Bud Light scores mega deal to become the official beer of UFC

Bud Light might be experiencing a knockout of its own, but this time it's on purpose.

ByJordan Valinsky, CNNWire
Thursday, October 26, 2023
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Bud Light might be experiencing a knockout of its own, but this time it's on purpose.

The Anheuser-Busch beer is becoming the official sponsor of mixed martial arts league UFC, the two companies announced, as part of a broader effort to revive Bud Light from a sales slump following a partnership with a transgender influencer that sparked a backlash among its core customers.

The multiyear sponsorship, which begins on January 1, 2024, makes Bud Light the "official beer partner" of the UFC, with the beer branding having a "highly visible presence" during fights and weigh-ins. Bud Light's logo will also be seen on digital content and on air.

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Financial terms of the deal weren't revealed. Bloomberg reported that it's the UFC's "biggest-ever sponsorship," even surpassing a $175 million kit deal with Crypto.com signed in 2021. A-B and UFC spokespersons declined to comment to CNN about the financial terms of the agreement.

The new agreement is a reunion for Bud Light and the UFC, after a previous sponsorship ended in 2017.

"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," UFC CEO Dana White said in a release.

Bud Light replaces Modelo as UFC's beer sponsor, the Mexican lager that has dethroned Bud Light from its title of America's top-selling beer. Drinkers have shifted their allegiances to other beer preferences such as Mexican beers and other rivals, including Coors Light and Miller Lite, in recent months.

Sponsoring the UFC is another part of A-B's plans to boost the Bud Light brand, where it recently rolled out new ads with NFL stars including Travis Kelce. Sales of Bud Light are still sinking, with volumes down 30% year-over-year for the four weeks ending on October 7, according to NIQ data given to Beer Business Daily newsletter.

Recently, UFC merged with World Wrestling Entertainment, which had been a family-owned business for several decades.

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