Anheuser-Busch Sues Major League Baseball Over Sponsor Fees
on 14/11/10 at 11:51 amBeer
Anheuser-Busch Inc. sued Major League Baseball, claiming that baseball’s licensing arm reneged on a multiyear renewal of the company’s beer-sponsorship rights and demanded “exponentially higher” fees.
The maker of Budweiser claims Major League Baseball Properties Inc. agreed to renew its rights to be the league’s official beer sponsor in April but then demanded to renegotiate the pact after the brewer announced a sponsorship deal with the National Football League, according to a suit filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan.
Budweiser and other Anheuser-Busch products are closely identified with America’s national pastime. The brewer, now a unit of Leuven, Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, has sponsored Major League Baseball for more than 30 years and is the official beer sponsor for 26 of the league’s 30 teams. It also owned the St. Louis Cardinals franchise until 1996, and it still holds the naming rights to the team’s ballpark, Busch Stadium.
“Anheuser-Busch has spent decades, and millions of dollars, building the reputation and goodwill of Budweiser and the other Anheuser-Busch brands with these fans,” the lawsuit said. “Their loss would be unquantifiable.”