AB InBev has signed a multi-year deal with Relevent Sports Group around the International Champions Cup, a deal that will make Budweiser the presenting sponsor of the Women’s International Champions Cup.
The Women’s International Champions Cup, which debuted last year, aims to bring together the top women’s professional soccer clubs teams from across the globe. This year’s tournament, set to be played in Cary, N.C. from August 15 to 18, will feature the champions from the English, French, Spanish and U.S. domestic women’s pro leagues – Manchester City, Olympique Lyonnais, Club Atlético de Madrid and the North Carolina Courage, respectively. The Courage, who are hosting this year’s event, won the inaugural tournament.
Last year’s inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup did not have a presenting sponsor.
Nick Kelly, head of U.S. Sports Marketing for AB InBev, said the deal is another indication of the company’s increased interest in soccer, especially on the women’s side of the game.
“We’re extremely dedicated to doing everything we can this year around women’s soccer,” Kelly said. Anheuser-Busch, which has been a U.S. Soccer partner since 1986, recently rolled out a new campaign around the U.S. Women’s National Team ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in which players like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are interviewed by Men In Blazers host Roger Bennett.
“Four years ago when the U.S. Women’s Team won the last Women’s World Cup, I think we all shamefully underestimated the fandom, the reach and the impact of the team and its players,” Kelly said. “We view this new deal with the Women’s ICC tournament as a way to keep women’s soccer top of mind throughout the summer.”
Relevent Sports Group COO Aaron Ryan said he views the interest in women’s soccer from blue-chip partners like Budweiser as “not only crucial for the growth and the development of the Women’s International Champions Cup, but critical for the women’s game of soccer generally – we see this as a great step forward for the sport.”
The partnership between the two sides will also cross over to the Men’s International Champions Cup event as well, with Bud Light now tabbed as the official beer of that tournament. Now in its seventh year, this year’s Men’s ICC tournament will see 12 European men’s clubs play matches across the U.S., Europe and Asia.
While both Kelly and Ryan declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, Kelly said the company’s broader commitment to soccer – especially on the women’s side of the game – will only increase.
“We’re putting in extra effort to make sure we are activating around soccer every year, all year,” Kelly said. “The idea that we’re only going to be doing something every four years is long gone.”