After severing ties with the NFL team due to allegations of sexual harassment within the organization, Bud Light has once again become the official beer sponsor for the team.
Anheuser-Busch has resumed its sponsorship of the Commanders for the 2023 NFL season, re-engaging after previously discontinuing support in light of a scandal involving alleged sexual harassment of female employees.
According to a report in The Washington Post, in July 2020, fifteen former female employees of the Commanders came forward with claims of sexual harassment during their tenure with the team. In response, Dan Snyder, the club’s owner at the time, enlisted a Columbia law firm to conduct an internal investigation into the team’s workplace culture and policies.
Subsequent to the allegations, three senior figures departed from the club.
The reputation of the Washington football team suffered greatly following these revelations, leading to the Commanders ranking last in NFL fan attendance for the 2022 season.
In February 2022, the team responded to widespread calls to change its name from ‘Washington Redskins’ to ‘Washington Commanders’ due to the offensive nature of the former name to Indigenous people. Influential sponsors like FedEx and Nike threatened to withdraw support unless the name was changed.
Suzan Harjo, a key figure in the movement to alter the team’s name, stated, “A lot of people now get it, that it’s not all right to use disparaging terms, derogatory names, slurs, images, behaviors.”
When Anheuser-Busch announced its withdrawal from the multi-year partnership with the Commanders in March 2022, the company did not specify the reason but indicated its dedication to the long-term NFL partnership and other team affiliations.
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In response, a spokesperson for the Commanders communicated to ESPN, “We’re exploring possibilities in the alcohol sector and searching for a strategic partner that will join us in the upcoming chapter of Washington Football, as we embark on our inaugural season as the Washington Commanders and prepare for the construction of a new venue. The team envisions substantial potential in the alcohol sponsorship domain for the Commanders.”
Anheuser-Busch’s change of stance coincided with the Commanders’ disassociation from former owner Dan Snyder.
In April of the current year, Snyder sold the Commanders to Josh Harris’ ownership group for a record-breaking $6.05 billion, marking the largest deal for a North American professional sports team.
Upon the acquisition, Harris expressed, “We eagerly anticipate the privilege of serving as responsible and accountable stewards of the Commanders franchise moving forward.”
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Recently, Anheuser-Busch’s Vice President of Partnerships, Matt Davis, declared the resumption of its sponsorship for the Washington team, highlighting the beer giant’s enthusiasm in reintroducing the Commanders to their NFL lineup. Davis expressed, “Our deep-rooted ties with the Washington franchise are significant. We’re excited to bring heightened enjoyment to fans all year round.”
Throughout the 2023 season, Bud Light branding will be prominently featured on videoboards, LED ribbons, and wall banners at the FedExField stadium.
Additionally, the beer brand plans to set up a Bud Light Endzone on the stadium concourse, sponsor fan events, and giveaways, and host the ‘Bud Light Easy to Summer Concert Series’ at the team’s playing field as part of the season’s commencement festivities.
Team President Jason Wright remarked, “Reinstating Anheuser-Busch as a partner at FedExField not only reflects their confidence in our organization but also their dedication to our incredibly loyal NFL fans.”
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