A-B renews MLB sponsorship deal

2012-08-23T00:10:00Z 2012-09-07T08:48:17Z A-B renews MLB sponsorship dealBY TIM LOGAN AND LISA BROWN • tlogan@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8291 stltoday.com

Budweiser and baseball will be on the same team for at least another six years.

Anheuser-Busch and Major League Baseball said Wednesday that they have renewed the brewer's long-running sponsorship deal through 2018, with some tweaks thrown in.

The first of those changes will show up in October, when MLB holds its new, one-game wild card playoff. Those games will be "presented by Budweiser," as will baseball's Opening Week in April, and the Player of the Month award, and a concert series at the MLB Fan Cave.

Those sorts of presenting sponsorships are a way to deepen Budweiser's relationship with baseball and baseball fans, said Blaise D'Sylva, vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing at Anheuser-Busch.

"It helps us break through the clutter as we look for ways to strengthen the brand," he told the Post-Dispatch.

And Budweiser will maintain its status as "Official Beer Sponsor" of MLB, a deal it has had for 33 years that brings a wide range of promotional opportunities. Budweiser also is the beer sponsor for 23 of the 29 U.S. MLB teams, including the Cardinals. Neither side would disclose financial terms of the deal, but analysts at sponsorship research firm IEG told MarketWatch that it probably cost A-B $20 million, plus $20 million in advertising commitments, per year.

The pact is Budweiser's largest sports deal, D'Sylva said. Bud Light has a sponsorship deal with the NFL, and the brewer also has agreements with the NBA and Ultimate Fighting Championships.

Baseball just makes a lot of sense for the beer, he said.

"The great American beer and the great American pastime," D'Sylva said. "It's just a great marriage between two great brands."

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