Budweiser was caught without the ball when host nation Qatar suddenly banned alcohol sales within World Cup stadiums. With millions of dollars’ worth of beer already onsite in the host nation, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced in a tweet that it would be donated to the winning country. This is a fascinating example of newsjacking.
Qatar, a conservative Muslim country, highly regulates alcohol sales and usage.
“Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeter,” said the FIFA statement.
According to the New York Times, Budweiser pays around $75 million for its sponsorship agreement with FIFA. While there are many ways the brand gets exposure, beer sales in the eight venues are one way to directly recoup the marketing spend.
I love that A-B InBev chose to donate the beer. This simple gesture generated media coverage form media outlets including CNN, Reuters, Sports Illustrated, Entrepreneur, FOX, CBS, and many others.
It will be interesting to see if A-B InBev promotes some kind of celebration party in the winning country and uses that as yet more newsjacking.