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Volume 24 No. 117
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Anheuser-Busch Renews MLB Sponsorship Through '18; Deal To Include Wild Card Games

Anheuser-Busch and MLB Properties today announced a six-year renewal of the sponsorship agreement that designates Budweiser as the official beer sponsor of MLB. As part of the sponsorship, A-B will have exclusive rights within the malt beverage category to use MLB marks and logos. Budweiser also will be presenting sponsor of MLB Opening Week and the Player of the Month awards, as well as a cornerstone partner of the MLB Fan Cave. New in '12, Budweiser will be the presenting sponsor of the first-ever Wild Card Games, the single-elimination games between the two Wild Card teams from each league that will be played on Oct. 5 (A-B). MARKETWATCH's Sam Mamudi notes the deal "is the Budweiser brand’s biggest sponsorship and extends their 33-year partnership." Though it includes this year’s wild-card games, the six-year pact "will formally start" in '13 as the last agreement was a two-year deal signed in late '10. Neither MLB execs nor A-B "would comment on the value of the new arrangement, but it’s clear that the company is expanding its investment in baseball." A-B "also sponsors 23 of the 30 professional teams." The wild-card matchups "are sure to garner a high level of interest," as the "last time there was such a game -- when the Detroit Tigers played the Minnesota Twins in a 163rd game in October 2009 -- 6.5 million viewers tuned in." MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan said, "There’s a need and an urgency to break through all the clutter … and we think we’ve created an opportunity to allow Budweiser to make that breakthrough” (MARKETWATCH.com, 8/22).