In yet another sign that esports has hit the mainstream, Activision announced today that the Overwatch League now has its very own beer sponsor. The deal with multinational conglomerate AB InBev means that fan parties, "activations," and competitive events including the 2019 Grand Finals, will be sponsored by none other than Bud Light.
"Partnering with a brand like Bud Light and the AB InBev family of brands allows us to continue to reach fans in new and exciting ways," Brandon Snow, Activision Blizzard Esports League chief revenue officer Brandon Snow said. "We’re very happy to be working with a company that finds value in bringing fans together to celebrate the very best in competitive entertainment."
The first sponsored event will be a "fan activation"—defined by Tradeable Bits as "the process of attracting people, whether they be die-hard fans or casual bystanders, to your brand through some sort of experience"—at the Dallas Fuel's Bud Light Homestand Weekend, followed by another Bud Light Homestand Weekend in Atlanta, and then the LA Rivalry Weekend in August. Bud Light will also sponsor a trio of Overwatch League televised broadcasts:
- April 27, 8–10 p.m. EDT on ESPN2
- July 6, 3–5 p.m. EDT on ABC
- July 7, 2–3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2
"We’ve seen a ton of exciting Overwatch League watch parties spring up organically around the world, and with AB InBev and Bud Light on board to partner with us they’re going to get even better," said Josh Cella, head of global partnerships for Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. "AB InBev and specifically Bud Light helped to create the notion of sports sponsorships as we know them today. We are thrilled to be partnering with a company that is all about the fans, as we are with the Overwatch League."
Bud Light is awful, but it has been the beneficiary of some memorable marketing campaigns over the years, and that's what I'm really excited for: I don't generally watch competitive Overwatch but for a chance to see Reinhardt, Doomfist, Soldier: 76, Roadhog, and Torbjorn screaming "Wazzup!" at each other? You better believe I'd tune in for that.