Budweiser took over from E.ON, who sponsored the most famous domestic Cup competition in the World for five years, at the start of the 2011-2012 football season, a deal that the FA searched greatly for after E.ON announced their non-renewal.
Has the sponsorship made an impact? In my opinion, it has been a quiet activation from Budweiser after a very loud and bold announcement at Wembley in June 2011 and in the first round of the competition in August. Budweiser secured the TV rights to stream the game live on Facebook, the first ever live game to be broadcast via social media. A move that very much indicated Budweiser wanted to explore the social and online avenue of sponsorship activation.
Since then, and even in the first week, I did expect another big campaign to launch. After exploring their social channels, there is some activity in terms of voting for your Man of the Match, but from what I have seen, there has been limited Budweiser impacted press in the lead up to the third round and over the weekend.
Sponsorship activation always takes time to bed in with fans and people connected to the particular sport. I still call the now Blue Square Premier League, the Vauxhall Conference. This is probably something I shouldn’t admit, but associations are made by the average fan and the success of sponsorships can be judged using this criteria.
Although Budweiser started well with an innovative idea, the pressure is on to get the press on side. Once they get Sir Alex Ferguson to say “The Budweiser FA Cup”, they have cracked it! Good luck chaps…