ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. will be the exclusive alcohol sponsor for the Super Bowl through 2012, and the world’s largest brewer is adding other sports to its long list of sponsorships.
The St. Louis-based maker of Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob and other beers announced on Monday it agreed a deal with NBC, which will televise the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2012. Anheuser-Busch announced in March agreements with CBS for the 2007 and 2010 games and Fox for the 2008 and 2011 Super Bowls.
Anheuser-Busch has been the Super Bowl’s exclusive alcohol sponsor since 1989.
The deal with NBC also calls for Anheuser-Busch to serve as exclusive alcohol advertiser for airing of the Ryder Cup and the President’s Cup from next year through 2011. Anheuser-Busch will sponsor the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness through 2010.
Anheuser-Busch’s 48.8-percent share of the domestic beer market is partly due to years of saturating sporting events with marketing and advertising. The company was the exclusive beer sponsor for this year’s Winter Olympics and is the same for soccer’s World Cup. It sponsors the Daytona 500 and other NASCAR events, major league baseball, golf’s PGA Championship, the NCAA basketball tourney and college football’s prominent games.
Anheuser-Busch wont’ say how much it spends on sports advertising, but the figure has been estimated at $300 million.
“We still believe live sports are very much on target to our adult beer consumer,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president of global media and sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch. “At least in the beer category, there’s nothing that can beat a major live sporting event.”
Advertising on sports remains the crucial tool for reaching the brewery’s most sought-after demographic — men ages 21 to 34 — said Eric Shepard, executive editor of the industry publication Beer Marketer’s Insights.
“It’s clearly a priority for them,” Shepard said, though he noted that as Anheuser-Busch expands into other types of alcoholic drinks to offset a stagnation of beer sales in recent years, it is finding new ways to market its products.
“They’re adding other drinks, using other media,” Shepard said. “In the last couple of years, they’ve become more flexible.”
Anheuser-Busch shares slipped 16 cents to $45.26 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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