NEW YORK – AB InBev, the world’s leading brewer, and the National Basketball Association (NBA), today announced a global expansion of its marketing partnership that will make Michelob ULTRA the exclusive and worldwide Official Beer Partner of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League, USA Basketball and Basketball Africa League and bring joyful experiences to basketball fans around the world.
“Our longstanding partnership with the NBA is key to our strategy of building platforms that connect beer-drinking occasions and consumer passion points with our brands,” said Fabio Baracho Martinelli, global vice president of Connections and Occasions, AB InBev. “Expanding our collaboration around the world allows us to connect with even more adult basketball fans and to bring them together for meaningful moments of joy and celebration, creating a future with more cheers.”
“We are thrilled to build upon our 25-year relationship with Anheuser-Busch and welcome Michelob ULTRA as the NBA’s first-ever global beer partner,” said Kerry Tatlock, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships and Media. “Michelob ULTRA has shown a passioned dedication to creating new, differentiated experiences for our fans, and we look forward to working with ULTRA to engage with our fans all around the world and bring them closer to their favorite game.”
The global expansion builds on the company’s 25-year relationship with the NBA, which officially tipped off in 1998 and has evolved into one of the league’s longest tenured marketing partnerships, committed to engaging the NBA’s global fanbase year-round across its marquee events. Michelob ULTRA became the Official Beer Partner of the NBA in 2020, highlighted during the NBA Restart in Orlando, FL with “Michelob ULTRA Courtside,” an award-winning digital experience that allowed fans to appear virtually inside the arena and share in the excitement of the game at a time when joy was deeply craved.
“Michelob ULTRA tipped off our journey with the NBA during unprecedented times and have continued to work and evolve together to bring our shared commitment of creating joyful experiences for adult basketball fans to fruition,” said Kyle Norrington, Chief Commercial Officer, Anheuser-Busch. “Expanding on our partnership will allow us to tap even further into our existing fan base and reach more basketball fans as we take it to the global stage.”
Michelob ULTRA and the NBA have continued to deliver unique experiences for basketball fans year-round that have brought NBA fans closer to the game, including producing on-the-ground fan experiences at NBA All-Star, introducing the NBA player #ULTRADrip Cam to highlight NBA player fashion, creating Michelob ULTRA NBA Team Cans and NBA Championship Bottles, among many other partnerships and disruptive collaborations.
Core elements of the global agreement include the following:
• A Global Expansion: Michelob ULTRA’s global marketing rights with the NBA, previously limited to the United States, Canada, and Brazil, have expanded across all the league’s global territories. The beer brand will serve as a presenting partner for select NBA Global Games and the global expansion will additionally tip off Michelob ULTRA’s marketing partnership with the Basketball Africa League (BAL), beginning with its fourth season in 2024.
• A Bolstered ULTRA Courtside: Beginning with the 2023 NBA Finals, Michelob ULTRA will have an expanded oncourt presence through first-of-its-kind physical branding on the baseline apron, visible on nationally televised games across the NBA, WNBA, the NBA Global Games, the NBA 2K24 Summer League, and USA Basketball.
• A Renewed Commitment across the WNBA: Continuing Michelob ULTRA’s commitment to increase visibility for women’s sports, Michelob ULTRA will serve as a partner across every WNBA marquee event.
• A Team Player: Michelob ULTRA will also remain the official beer partner of 25 of the 30 NBA teams, allowing the brand to connect with fans in the U.S. and teams across both Eastern and Western Conference. In addition, Michelob ULTRA Courtside viewing areas will be available at key league marquee events including NBA All-Star, NBA 2K24 Summer League, and the NBA Draft presented by State Farm.
To celebrate the global expansion, Michelob ULTRA will air a commercial featuring the Miami Heat’s six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler reminding fans that it’s only worth it if you enjoy it. The ad is set to air during the 2023 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV, which tips off on Thursday, June 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.