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Professional Fighters League pins down AB InBev deal

US mixed martial arts promotion the Professional Fighters League has agreed a multi-year partnership with global brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The PFL is the first organisation to present MMA through a regular season, playoffs and championship format, with AB InBev to serve as its exclusive sponsor in the malt beverage category.

Estrella Jalisco has been designated as the first-ever Official Beer Partner of the PFL, garnering protected beer category exclusivity across the league and its media partners and global partner territory designation and protection.

As the Official Beer of the PFL, Estrella Jalisco has global rights to use PFL logos and official partner branding for advertising and promotional usage, including pass-through branding rights for promotions with on-premise and retail channel partners. ABI and the league will also collaborate on exclusive content across digital platforms.

Estrella Jalisco logos will be featured in and around the cage and on signage in and around the arenas. This season, the league will be introducing the PFL Cageside Club, a new VIP floor level experience for fans, which will prominently feature the Mexican beer.

Peter Murray, chief executive of the Professional Fighters League, said: “Together we are committed to activating the Estrella Jalisco brand globally across PFL fan touch points – at venues, on digital and social, at retail and within our live event broadcasts distributed to over 130 countries worldwide, including on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in the US.”

The PFL struck a multi-year rights deal with US sports broadcaster ESPN last month.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.