Anheuser-Busch Filed A Trademark To Become “The Official Beer of eSports”
On June 17th, 2019, Anheuser-Busch (A-B) filed a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to become “The Official Beer of eSports.” It was also recorded that A-B filed patents for the word marks “The Official Beer of Gamers” and “The Official Beer of Gaming.” According to Nick Kelly, the Head of US Sports Marketing at A-B, the US Beer Brewing company saw a massive opportunity to control and own a part of the eSports space due to the fractured nature of the game.
In regards to growth, the eSports industry is one that has appeared suddenly and skyrocketed in popularity practically overnight. Various eSports leagues have even signed lucrative TV deals with Turner Broadcasting, and ESPN both of which have to compete with Twitch’s live-streaming capabilities.
To date, A-B has dealt with both the NBA 2K League (eSports partnership between the National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive) and the Overwatch League (Bud Light is a top sponsor). Therefore it was not surprising to learn that Anheuser Busch had taken further steps to become an even more significant presence within the sport.
“The sport is so fractured. It’s not like the NFL; I could never be the official beer of the NFL without doing a deal with them,” stated Kelly. “But no one owns esports, so it’s an opportunity for us to come in there and create a space that we can play in that transcends everything from Call of Duty to Fortnite, 2K League or OverwatchLeague.”
In an interview with the ESPORTS OBSERVER, Kelly noted that A-B plans to use the phrase for potentially retail but mostly for digital advertising. After the news was released on the 17th, Kelly admitted he had received multiple messages from various eSports teams as well as some leagues.
While there was some concern that the majority of players and fans were under 21 and therefore not the appropriate or right clientele in which to pitch, the opposite seems to be true. Instead, it has been quoted that fans are “not young, they’re well over 21 and all looking for a similar type experience where they have food and beverage.”
And because eSports gaming is still emerging, A-B is having to educate not only partners but also fans on the fundamentals of attending sporting events which in this case is the consumption of beer during the game or at halftime.
“For us, the reason for the filing is more than anything we truly believe in esports. We’ve been investing for at least three to three and a half years, and as far as we can tell, we’re pretty much the only [beer] player in that space,” stated Kelly. “We’re really impressed with what MillerCoors did at the E3 [gaming conference] but [Anheuser-Busch has been] actually contributing to the sport with sponsoring teams and leagues, so for us, it is an opportunity to put a flag in the ground that proves we are the official beer of the sport.”
While the step may seem aggressive to some, the macro-brew conglomerate believes it is paving the way and entering the next massive sports industry at precisely the right time.