June 1, 2023
Michelob ULTRA Becomes NBA's First-Ever Global Beer Partner
- Global Expansion Builds on Anheuser-Busch’s 25-Year History with the NBA and Will See a Bolstered Michelob ULTRA Presence Across the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League, USA Basketball and Basketball Africa League -
- Michelob ULTRA Commercial featuring Jimmy Butler Will Air During the 2023 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV -
NEW YORK, June 1, 2023 - AB InBev, the world’s leading brewer, and the National Basketball Association (NBA), today announced a global expansion of its marketing partnership that will make Michelob ULTRA the exclusive and worldwide Official Beer Partner of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League, USA Basketball and Basketball Africa League and bring joyful experiences to basketball fans around the world.
“Our longstanding partnership with the NBA is key to our strategy of building platforms that connect beer-drinking occasions and consumer passion points with our brands,” said Fabio Baracho Martinelli, global vice president of Connections and Occasions, AB InBev. “Expanding our collaboration around the world allows us to connect with even more adult basketball fans and to bring them together for meaningful moments of joy and celebration, creating a future with more cheers.”
“We are thrilled to build upon our 25-year relationship with Anheuser-Busch and welcome Michelob ULTRA as the NBA’s first-ever global beer partner,” said Kerry Tatlock, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships and Media. “Michelob ULTRA has shown a passioned dedication to bringing new, differentiated experiences to our fans and we look forward to working with ULTRA to engage with our fans all around the world and bring them closer to their favorite game.”
The global expansion builds on the company’s 25-year relationship with the NBA, which officially tipped off in 1998 and has evolved into one of the league’s longest tenured marketing partnerships, committed to engaging the NBA’s global fanbase year-round across its marquee events. Michelob ULTRA became the Official Beer Partner of the NBA in 2020, highlighted during the NBA Restart in Orlando, FL with “Michelob ULTRA Courtside,” an award-winning digital experience that allowed fans to appear virtually inside the arena and share in the excitement of the game at a time when joy was deeply craved.
“Michelob ULTRA tipped off our journey with the NBA during unprecedented times and have continued to work and evolve together to bring our shared commitment of creating joyful experiences for adult basketball fans to fruition,” said Kyle Norrington, Chief Commercial Officer, Anheuser-Busch. “Expanding on our partnership will allow us to tap even further into our existing fan base and reach more basketball fans as we take it to the global stage.”
Michelob ULTRA and the NBA have continued to deliver unique experiences for basketball fans year-round that have brought NBA fans closer to the game, including producing on-the-ground fan experiences at NBA All-Star, introducing the NBA player #ULTRADrip Cam to highlight NBA player fashion, creating Michelob ULTRA NBA Team Cans and NBA Championship Bottles, among many other partnerships and disruptive collaborations.
Core elements of the global agreement include the following:
● A Global Expansion: Michelob ULTRA’s global marketing rights with the NBA, previously limited to the United States, Canada, and Brazil, have expanded across all the league’s global territories. The beer brand will serve as a presenting partner for select NBA Global Games and the global expansion will additionally tip off Michelob ULTRA’s marketing partnership with the Basketball Africa League (BAL), beginning with its fourth season in 2024.
● A Bolstered ULTRA Courtside: Beginning with the 2023 NBA Finals, Michelob ULTRA will have an expanded oncourt presence through first-of-its-kind physical branding on the baseline apron, visible on nationally televised games across the NBA, WNBA, the NBA Global Games, the NBA 2K24 Summer League, and USA Basketball.
● A Renewed Commitment across the WNBA: Continuing Michelob ULTRA’s commitment to increase visibility for women's sports, Michelob ULTRA will serve as a partner across every WNBA marquee event.
● A Team Player: Michelob ULTRA will also remain the official beer partner of 25 of the 30 NBA teams, allowing the brand to connect with fans in the U.S. and teams across both Eastern and Western Conference. In addition, Michelob ULTRA Courtside viewing areas will be available at key league marquee events including NBA All-Star, NBA 2K24 Summer League, and the NBA Draft presented by State Farm.
To celebrate the global expansion, Michelob ULTRA will air a commercial featuring the Miami Heat’s six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler reminding fans that it's only worth it if you enjoy it. The ad is set to air during the 2023 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV, which tips off on Thursday, June 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
ABOUT MICHELOB ULTRA
Introduced in 2002, Michelob ULTRA is the No. 2 beer in the industry by volume. With just 95 calories, 2.6 carbs and no artificial flavors or colors, it is a superior light beer that celebrates the active, balanced lifestyle of its drinkers that includes both fitness and fun. Michelob ULTRA's choice of grains and extended mashing process leads to its refreshing taste and fewer carbohydrates. It is brewed with the finest barley malt, rice, hops, and a pure-cultured yeast strain, all of which reflect Anheuser-Busch's commitment to brewing quality. Michelob ULTRA reminds you to always drink, and sweat, responsibly.
ABOUT ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV
Anheuser-Busch InBev is a publicly traded company (Euronext: ABI) based in Leuven, Belgium, with secondary listings on the Mexico (MEXBOL: ANB) and South Africa (JSE: ANH) stock exchanges and with American Depositary Receipts on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BUD). As a company, we dream big to create a future with more cheers. We are always looking to serve up new ways to meet life’s moments, move our industry forward and make a meaningful impact in the world. We are committed to building great brands that stand the test of time and to brewing the best beers using the finest ingredients. Our diverse portfolio of well over 500 beer brands includes global brands Budweiser®, Corona® and Stella Artois®; multi-country brands Beck’s®, Hoegaarden®, Leffe® and Michelob ULTRA®; and local champions such as Aguila®, Antarctica®, Bud Light®, Brahma®, Cass®, Castle®, Castle Lite®, Cristal®, Harbin®, Jupiler®, Modelo Especial®, Quilmes®, Victoria®, Sedrin®, and Skol®. Our brewing heritage dates back more than 600 years, spanning continents and generations. From our European roots at the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium. To the pioneering spirit of the Anheuser & Co brewery in St. Louis, US. To the creation of the Castle Brewery in South Africa during the Johannesburg gold rush. To Bohemia, the first brewery in Brazil. Geographically diversified with a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets, we leverage the collective strengths of approximately 167,000 colleagues based in nearly 50 countries worldwide. For 2022, AB InBev’s reported revenue was 57.8 billion USD (excluding JVs and associates).
ABOUT THE NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a global sports and media organization with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball. Built around five professional sports leagues: the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League, the NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 214 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 200 countries and territories on all seven continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2022-23 season featured 120 international players from 41 countries. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 2.1 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
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