Originally Published: 12 JAN 24 10:42 ET
By Jordan Valinsky, CNN
New York (CNN) — Bud Light brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev is becoming the first-ever beer sponsor for the next three Olympics and Paralympic Games — with a non-alcoholic brand taking the torch.
Rather than using the sponsorship to advertise an established beer, AB InBev announced Friday that non-alcoholic Corona Cero beer will be promoted globally to show the company’s and International Olympic Committee’s “commitment to responsible consumption” to the “billions of Olympic fans around the world with messages of connection, moderation and celebration.”
Financial terms of the sponsorship weren’t revealed. The deal will cover the upcoming Summer Games in Paris, the Milan Winter Games in 2026, and the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles, which will be the first Summer Olympics to be held in the US in about three decades.
Prior to this, the Olympics never had a global beer sponsorship, but local organizing committees had enlisted beer brands in the past. For example, Asahi Breweries was the official beer of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo (which took place in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.)
“Beer and sports are better together, so we are proud to be the first beer sponsor for the Olympics at the Worldwide Olympic Partner level,” said AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris in a statement.
Global sales of non-alcoholic beer have been soaring in recent years as drinkers embrace moderation with alcohol. IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, a global firm that tracks alcohol sales, said sales of no and low products are expected to grow by 31% this year in 10 major markets, including Spain, Germany and the US.
Corona Cero, launched in 2022, isn’t sold in the US since AB InBev handles international distribution and sales of Mexican lager across Europe. However, Modelo maker Constellation Brands controls the beer in the US and Mexico. (A similar beer, called Corona Non-Alcoholic, is sold in the US).
“We are always connected and up to speed with consumer behavior, being a consumer-centric organization, that’s what we do,” AB InBev CMO Marcel Marcondes told CNN. “We see all the trends towards non-alcoholic propositions coming from consumers, and also we know that beer is usually the beverage of choice for sports fans.”
Specifically, Corona was chosen because “this is the most global brand that we have in the company, and this is a global partnership,” Doukeris told CNN. “Therefore, it only makes sense for us to go with the brand that we have the highest reach globally.”
Also announced Friday, AB InBev’s Michelob Ultra is becoming the “exclusive beer sponsor” for Team USA athletes through 2028 and will be the official beer of the LA 2028 Summer Games.
Budweiser ended its sponsorship of Team USA athletes in 2017 after 32 years. Michelob Ultra, a low-carb beer, is likely more of a fit since it targets active people, often tapping high-profile athletes for its ads.
CNN’s George Ramsay contributed to this report.
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Paris 2024 Olympic Games
**This image is for use with this specific article only** This Paris 2024 Olympic Games flag next to European Union and French flag at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris in 2024.
Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images
12 Jan 24