Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light has announced a multi-year sponsorship for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). The brand will get prominent visibility during fights, weigh-ins, digital content and broadcasts, Bloomberg reported.
The move comes as part of an extensive effort to rebuild Bud Light’s sales following a downturn after a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The deal caused a backlash among both its core customer base and the LGBTQ+ community due to Bud Light’s perceived lack of solidarity with the influencer following the outcry.
Starting on January 1, 2024, Bud Light will be the “official beer partner” of the UFC. Although numbers remain undisclosed, Bloomberg reported that it is the most substantial sponsorship in the history of the UFC, surpassing the $175 million deal signed with Crypto.com in 2021.
The partnership also marks a reunion of the two institutions, as Bud Light was formerly a brand partner of the UFC from 2008 until 2017. Dana White, the CEO of the UFC, expressed his excitement about the reunion, noting the history the brands have.
“Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light were UFC’s original beer sponsors more than 15 years ago,” White said in a statement to Bloomberg. “I’m proud to announce we are back in business together.”
“There are many reasons why I chose to go with Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, most importantly because I feel we are very aligned when it comes to our core values and what the UFC brand stands for,” White added to CNN.
Sponsoring the UFC is just one of many efforts by Anheuser-Busch to boost the Bud Light brand. Recent initiatives have included advertising campaigns featuring NFL stars, launching its “biggest summer campaign ever” and offering generous rebates over holiday weekends. Still, Bud Light’s sales continue to decline, with a 30% drop in volumes year-over-year for the four weeks ending on October 7, according to NIQ data from Beer Business Daily, per CNN.