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Bud Light’s Triumphant Return to UFC

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Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light brand made a high-profile comeback to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last night, marking its first Pay-Per-View (PPV) event involvement since 2017. The event, held at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, was a significant moment as South African middleweight fighter Dricus Du Plessis defeated American Sean Strickland, capturing the title in front of a fully packed audience.

Bud Light: The Official Beer of UFC

After replacing Modelo, Bud Light reclaimed its status as the official beer sponsor of UFC this year. While its initial event sponsorship was earlier this month at a Fight Night at UFC’s Apex venue in Las Vegas, the UFC 297 PPV event in Toronto, priced at $79.99 on ESPN+, marked its most notable presence yet. Anheuser-Busch (A-B) secured five logo positions within the Octagon during the event, highlighting the company’s strategy to promote multiple brands through this partnership.

A Multi-Brand Strategy: Budweiser Joins In

One significant observation was Budweiser’s logo among the five A-B positions in the Octagon, a move not previously disclosed in the official announcement of the UFC deal. This strategy underscores A-B’s intent to promote its various brands, including the involvement of Estrella Jalisco, its Mexican-style lager, in the Power Slap League—an entity in which UFC and CEO Dana White are investors.

Record-Breaking Attendance and Revenue

The event attracted 18,559 spectators, generating a gate revenue of $7.9 million (U.S. dollars), as reported by UFC. This achievement not only set the record for the highest-grossing live event in the history of Scotiabank Arena but also became the second-highest grossing UFC event ever in Canada, surpassed only by UFC 129 in April 2011.

A-B’s Comprehensive Branding Strategy in UFC

Anheuser-Busch’s engagement in the Octagon included prominent branding for Bud Light and Budweiser. The deal with UFC encompasses not just the Octagon branding, but also extends to social and digital content, broadcast integrations, and additional on-site branding opportunities. Bud Light’s involvement in UFC dates back to 2008-2017, highlighting a long-standing partnership.

A-B’s Market Strategy Amidst Turbulent Times

Based in St. Louis and owned by Belgian conglomerate A-B InBev, Anheuser-Busch is leveraging this deal to regain market share after facing challenges in 2023, notably due to the controversy involving Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney. As the company approaches this week’s trading, its shares are valued at $63.01 per share. In comparison, TKO Group, the owner of UFC and WWE, stands at $77.55 per share as the new trading week begins.

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