UFC Announces Partnership With Controversial Beer
UFC announced a partnership with Anheuser-Busch and said Bud Light will be its official beer.
The organization struck a multi-year deal, which goes into effect January 1st, giving Bud Light a heavy presence in UFC’s online and broadcasting content.
“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,” UFC CEO Dana White said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“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,” he added.
Could this be a desperate action by Bud Light to save its brand?
Are they trying to overcome the brutal backlash from the advertisements featuring Dylan Mulvaney?
“Bud Light just spent $100 million on a UFC sponsorship deal to try and cancel out the chicks with d***s ad. No one is drinking Bud Light at any tailgate I’ve been to this fall. Brand is dead,” Outkick’s Clay Travis wrote.
Bud Light just spent $100 million on a UFC sponsorship deal to try and cancel out the chicks with dicks ad. No one is drinking Bud Light at any tailgate I’ve been to this fall. Brand is dead: https://t.co/RfCe4AxurB
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 24, 2023
— New York Post (@nypost) October 24, 2023
Fox News reports:
“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,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in the press release. “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.”
Anheuser-Busch will be replacing Modelo as the UFC’s official beer partner.
Appearing on “The Sean Hannity Show,” White said his decision to partner with Anheuser-Busch “was the furthest thing about money.”
“These guys employ 65,000 Americans, thousands of vets they employ. They spend over $700 million a year with U.S. farmers, you know, buying their crops for their product. And there’s many, many other reasons that I did this,” White told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on his radio show. “Where I sit personally with my core values and I felt like the core values of the UFC, even though we’re a global sport, and we have fighters from all over the world. This is an American company. And I love this country and this is more about me being aligned with somebody who is a sponsor of the UFC and somebody I’m going to work with every day.”
White alluded to the backlash Bud Light previously received by saying fans “might not love” every business decision that is made by either UFC or Anheuser-Busch but insisted “it wasn’t a tough decision at all.”
“This is more about core values to me than anything else,” White added.
UFC announces Bud Light as its official beer in partnership with Anheuser-Busch https://t.co/I1oZhWHMJb
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 25, 2023
According to CNBC, “the sponsorship deal is ‘well into the nine figures,’ and the largest in the mixed martial arts promotion’s history.”
As part of the agreement, Bud Light will receive exclusive and prominent branding at UFC fights and events, as well as in-arena promotion. In addition, the brewer will collaborate on original content for UFC’s digital and social channels.
The deal goes into effect Jan. 1.
The agreement comes on the heels of a conservative boycott against Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light that began this spring when the brand partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The backlash put a dent in sales for the beer in the weeks that followed. At the height of the backlash, Modelo Especial dethroned Bud Light as the best-selling beer in the U.S.
With the deal, Anheuser-Busch reestablishes ties with an organization perceived to have a more conservative political bent than many other U.S. sports leagues. UFC CEO Dana White donated at least $1 million to a political action committee that supported Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, and the ex-president appeared at a UFC event in Las Vegas earlier this year.