Global soccer’s governing body FIFA has extended its commercial tie-up with brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) through its next two major events.
Through a deal announced today (June 8), the heavyweight’s Budweiser brand will serve as the official beer sponsor of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) in Australia and New Zealand and the men’s 2026 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, the US, and Canada.
The renewal continues a relationship between FIFA and AB InBev that has lasted nearly 40 years.
Despite that lengthy association, the relationship between the two parties was tested during the last men’s World Cup, in Qatar last year, due to a last-minute decision by the governing body to ban alcohol (largely Budweiser) in stadia during that event.
As a result of that, AB InBev reportedly sought a $47.4-million reduction in its tie-up for this year’s WWC and for the 2026 men’s event.
While it is illegal to drink in public or be drunk in public in the Muslim state of Qatar, it had been agreed by FIFA with AB InBev – so as not to vastly reduce the value of the sponsorship – that the rules would be relaxed during the tournament.
However, just two days before the start of the World Cup, FIFA announced an alcohol ban at stadiums after bowing to pressure from Qatari officials.
At the time, it was reported that Budweiser potentially had grounds to sue FIFA, but that it decided to show restraint so as not to damage the long-term relationship.
The value of a new deal through 2023 and 2026 (at that point under negotiation) was cited as being in the region of $112 million.
The first tie-up between FIFA and AB InBev was struck in advance of the 1986 men’s World Cup in Mexico, while GlobalData Sport has cited the value of the previous tie-up between the two parties as being worth $150 million over nearly eight years (from early 2015 through the end of 2022).
Romy Gai, chief business officer at FIFA, said: “As one of our longest-standing sponsors, AB InBev’s investment will benefit the game, as well as soccer development all over the world while bringing creativity and excitement to the experience that fans will have during our most iconic tournaments.”
Marcel Marcondes, AB InBev’s chief marketing officer, added: “FIFA World Cup tournaments are the most popular sporting events in the world. We are deeply connected to the fans and to soccer all over the world, which is why we’re excited about extending the relationship with FIFA.”
In mid-May, global fast food giant McDonald’s also signed up with FIFA for the next two major tournaments until the end of 2026. That brand is now the official restaurant sponsor for both World Cups over the next three years.
Other brands to have come on board in the last two months for the WWC include Unilever, Team Global Express, and Jacob’s Creek.
FIFA’s sponsorship stable also comprises Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, and Hyundai-Kia.
Elsewhere, soccer’s governing body has announced that every player at the 2023 WWC will be paid at least $30,000 and that all players in the winning team’s squad will receive $270,000.
This means that FIFA will use over half of its total prize money fund of $110 million to pay out to players across the 32 squads (732 players are expected to be eligible).
The $110 million is over triple the total prize money sum FIFA paid out at the last WWC in France four years ago – $30 million.
Players whose teams do not advance from the group stage will all receive the lowest sum available, $30,000, while in total those 16 nations’ federations will each receive $2.25 million. Of that, $690,000 will be split amongst the players and the federation will then take home $1,560,000.
To the winning nation, FIFA will pay out $10.5 million in total – $6.2 million to the players and $4.3 million to the federation.
In total, FIFA is making payments to countries involved in this WWC of $152 million, as opposed to the $50 million put aside for France 2019.
Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president, has cited these increased payments to players as one of the key factors behind publicly pressuring broadcasters in major markets to increase their valuations for the WWC rights.
With around six weeks until the tournament’s opening game, it does not yet have broadcast partners in major markets such as the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.
Late last month, the ministers responsible for sport in those five markets signed a joint letter aimed at prodding broadcasters into action in terms of snapping up rights.