Budweiser ends FA Cup sponsorship to focus on World Cup

Budweiser has cut its ties with English football after deciding not to renew its sponsorship of the FA Cup to concentrate resources on maximising its World Cup sponsorship.

The FA is looking for a new lead sponsor for the FA Cup.

The decision ends the beer brand’s involvement with the top flight for now following a string of sponsorship deals around the Premier League dating back to 2002.

Budweiser says it will continue its “long standing” association with football through its sponsorship of the 2014 World Cup and the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. Sources close to the matter have previously told Marketing Week the brewer wants to use the funds from the £8m-a-season deal to pursue more cost-effective, global sponsorship initiatives.

The announcement comes after Marketing Week revealed Budweiser was in 11th hour discussions with the FA about renewing its deal last month (17 January). It is unusual for a sponsorship renewal to not have been resolved so far into the final season of an agreement and it is understood the delay had been caused by a shake-up to Budeweiser’s marketing function following the acquisition of Corona maker Modelo in 2012.

Iain Newell, Budweiser’s on-trade sales director says: “We are proud of our support for the world’s most prestigious domestic cup competition.  The partnership has been great for Budweiser, fans and clubs around the UK, and in particular those grassroots clubs who have benefitted from £1m of Budweiser grants through the Club Futures programme.  

Budweiser became the title sponsor of the FA Cup in 2011 in a three-year deal reportedly worth £24m. The brewer activated the partnership through a mix of branded content campaigns such as its “Dream On” football series and more traditional on-pack promotions.

It leaves the FA’s commercial team needing to find a replacement just seven months before the start of the 2014/15 season. The governing body is currently restructuring its commercial team to give it more experience when courting global brands.

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