Bud Light Will Sponsor First-Ever Branded Bet in the US With FanDuel

Fans in Colorado can place their wagers during the Dec. 19 Denver Broncos game

"Beer makes a ton of sense," says FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger. Kacy Burdette; FanDuel; Bud Light

Bud Light will be the sponsor of the first-ever branded bet made on a U.S. sports book.

Announced today, FanDuel has partnered with the light beer brand to sponsor a bet during the Dec. 19 game between the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills. Fans who bet more than $25 will get an extra $3 for every extra point and field goal scored by the Broncos.

Why the Broncos? Yes, Bud Light and FanDuel were already official partners of the Mile High team, but more importantly, Colorado is one of eight states where mobile sports betting is legal. (The others are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Tennessee, with Michigan and Virginia to follow in 2021.) So while FanDuel boasts an audience of nearly 11 million users, the branded bet is only available in Colorado for now, the first local promotion in what FanDuel hopes will be a recurring sponsorship stream as mobile sports betting continues to grow.

Aided by pent-up demand from the pandemic-induced sports and entertainment drought, the first week of NFL action saw FanDuel nab its biggest rise in new registrations across its daily fantasy platform and sports betting products since 2015, with bets placed up 200% year-over-year. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled restrictions on online betting in 2018, more than $20 billion has been bet with U.S. sports books, so much so that NFL stadiums are being designed to handle top wireless speeds for gamblers.

“It’s good for Bud because they’re able to get their brand in front of passionate users with disposable income in an age-appropriate environment, and it’s good for our users because they get a fun promotion that we’re able to underwrite,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel’s CMO. “This is truly an interactive experience that people are seeking out, and I think that makes it really attractive relative to more stock and trade advertising opportunities.”

It also gives FanDuel the cachet of working with one of the largest brand names in sports marketing. After all, a beer sponsorship is practically a prerequisite in the world of professional sports. Beyond the obvious synergy between sports fans, a sports book and a well-known beer, the stigma of sports gambling has largely dissipated over the last decade, aided by a blitz of marketing by FanDuel and competitor Draft Kings as well as the sports leagues themselves wanting to get in on the action.

Nationally, FanDuel’s daily fantasy product—which launched in the late 2000s and is considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance— is legal in 48 states, and FanDuel is the official daily fantasy partner of the NBA and the WNBA.

Raffensperger declined to say how much Bud Light paid for the sponsorship, but that it was a “meaningful” amount. Previously, FanDuel had worked alongside partners for the platform’s fantasy sports game and free-to-play products. During last year’s NBA All-Star Game, FanDuel partnered with Mountain Dew for a free-to-play activation that resulted in capturing nearly 80% of NBA users on the platform.

While no other branded bets are scheduled yet, Raffensperger said FanDuel has received interest from casual dining brands, the auto category and even airlines, especially eyeing partnerships ahead of the Super Bowl and the upcoming NBA tip-off at the end of the month.

“Beer makes a ton of sense,” Raffensperger said. “We’re getting a lot more inbound requests. There is a first-mover, whitespace advantage.”

@RyanBarwick ryan.barwick@adweek.com Ryan is a brand reporter covering travel, mobility and sports marketing.
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