Miller time for NBA Canada

Brewing company SABMiller has reached a multiyear agreement with the National Basketball Association to make its Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) brand the official beer of NBA Canada.

Under the agreement, MGD will be promoted at the NBA All-Star Game when it is hosted in Toronto next year, while it will also benefit from marketing opportunities surrounding the NBA Draft, Finals and other league showpieces.

NBA Canada has not had an official beer partner since a one-year partnership with Moosehead Breweries in 2009.

MGD previously partnered with Toronto Raptors and was sold at the team’s Air Canada Centre under SABMiller’s distribution deal in Canada with Molson Coors. This relationship ended on April 1 and SABMiller opted to take the marketing of MGD in-house, paving the way for a league-wide sponsorship. MGD is no longer sold at concessions in the Air Canada Arena.

“When we ended our relationship, we understood that it was going to have an impact on our association with the Raptors,” Stewart Cowan, vice-president of marketing at SABMiller Canada, told the Globe and Mail newspaper. “But it doesn’t change our opinion that basketball is an important association for MGD.”

The deal with SABMiller continues a concerted sponsorship drive from NBA Canada, which has signed deals with Air Miles, Bank of Montreal, Kumho Tire and Unilever over the past year.