Anheuser-Busch Sues MLB Over Sponsorship Deal
Anheuser-Busch has sued Major League Baseball for reneging on an agreement to keep the company as an official sponsor of the national pastime. The brewers contend that they reached an agreement to continue the 30-year relationship in April, but that the league backed out and demanded "exponentially higher fees" to restore their status come September.
Surprising that they'd have such a big problem with that since they haven't ever expressed reservations about the prices being charged for their products. Apparently what constitutes an exponentially higher fee, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
The reason for the change of heart from MLB seems to be related to Anheuser-Busch's winning bid to make Bud Light the NFL's official beer sponsor in May of this year. They will pay a reported $1.2 billion over six years after beating out MillerCoors for the chance to associate themselves with the NFL shield. The terms of the deal with MLB aren't being reported, but one would imagine that the total was somewhat lower.
Anheuser-Busch wants the original deal put back into place.
"Anheuser-Busch has spent decades, and millions of dollars, building the reputation and goodwill of Budweiser and other Anheuser-Busch brands with these fans," the suit says. "Their loss would be unquantifiable."
Major League Baseball has not yet been served with the suit, which was filed in Manhattan on Friday. A league spokesman declined an opportunity to comment, beyond saying that they "have a different view of what's been reported."
Whatever the legal ins and outs of the case, it's safe to say that the two sides will find some way come to terms on a new agreement. There's a lot of money to be made by selling beer at baseball games and companies with a long history of doing business tend not to let much get in the way of that.
Should this truly be doomsday, however, it's probably a good bet that MillerCoors will take the money they no longer have to spend on football and make themselves the sponsor of "Thirst Innings" all over this proud country.