IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Overwatch League today announced a deal with AB InBev (ABI), naming the beverage company the league’s official beer partner. Effective immediately, ABI’s Bud Light brand will be the official beer of the Overwatch League and will be activating at fan watch parties around the world (excluding China). The partnership will include sponsorship of fan activations when the Overwatch League goes on the road at the Dallas and Atlanta Bud Light Homestand Weekends and the LA Rivalry Weekend. ABI and Bud Light will also be activating at the Overwatch League’s 2019 Grand Finals, the location and date of which will be announced soon.
Aligning with the Bud Light Homestand Weekends in Dallas and Atlanta, ABC and ESPN2 will program Overwatch League–produced and Bud Light sponsored broadcasts on:
- April 27, 8–10 p.m. EDT on ESPN2
- July 6, 3–5 p.m. EDT on ABC
- July 7, 2–3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2
“Partnering with a brand like Bud Light and the AB InBev family of brands allows us to continue to reach fans in new and exciting ways,” said Brandon Snow, chief revenue officer of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “We’re very happy to be working with a company that finds value in bringing fans together to celebrate the very best in competitive entertainment.”
“Our company has a long history of aligning ourselves with great sports partners and Overwatch League certainly fits that bill,” said João Chueiri, SVP of consumer connections marketing at AB InBev. “Bud Light was one of the early adopters of esports with our Bud Light Esports All-Stars program years ago and we are excited to expand our footprint with the premier esports property in Overwatch League. This partnership provides us with an opportunity to engage with a new segment of legal-drinking-age fans and align our brands with one of the most exciting esports properties out there right now.”
“In addition to activations with Bud Light in the U.S., AB InBev brands in markets such as Canada, U.K. and South Korea are planning on activation programs to enhance the fan experience at Overwatch League events in those markets,” said Eelco van der Noll, Head of Global Experiential Marketing at AB InBev.
“We’ve seen a ton of exciting Overwatch League watch parties spring up organically around the world, and with AB InBev and Bud Light on board to partner with us they’re going to get even better,” said Josh Cella, head of global partnerships for Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “AB InBev and specifically Bud Light helped to create the notion of sports sponsorships as we know them today. We are thrilled to be partnering with a company that is all about the fans, as we are with the Overwatch League.”
The Overwatch League kicked off its 2019 season in February to a sold-out Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and 13 million global viewers in its opening week, a 30 percent increase in viewership year over year. Season matches for all 20 teams now are in full swing, with the Stage 2 Playoffs and Stage 2 Finals taking place May 9–12. For more information, visit overwatchleague.com.
About the Overwatch League™
The Overwatch League™ is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. Overwatch® was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard—Nasdaq: ATVI), whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. The latest addition to Blizzard’s stable of twenty-two #1 games, Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. To learn more about the Overwatch League, visit www.overwatchleague.com.
 Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners.
About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, Overwatch®, the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, and the multi-franchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (https://www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-two #1 games* and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online gaming service, Blizzard Battle.net®, is one of the largest online-gaming services in the world, with millions of active players.
*Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners.
About Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues
Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues (ABEL) is responsible for the development and operation of premier Activision Blizzard professional gaming properties including the Overwatch League™ and the Call of Duty® World League, as well as the commercialization of the entire Blizzard Esports portfolio. Launched in 2017, the Overwatch League is the world’s first major global esports league with city-based teams, with 20 teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2019, the Call of Duty World League Presented by PlayStation®4 will deliver five vs. five team play featuring Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4. It is ABEL’s vision to be the most innovative, scalable, and valuable developer of global competitive entertainment.
About AB InBev
Anheuser-Busch InBev is a publicly traded company (Euronext: ABI) based in Leuven, Belgium, with secondary listings on the Mexico (MEXBOL: ANB) and South Africa (JSE: ANH) stock exchanges and with American Depositary Receipts on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BUD). Our Dream is to bring people together for a better world. Beer, the original social network, has been bringing people together for thousands of years. We are committed to building great brands that stand the test of time and to brewing the best beers using the finest natural ingredients. Our diverse portfolio of well over 500 beer brands includes global brands Budweiser®, Corona® and Stella Artois®; multi-country brands Beck’s®, Castle®, Castle Lite®, Hoegaarden® and Leffe®; and local champions such as Aguila®, Antarctica®, Bud Light®, Brahma®, Cass®, Cristal®, Harbin®, Jupiler®, Michelob Ultra®, Modelo Especial®, Quilmes®, Victoria®, Sedrin®, and Skol®. Our brewing heritage dates back more than 600 years, spanning continents and generations. From our European roots at the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium. To the pioneering spirit of the Anheuser & Co brewery in St. Louis, US. To the creation of the Castle Brewery in South Africa during the Johannesburg gold rush. To Bohemia, the first brewery in Brazil. Geographically diversified with a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets, we leverage the collective strengths of approximately 175,000 employees based in nearly 50 countries worldwide. For 2018, AB InBev’s reported revenue was 54.6 billion USD (excluding JVs and associates).
About Bud Light
Introduced in 1982, Bud Light is a premium light lager with a superior drinkability that has made it the best-selling and most popular beer in the United States. Bud Light is brewed using a blend of premium aroma hop varieties, both American-grown and imported, and a combination of barley malts and rice. The light-bodied beer features a fresh, clean and subtle hop aroma, delicate malt sweetness and a crisp finish that delivers the ultimate refreshment. For more information, visit www.BudLight.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about brand deals, the dates of the 2019 Overwatch League season, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.