- Michelob Ultra, an Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev brand, is the exclusive beer sponsor of Team USA for both the Paralympic and Olympic Games taking place this year in Paris, according to information shared with Marketing Dive.
- The announcement comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) named AB InBev a worldwide Olympic partner through 2028. Michelob Ultra also announced an exclusive sponsorship of Team USA for the Milan Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics and Paralympics. It will additionally serve as the official beer sponsor of the 2028 Olympic Games.
- With the partnership comes a renewed commitment to responsible consumption.
Michelob Ultra continues to lean heavily into a positioning around sports, exemplified in the new Team USA deal. The brand has frequently partnered with high-performance athletes, with the latest arrangement allowing Michelob Ultra to reach an audience of global fans. The news follows last summer’s announcement that Michelob Ultra had become the NBA’s first-ever global beer sponsor and comes as AB InBev shakes up its U.S. marketing department following a boycott of Bud Light in the wake of a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney last year.
Michelob Ultra’s focus on sports coincides with growth in light beer sales even as the beer category overall loses share of alcohol spend. Targeting sports enthusiasts could help Michelob Ultra reach active consumers interested in beer with fewer calories and lower alcohol content who are helping prop up the better-for-you category. For the Paris games, Michelob Ultra will also tout the Team USA work through custom packaging that throws a spotlight on its partnerships with the U.S. men’s and women’s National Soccer teams.
“Team USA joins Michelob ULTRA’s incredible roster of sports partners including the NBA, WNBA, PGA, U.S. Soccer Federation, Mexican Football Federation, Copa America, and Professional Bull Riders, all of which share our passion for quality, excellence and celebrating an active and balanced lifestyle,” said Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, in a press statement.
The Olympics has proven to be a steady magnet for brand sponsorships, even during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which posed many problems for advertisers as it took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michelob Ultra’s emphasis on sports has seen it reach a diverse audience, including recently becoming the first major sponsor of the Women’s Sports Network, an ad-supported streaming service dedicated to women's sports. Parent AB InBev also continues to work closely with the IOC, with Corona Cero, a nonalcoholic offering, now acting as the global beer sponsor of the Olympic Games. AB InBev markets Corona globally while Constellation Brands handles the product in the U.S.