Anheuser-Busch InBev And NBA Extend Partnership

Anheuser-Busch and the National Basketball Association have signed a four-year addendum to their 17-year-long partnership. The deal, running through 2019, makes the brewer the Official Beer Partner of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and NBA Development League (NBA D-League). 

As part of the agreement, AB InBev will also expand its marketing partnership to include USA Basketball and the league’s Hispanic marketing initiative, Noches éne•bé•a, per a release on the relationship.

A statement on the deal says the company and the league will, for the first time, partner on a hoops-themed digital content series. The two parties say the videos will appear on NBA-owned properties and will be shared on Anheuser-Busch-owned properties this season.

And there will be NBA branding on A-B packaging. The program lets Anheuser-Busch feature select NBA and team logos collectively on a national basis on cans, bottles and other packaging and in promotional campaigns.  

The brewer says a number of its flagship brands will be involved. The main ones are Budweiser and Bud Light, which will have simultaneous activations, as each has year-round platforms, and different marquee league events, including NBA All-Star, NBA Playoffs, The Finals, NBA Draft, and WNBA All-Star, according to the company.

Lucas Herscovici, VP, consumer connections at Anheuser-Busch, stated that the partnership expands the relationship into content, packaging, and USA Basketball, via a new affiliation wrapped up with the deal. “The new agreement will allow us to connect our brands with the league, its teams, and its fans through authentic campaigns that shape the industry.” 

Emilio Collins, NBA EVP, global marketing partnerships, said the Budweiser and Bud Light commitments will include new elements within the realm of live events, retail programs, digital activation, "and great storytelling.”

The brewer also gets its brand message out through broadcast partners of the NBA. Separately, Anheuser-Busch InBev has deals with 22 NBA teams and partnerships with the NBA in global markets. The company has promoted its Harbin Beer with the NBA in China since 2012, when it tapped Shaquille O'Neil for ads. Anheuser-Busch is also activating with the NBA in Brazil. 

The league, over the past decade, has put a major emphasis on global expansion. It has programming in 215 countries and territories. It says it sells licensed merchandise in 125,000 stores in 100 countries.

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