A-B’s D’Sylva on beer, media rights and marketing strategy
■ What’s the state of the domestic beer market?
|Blaise D’Sylva said A-B is targeting opportunities with music.
■ Media rights are certainly the healthiest part of the sports economy. As someone who has seen both sides of the equation, are you surprised that rights fees continue to escalate?
D’SYLVA: The good news for us is that we do a lot of multiyear media deals, so we are somewhat insulated there. The rights fees really more immediately hit the consumer first in their cable or satellite bills.
■ But brands will ultimately be the ones bearing the brunt of those escalating rights fees, won’t they?
D’SYLVA: As an industry observer, the escalation is more amazing with every new deal. To be fair, sports are still one of the best places to reach our audience. But I think until the consumer says something about the size of their cable or satellite TV bills, it will probably continue. Either that or the affiliate fees will just get so large there will be some protest there.
■ It is a time of year when everyone is doing projections and budgeting. Where will A-B spend more marketing dollars next year?
D’SYLVA: About where you would think, which is digital and social in keeping with changing media consumption patterns. Even as we try to figure all that out, we know that TV is not dead. It still works effectively for us. Outside of sports, we are investing heavily in music with our “Made In America” platform. We are putting a lot behind music now, whether it is in sponsorship or in the media space, with things like our exclusive deal with Mark Cuban’s AXS TV. Music and sports are the two biggest passion points, so we look for ways to connect those and how to come with a bigger, better and more relevant message for our target consumers. You look at what we’ve done at the Super Bowls for a few years with the Bud Light Hotel — that’s been all about mixing sports and music.