The UFC won over a large number of its conservative fans by framing itself as a non-woke alternative to other sports, particularly sports like football and basketball that always go along with the current thing and engage in advertising and behavior that alienates their conservative viewers. Hence, people like Trump and his family are showing up to UFC events: it’s conservative coded.
Or, at least, it was. Dana White and UFC might have just put that credibility with conservatives in the shredder by announcing a massive partnership with Anheuser-Busch, the company that owns Bud Light, among other brands. It’s also the company still struggling under the weight of it’s Dylan Mulvaney mistake.
Announcing that partnership on its website, Anheuser Busch said, “UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization and part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), together with Anheuser-Busch, one of America’s most iconic companies, today announced a new multiyear marketing partnership. Effective January 1, 2024, the brewer will become the exclusive “Official Beer Partner of UFC.” With this sponsorship, in the U.S., Bud Light will bring easy enjoyment to 21+ fans with 360-degree programming, including custom social and digital content, broadcast integration, on-site presence, and more.”
Explaining the massive Bud Light promotion UFC will now engage in, the statement added, “AB InBev, the world’s leading brewer and global parent company of Anheuser-Busch, will be UFC’s Official Global Beer Partner and will receive a deep level of integration into key UFC assets, ranging from live events, including broadcast features and in-arena promotion, to original content distributed through UFC’s popular digital and social channels. Through UFC’s far-reaching global footprint, AB InBev will have meaningful brand visibility before more than 700 million fans in 170 countries, as well as an estimated 900 million TV households that receive UFC’s broadcasts.”
It continued, “Among the more notable integrations, in the U.S. Bud Light will receive prominent branding inside the most recognizable setting in all of sports, the world-famous Octagon®, at every UFC event including all Pay-Per-Views and Fight Nights, DANA WHITE’S CONTENDER SERIES, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER reality series, and ROAD TO UFC, a win-and-advance tournament for Asia’s top MMA prospects. Bud Light will also be integrated into custom broadcast features in all U.S. UFC Pay-Per-Views, with their popular “Easy to Enjoy” and “Easy to Celebrate” fan campaigns highlighted in the segments.”
Giving another example of what Bud Light and UFC will be doing together, it said, “In addition, UFC and Bud Light will collaborate on original content that will be distributed through UFC’s popular digital and social channels, which reach more than 243 million users worldwide. Bud Light will also have a highly visible presence at popular UFC fight week activities, including press conferences and weigh-ins, that help build anticipation for the main events. The partnership will be truly global for UFC fans all across the world. In international markets, Budweiser and select local AB InBev brands will activate the sponsorship across events and marketing.”
Brennan Whitworth, the CEO of Anheuser Busch in North America, said, “Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light have always been on the cutting edge of iconic sporting moments that fans remember forever, and reuniting with UFC is a continuation of this industry leading legacy. As one of the largest and longest standing sport sponsors, we are excited to work with UFC to celebrate our passionate fans while always making a positive impact in communities across America.”
Similarly, Marcel Mocandas, the Global Chief Marketing Officer for the battered beer brand, said, “As leaders of our category, we are focused on new opportunities to connect with consumers in new occasions. UFC has become an undeniable force in the sports industry, and that’s why we’re so excited to partner with them and continue to amplify this sport around the world. We will be creating new and exciting brand experiences for UFC fans.”
UFC CEO Dana White, for his part, said, “Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light were UFC’s original beer sponsors more than fifteen years ago. I’m proud to announce we are back in business together. There are many reasons why I chose to go with Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, most importantly because I feel we are very aligned when it comes to our core values and what the UFC brand stands for. I’m looking forward to all of the incredible things we will do in the years ahead.”
According to Sports Business Journal, the new UFC-Bud Light deal is a nine-figure one that will last for six years.
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