SBJ/January 24 - 30, 2005/This Weeks Issue

Michelob's AmberBock 'goes all in' as sponsor of The World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour has signed Michelob AmberBock beer as its first season-long sponsor. The deal encompasses the 16-week season, which starts March 2 and is re-aired numerous times during the year. Including the sponsorship, ad spots, in-show promotion and Anheuser-Busch’s planned execution, the deal is worth several million dollars, according to Audrey Kania, WPT’s executive vice president. AmberBock will get numerous ad spots in each telecast, in-show graphics for the “poker corner”

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and “hole card camera” segments, and a logo on the table. The winners of each event will celebrate a toast with AmberBock in the show’s closing sequence.

The WPT is in its third season and is the Travel Channel’s highest-rated program. It averaged 1.2 million unique viewers per episode, and 2 million during the average minute of prime-time play, according to the Travel Channel.

Michelob AmberBock was an advertiser in a World Poker Tour special. The current deal is being supported by a grassroots “Go All In Texas Hold ’em” tournament, begun in December, that will involve several thousand events at bars around the country and will produce two participants in the WPT Invitational, April 18-24 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. In about half the states, progressive tournaments — where winners progress to the next round — are not legal, so the brand will conduct stand-alone themed poker nights there instead, according to Paul Simmons, AmberBock brand manager.

“Go All In,” a poker term, is the brand’s tag line for this sponsorship.

Simmons said the World Poker Tour is a strong vehicle for getting out a certain message about AmberBock, that it’s not your average brew, but it’s not a specialty premium beer either. “It fits with an in-bar activity. You’re in a pub, sitting at bar, having some beers. [Poker] is very intellectual, but you’re having fun, too,” he said.

He added, “Probably, what’s more exciting is that this association with poker gets us involved with consumers. Poker’s not just white or black, female or male, young or old — it’s such a mix of people we’re reaching it’s phenomenal.”

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