UFC strikes lucrative new sponsorship with Bud Light in deal reportedly worth more than $100 million
UFC and Bud Light are back in business together.
On Tuesday, UFC officials announced a lucrative new multi-year deal with Anheuser-Busch to once again make Bud Light the official beer for the MMA promotion. The previous relationship between the two entities ended in 2019, after which Modelo served as the primary beer sponsor for the UFC for the past four years; however the promotion has now struck a new deal with Bud Light reportedly worth more than $100 million.
“Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light were UFC’s original beer sponsors more than 15 years ago,” UFC CEO Dana White said in a press release. “I’m proud to announce we are back in business together. There are many reasons why I chose to go with Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, most importantly because I feel we are very aligned when it comes to our core values and what the UFC brand stands for. I’m looking forward to all of the incredible things we will do in the years ahead.”
As the UFC began exploding in popularity, Bud Light was one of the first marquee brands to back the promotion with a multi-year deal that first started back in 2008. The two companies continued to renew the partnership until the UFC switched beer sponsors to begin working with Modelo.
Now Bud Light is back on board for a six-year deal, which officially kicks off in January.
The deal arrives at a time when Bud Light has dealt with backlash and financial losses after the company struck a partnership with transgender activist and TikTok celebrity Dylan Mulvaney, which caused an outrage amongst conservatives who vowed to boycott the beer brand. Bud Light then faced further criticism for not backing Mulvaney while she dealt with online harassment, including a barrage of transphobic comments.
Bud Light sales took a massive hit before an announcement was made that the beer brand would primarily focus future marketing campaigns on sports and music in the future.
Striking a deal with the UFC could be part of Bud Light’s plan to reinvigorate interest in the brand, especially with the younger skewing audience that the MMA promotion commands.
As for the UFC, this is just the latest in a long run of lucrative sponsorships that the promotion has signed while continuing to produce huge revenues year after year. Just recently, the UFC officially merged with World Wrestling Entertainment as TKO Group Holdings, with the new company valued at over $21 billion.
Prior to the merger, Endeavor — the company that owns a controlling interest in TKO Group Holdings — announced that the UFC recorded record revenues, including the “best sponsorship year ever in 2022.”
By all accounts, 2023 will likely surpass that, and 2024 will grow even larger with this latest deal signed with Bud Light.