Modelo Especial To Replace Bud Light As UFC Beer Sponsor In Multiyear Deal
Mexican beer brand Modelo Especial "will replace 10-year incumbent Bud Light as the official beer of the UFC beginning in January" in an "audacious, eight-figure plunge for a brand that announced its first U.S. sports sponsorship less than a year ago," according to Bill King of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. A source said that the rights fee, which "grants Modelo only the U.S. and allows the UFC to do individual deals in territories such as Canada, the U.K. and Brazil," is in the $10M range annually that A-B InBev "paid in its prior deal for Bud Light." Other sources said that the new deal was for "slightly less." UFC execs would not confirm any figures, but said that they are "confident that selling the category country by country" not only will "generate more revenue than a global deal, but also will deliver more in-market promotion for their events and fighters." The switch "moves the UFC to a brand that will make the sport its focus as it strives for greater general market awareness." When UFC signed on with A-B in '08, it "trumpeted the deal as evidence of its arrival as a viable, credible sports property." The category opened in Q2 this year, when A-B "declined to renew at terms similar to those of that last deal." Not long after that, sponsorship execs from UFC owner WME-IMG "presented the package to Modelo parent Constellation Brands." Just as Modelo "sees an opportunity with the UFC fan base, the UFC hopes to tap into Modelo’s strong position among Hispanics," who make up 20% of UFC fans. Modelo's other sports deals include the Nets/Barclays Center, White Sox, Angels and CONCACAF (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/9 issue).