Bud’s MLB Opening Week: Bars, Cans & Clydesdales

As most of the MLB’s big sponsors roll out activation for the new 2013 season, Opening Week presenting partner Anheuser-Busch is leveraging both its league rights and its 23 club deals with 142 million team-branded cans and bottles of Budweiser.


These 12-ounce cans and bottles of Bud, carrying MLB and team-specific logos, are part of a limited edition packaging initiative that sees the brewer produce more than six million baseball-branded cases of Bud for 23 of the MLB’s 30 teams.


The team cans strand of Bud’s opening week activation is just part of a widespread integrated national campaign: this ranges from Anheuser-Busch tagged TV ads and in-stadium announcements, through a branded presence on the MLB’s official digital and social platforms for Budweiser’s ‘Bring On The Celebration’ initiative, to new opening week point-of-sale materials and ‘build-a-bar’ festivities.


While 20 MLB stadiums were actively involved in the MLB-themed cans strand, other venues such as Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Dodger Stadium, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, are all acquiring Budweiser ‘Build-a-Bars’ festivities as part of their opening day activities.


This element of the campaign sees Budweiser will host pre-game build-a-bars prior to home openers, encouraging fans to celebrate the start of the baseball season.


‘We’re trying to make Opening Day a bigger occasion,’ explains Anheuser-Busch’s VP of media, sports and entertainment Blaise D’Sylva.


As part of this wider season-opening initiative, in St Louis, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Tampa, the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales also made special deliveries of Opening Day tickets to one lucky fan’s home as part of a special text-to-win promotion.



This follows on from the horses numerous appearances during MLB’s Spring Training which revolved around a fan competition run across the beer brand’s Facebook page.


Winners get to ride the Bud Beer Wagon circle the outfield before warm up games.


For example Florida’s Kelly Homa won and rode around Jupiter Florida’s Roger Dean Stadium before the Spring Training warm up game between St Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins.



Furthermore, the arrival of Spring and the baseball season also coincides with promotion for the public tour seasonal opening the home of the Budweiser Clydesdales Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri.


Here visitors can see stars of the beer brand’s Super Bowl and baseball TV ads


The Budweiser Clydesdales have been an integral part of Anheuser-Busch’s heritage since 1933 (the repeal of prohibition) and their strength and majesty aim to symbolise Budweiser quality and team spirit.




By extending club customisation through the can packaging to individual fan personalisation with the Clydesdale ticket delivery, Budweiser is ensuring that its baseball activation is engaging and fan-relevant.


Back in August 2012, Anheuser-Busch and Major League Baseball Properties announced a six-year renewal of the sponsorship agreement that designates Budweiser as the Official Beer Sponsor of Major League Baseball, continuing a relationship that has lasted more than 30 years.


As part of the sponsorship renewal, Budweiser became the Presenting Sponsor of MLB Opening Week and continued its exclusive rights within the malt beverage category to use the MLB marks and logos.


In addition to the usual rights over the use of MLB marks and logos, plus brand presence across the MLB’s communication platforms, 2012 saw Anheuser-Busch use its partnership to engage fans via social media and help place baseball at the centre of popular culture.


Indeed, the deal saw the beer giant also front a series of concerts at the MLB Fan Cave in New York City with acts ranging from Nas, Daughtry, Adam Lambert, The Avett Brothers and Far East Movement and a crowd made up of winners from a Bud Facebook competition.


Also new last year was Budweiser becoming the presenting sponsor of the first-ever Wild Card Games.


This comes in addition to Budweiser’s use of the MLB as a platform to support America’s military via its “Walk Off a Hero” program supporting the Folds of Honor Foundation (which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for families of US military personnel killed or disabled while serving their country).


The latest 2013 opening week work builds on this fresh approach.


‘For more than 30 years, America’s national pastime has partnered with America’s beer and we are proud to continue the union of two brands that evoke such loyalty and emotion,’ said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President, Business.


‘By partnering on initiatives like the Wild Card and MLB Fan Cave, this new agreement truly demonstrates an evolution in our relationship.’


‘MLB has a broad and growing fan base and our partnership gives Budweiser a presence with a large and loyal audience of adult beer drinkers,’ said Blaise D’Sylva, vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing at Anheuser-Busch.


‘As the Official Beer Sponsor, our focus is on Budweiser enhancing the baseball experience for fans, whether in-game or at-home, through exclusive content and unique opportunities at point-of-sale, on-premise and via our social media channels.’




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