of the deal, however, Sports Business Journal (SBJ) is reporting that industry sources have valued the deal at more than US$10 million annually once all facets are taken into account.

“Anheuser-Busch has a rich history in soccer, and we’re thrilled to continue our role as an ambassador of the sport through SUM’s top properties,” said Mark Wright, Anheuser-Busch vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing. “Not only do we have a chance to grow the sport nationally through our sponsorships of Major League Soccer and the Mexican national team’s in the US, but Budweiser and Bud Light’s sponsorship of the US national teams allows us to reach soccer fans on a truly global level.”

“SUM is excited to announce our renewal with Anheuser-Busch, one of the most visible and committed corporate partners of soccer in the United States,” said Kathy Carter, SUM president. “A long-standing relationship exists between Anheuser-Busch and all three of these properties: MLS, US Soccer and the FMF. There is no question that Anheuser-Busch has been integral to the growth of Major League Soccer, a league that Anheuser-Busch believed in even before the first MLS ball was kicked in 1996.”

No stranger to large soccer sponsorship deals, AB has been the official beer sponsor of every Fifa World Cup event since 1986. Additionally in 1995 the brewer became the first major American backer of MLS.

SUM holds all commercial rights to MLS; the United States Soccer Federation (USSF); promotional and marketing rights to Mexican national team games played in the United States; and the marketing and promotion of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. SUM also manages promotional and marketing rights in the United States for Mexico’s most popular sports team, Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas).