XFL Brings On Gatorade, A-B InBev As Sponsors Ahead Of Launch
The rebooted XFL will kickoff on Saturday with two of the biggest commercial patrons in sports as league sponsors, in Gatorade and A-B InBev. Gatorade is the NFL’s most-tenured corporate sponsor, since '83, so the argument could be made that the Pepsi-owned sports drink provides credibility for the XFL. The same could be said for its TV deals with ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports, for which networks are underwriting production but no rights fees are being paid. Gatorade Senior VP & GM Brett O'Brien said, "There is a bit of legitimization from us but these guys are out there working their tails off, so let’s be there on the sidelines with them and see where it goes." It is not believed that Pepsi is paying much, if anything, beyond providing the product. Gatorade Global Head of Sports Marketing Jeff Kearney, who would not comment on the financials of the deal, said, "We’re a brand that was born on football sidelines, so it just make sense." He added that the sideline assets will be similar to Gatorade’s deal with the NFL, with sideline cups and coolers. "As far as the marketing engine behind it, that’s developing," he said.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Less is known about A-B InBev's activation, but sources said that it will be largely for the push behind Bud Light Seltzer's launch. Since A-B InBev already is a sponsor in many of the venues where the XFL will play, the brewer is treating the deal like a media buy. Rights include rotational sideline inventory, and Bud Light Seltzer branding on the helmets of the Dallas Renegades, notable since the Cowboys have been an exclusive MillerCoors sponsor for over four decades. The Renegades will play at Globe Life Park. A-B InBev has been an NFL corporate sponsor since '11, originally for its Bud Light brand; it has since added rights for a number of its hard seltzer labels, along with the Babe brand of sparkling, canned wines.