UFC and Bud Light team up in record-breaking sponsorship deal
Anheuser-Busch InBev’s flagship brand, Bud Light, is set to make its triumphant return as the official beer sponsor for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) through an exciting six-year marketing collaboration, as jointly disclosed by the two companies on Tuesday.
This sponsorship pact, boasting a colossal investment well into nine figures, has managed to outshine the earlier $175 million deal the UFC had with Crypto.com for their fight kits. It’s a record-setting partnership, marking the most substantial financial commitment in the history of mixed martial arts promotions.
Under the terms of this agreement, Bud Light will enjoy exclusive and prominent branding at UFC events and fights, along with in-arena promotional visibility. In a bid to further enhance their digital presence, the renowned brewer will also engage in crafting original content for the UFC’s digital and social media platforms.
This partnership comes on the heels of a controversy surrounding Bud Light earlier this year, stemming from their collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The initial backlash had a negative impact on the brand’s sales in the subsequent weeks. At the height of the backlash, Modelo Especial momentarily claimed the top spot as the best-selling beer in the United States.
With this significant deal, Anheuser-Busch rekindles its relationship with an organisation that has been perceived as having a more conservative political orientation compared to other major US sports leagues. UFC CEO Dana White had donated at least $1 million to a political action committee in support of Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign; the former president also made an appearance at a UFC event in Las Vegas earlier this year.
— Bud Light (@budlight) October 24, 2023
The UFC, now part of the newly formed TKO Group Holdings Inc. following a $21 billion merger with World Wrestling Entertainment, has been expanding its footprint by hosting events in various international destinations, including Singapore, Brazil, France, the UK and Australia. They are set to host their inaugural event in Saudi Arabia in March.
Anheuser-Busch’s association with the UFC dates back to 2008. In 2017, the mixed martial arts giant had embraced the rapidly growing Modelo as its official beer sponsor. Now, Bud Light will take the reins, supplanting Modelo, which is distributed by Constellation Brands.
“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 commented.
The UFC boasts an extensive reach, engaging more than 700 million fans worldwide. This partnership grants Bud Light an unparalleled level of visibility, spanning approximately 900 million TV households across more than 170 countries.
“Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light were UFC’s original beer sponsors more than 15 years ago,” UFC CEO Dana White said in a statement Tuesday.
“I’m proud to announce we are back in business together.“
This renewed partnership promises to be a game-changer for both the UFC and Bud Light, creating a potent synergy that will captivate fans and set new milestones in sports sponsorship.