MCN Exclusive: Bud Light In UFC’s Corner

Beer maker Anheuser-Busch will grace the center of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s  octagon surface through 2011 as part of a long-term sponsorship agreement between the two companies.

The three-year deal, expected to be announced at a press conference today, will make A-B's Bud Light the exclusive beer sponsor for the UFC. The A-B pact marks the largest and most mainstream company to be affiliated with the mixed martial arts company, UFC president Dana White told Multichannel News.

Bud Light signage will appear on the Octagon center mat and on its vertical bumpers during each of the UFC’s 10 or more annual pay-per-view events,  beginning with the May 24 UFC 84 event. The Bud Light logo will also be featured prominently during UFC press conferences and weigh-in events.

In addition, Bud Light will be the presenting sponsor of two UFC pay-per-view events annually and serve as the official beer sponsor of the four or more UFC Fight Nights, according to White, who would not reveal financial terms of the deal.

Also, specific Bud Light marketing and promotional details surrounding UFC events have not been ironed out yet, according to White.

“The one negative thing that you could say about the UFC is that it didn’t have a mainstream sponsor,” said White. “That is now gone. What we’re really looking at these guys to be is a strategic partner for us. When Budweiser gets behind an event, everybody knows that event is happening.”

Added Anheuser-Busch, Inc vice president, global media and sports marketing Tony Ponturo: “UFC has developed a huge following in recent years and is wildly popular with the 21-34-year-old fans we want to reach.”

The deal comes on the heels of UFC’s arrangement with online media company Yahoo! To distribute the company’s monthly PPV events globally via the web 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.