In one of the largest-ever league sponsorship deals, the U.S. division of brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV will make Bud Light the official beer of the nation's richest sports league starting in 2011. A person familiar with the terms of the deal said it is worth nearly $1.2 billion over six years.
Bud Light will replace rival Coors Light, which is brewed by MillerCoors LLC, whose deal with the NFL will expire after the 2011 Super Bowl. A spokesman for Chicago-based MillerCoors said the company tried to reach a deal with the NFL but could not come to terms on the price.
The U.S. arm of Anheuser, based in Leuven, Belgium, already sponsors 28 NFL teams and has advertised on 22 consecutive Super Bowls. "This gives Bud Light real ownership of professional football within the beer category," said Dave Peacock, president of the U.S. division.
Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the U.S., but shipments of the beer declined last year for the first time since it was introduced in 1982, fueling recent efforts by Anheuser to ramp up advertising of the brand.
—By MATTHEW FUTTERMAN, David Kesmodel contributed to this article.