As NFL Football returns, long-time sponsor Bud Light sees a much-needed rebound
September 13th, 2023, Hoang Nguyen

As NFL Football returns, long-time sponsor Bud Light sees a much-needed rebound

In the wake of the Dylan Mulvaney controversy earlier this year, AB-InBev brands Bud Light and Budweiser faced an uphill battle to regain their footing among beer drinkers. Fast forward to the end of summer, however, and the story appears to have taken a dramatic turn.

The much-anticipated return of the NFL Football season has provided a stage for Bud Light’s potential rebound, and it has certainly been busy connecting with NFL fans in a series of commercials.

Data from YouGov BrandIndex, a tool that tracks consumer perceptions towards brands daily, reveals that in the leadup to the 2023 NFL Kickoff game, Bud Light has regained some lost ground and is even faring better than its competitors in two key measures compared to the same period last year.

Bud Light claims no. 1 spot in Ad Awareness approaching the NFL 2023 Kickoff game

We measured Ad Awareness among NFL fans (US adults who say the NFL is one of their top interests or that they are somewhat interested) and found that in the one month leading up to the September 7 kickoff game this year, Bud Light had the highest level of ad recall in the beer and hard seltzer category.

During this period, 26.5% of NFL fans saw an ad for Bud Light and an additional 22.4% saw an ad for Budweiser. Taking the top 2 spots in Ad Awareness indicates AB-InBev's marketing push is occupying a significant share of mental space among NFL fans ahead of competitors such as Corona (21.5%), Modelo (20.6%) and Coors Light (17.5%).

Bud Light edges out Heineken, Corona, and Coors Light in share of customers leading up to the NFL Kickoff game

Perhaps the most telling sign of the start of Bud Light’s recovery is its current customer score. We asked NFL fans about the beers they purchased in the last 30 days, from the start of August to the Lions vs. Chiefs Kickoff Game, and Bud Light also took the top spot in this measure.

During this period, 8.9% of NFL fans say they bought Bud Light, edging out rivals such as Heineken (8.8%), Corona (8.4%) and Coors Light (8.4%) by a hair’s breadth. These numbers signal a tight competition for the wallets of NFL fans and showcase the efforts made by Bud Light to overcome the controversy from earlier in the year.

And in another win for Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser ranks fifth among NFL fans with a Current Customer score of 6.9%.

It’s clear to see that the 2023 NFL season kickoff marked a pivotal moment in Bud Light’s battle to win back beer drinkers and it has stepped up to emerge as a frontrunner among NFL fans. The competition is close though and time will tell how these brewing rivalries will unfold as the season progresses.