SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Chris Wujcik

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Chris
Wujcik

Organization: Anheuser-Busch
Title: Director, local sports and stadium signage
Age: 39
Where born: San Antonio
Education: University of Kentucky (B.A., journalism/advertising)
Career background: Meridian Communications;
Anheuser-Busch
Family: Wife, Mollie; son, Wilson (8); daughter, Ella (6)

Favorite apps: ESPN, Pandora, TheChive, TWC.
Favorite way to unwind: Exercise.
Guilty pleasure: Chubby Hubby (Ben and Jerry’s).
Worst habit: Teeth grinding.
Cause supported: American Cancer Society.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Mark Cuban.
I have a fear of … : Oversleeping.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Completed a marathon.
2014 will be a good year if … : The weather cooperates.


SW LOUIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Chris Wujcik’s keen marketing skills are on display at dozens of sports facilities across the country.

As Anheuser-Busch’s director of local sports and stadium signage, Wujcik is responsible for an annual budget of about $140 million for one of sports’ biggest advertisers. Those buys cover

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

agreements with 92 teams across 40 big league markets.

Over the past two years, Wujcik was heavily involved in negotiating a 10-year founding partnership at the San Francisco 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium. The Bud Light brand will be prominently displayed at a scoreboard fan deck on the building’s north side. Wujcik also was behind A-B’s renewal with the Chicago Cubs in September 2013. A new Budweiser sign goes up this season in right field at 100-year-old Wrigley Field, and the brewer will expand its patio space in that part of the ballpark.

He’s been responsible for deals for Budweiser-themed destinations at Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center and American Airlines Center, as well, along with the new Ballpark Village in St. Louis. The Budweiser Brewhouse is one of the property’s anchor tenants.

Over his 13 years working at A-B, Wujcik has seen his job evolve from one focusing on media assets to signs tied to team brands. Now, the big trend is for brewers to develop themed neighborhoods at sports venues to catch the attention of younger fans ages 21 to 29. “We’re trying to give them a place to go and a reason to stay,” Wujcik said, “to provide something of value: interactive features like green screens to capture content, to take pictures of themselves in the batter’s box or their favorite team’s uniform.”

More challenges arise as the malt beverage category continues to be sliced thinner and thinner, with the popularity of craft beers and ciders invading the sports space, and new competition from spirits as well.

“I don’t know that people decide ‘I want a beer’ necessarily,” Wujcik said. “They’re like, ‘I want a drink,’ and then they look at their list of options there. It continues to be a challenge for us across the board.”

— Don Muret

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