Spencer Gordon, VP of connections at the brewer's U.S. division in a statement said the decision followed a “reassessment” of the company’s investment priorities that would help support an association with football year-round, including spring and summer marketing around the NFL Draft and kickoff events that take place when beer consumption tends to be higher.
“For the Super Bowl, this [re-assessment] means we’re focusing on bringing our brands even closer to the sport by connecting with consumers and fans wherever they are, integrating our messaging within the game itself as well as pre and post-event,” he said. “This extends all season, shifting media into the summer with the NFL Draft presented by Bud Light and activations throughout Kickoff as well as with teams, players, and league activations.”
The NFL remains a vital part of the brand’s advertising, including a multi-year deal as an official NFL sponsor that was recently renewed, Gordon said. The company also has partnerships with 26 NFL clubs and more than 25 players.
“The Super Bowl national broadcast continues to be a special moment in our advertising strategy, and consumers can look forward to seeing our brands prominently featured in the big game,” Gordon added.
The move comes after the brewer recently changed media agencies in the U.S., hiring Publicis Groupe after a global review. The account had been at Dentsu.
Fox, which will carry the 2023 Super Bowl, has no plans to bring on another exclusive alcohol category advertiser, according to a person familiar with the matter. Fox declined to comment.
AB InBev for years has wrestled with the worth of the exclusivity arrangements, said Blaise D'Sylva, who was the brewer's U.S. VP-media, sports and entertainment from 2012 to 2014. The brewer's exit now is "not surprising because the price tag of [exclusivity] is a lot because the networks wanted three-year multi-sport deals so it locked you into a lot of spending beyond the Super Bowl, beyond the NFL in other sports.” He estimated those individual network deals could run as high as $40 million to $50 million a year.
He added: "What does exclusivity mean these days when people can do a lot of things in and around the game," noting that other brands can run pregame ads, for instance, and make references to the Super Bowl on digital media. He suggested that because brands now release ads early before the game, that also devalues exclusivity.
A Diageo spokeswoman declined to comment on its Super Bowl interest. The liquor giant inked a deal in 2021 to become the NFL's official spirits sponsor. And the league earlier this month signed E. & J. Gallo Winery as its wine sponsor.
Moslon Coors over the years has used stunts in an attempt to steal attention from AB InBev during Super Bowl week, including opening a bar in the metaverse with its Miller Lite brand during this year's game. Representatives at the brewer did not immediately return a request for comment about its interest in Super Bowl ads.