Bud Light branded official beer partner of NBA 2K League

05 August 2019


Anheuser-Busch has announced a multi-year partnership with NBA 2K League, making its Bud Light brand the official beer partner of the league.

The partnership at hand builds upon a more than 20-year relationship between NBA and Anheuser-Busch, while strengthening the American brewing company’s presence in esports. Further details and specific activations around the partnership are set to be announced at a later time.

NBA 2K League Bud Light
Logo credit: NBA 2K League

Nick Kelly, Head of U.S. Sports Marketing at Anheuser-Busch commented on the partnership: “As we continue to expand our footprint in esports, it is important to align yourself with great partners and Bud Light becoming the official beer partner of the NBA 2K League does just that.

“The NBA has been a tremendous partner for Anheuser-Busch already and aligning with one of the most exciting esports leagues out there positions us great for the future as we continue to see the esports space grow. Bud Light was one of the first adopters of esports years ago and this NBA 2K League sponsorship is another pillar of the brand’s overall esports strategy.”

The news comes as the third esports-focused push for Anheuser-Busch in recent times. In April, the company had reached a deal with the Overwatch League to label Bud Light as its official beer sponsor. Two months later in June, Anheuser-Busch would file trademark for the word mark “The Official Beer of Esports” under the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The company also filed trademarks for “The Official Beer of Gamers” and “The Official Beer of Gaming.” The word marks have yet to be utilised anywhere officially – although, Kelly had noted the phrases will be used in advertising efforts and at retail. As of now, the trademarks remain in the deep reserves of the American beer giants.

Anheuser-Busch isn’t completely foreign to the esports either. Back in 2016, the company hosted the Bud Light All-Star series. Although initially the project was criticised by some esports purists, there may be something to be said around forecasting Tyler “Ninja” Belvins as one of the five on the roster.

NBA 2K League is also partnered with SnickersAT&T, Champion, Dell, HyperX, Intel, Raynor Gaming, SCUF Gaming, Twitch, Facebook, Stance, New Era, and YouTube. The league announced Tencent as its Chinese distribution partner in July.

Esports Insider says: The series of partnerships and moves by Anheuser-Busch shows a fairly serious commitment from the company to esports. The aforementioned arrangements with the NBA 2K League and Overwatch League are undoubtedly impressive – although, if we had to guess, we’d say they are positioning themselves for something much larger in this space.