During the year that I was the sales manager for Schlitz at Mid-State in Alexandria, LA, we were the beer sponsor for the minor league baseball team in the city. Because this was a small-town minor league team, Mid-State did not sell much volume at the baseball park, but we did have an advantage as Schlitz was the only beer available. Sponsorship included an outdoor board on the fence, an ad in the game day program and radio ads when the game was broadcast.
During my time at various distributorships we have always sponsored minor league local teams, mostly baseball teams, and sometimes we even sponsored golf tournaments, including the Coors Kansas Open. Many rural wholesalers are involved in their local or regional county fairs; frequently buying the grand champion steer or hog, with the sponsorship money frequently going toward the college fund of the boy or girl who raised the animal. Of course, the wholesaler’s beer is featured and a long article in the local paper highlighted the wholesalers’ support. The question is: can the above sponsorships be defined as pay to play or, are they defined as community involvement and support?
The final numbers have been published from this seasons’ beer sales at the University of Texas. Alcohol sales jumped more than 70% in 2016. Longhorn fans bought $701,234 in beer and wine during the double overtime UT win against Notre Dame. The University of Texas athletic department netted $1.3 million in 2016 from gross beer sales of $2.8 million, with only $128,321 from wine sales and $141,632 from liquor sales. These sales were generated over six home games; all played under good weather conditions. This was not the case in 2015, when some games were played in pouring rain. Interesting though, the final numbers on alcohol-related incidents in 2016 have not been finalized, preliminary results show a reduction in alcohol-related incidents when compared to 2015.
Miller Lite was number one in volume, selling 98,535 cans compared to 62,275 cans the previous year. Miller Lite dollars were $788,280. Slightly behind Lite, was Coors Light at 95,096 cans, generating $761,168 in revenue. Bud Light, the number one selling beer in Texas, sold only 34,257 cans! Really!
The rest of the numbers are very telling, Budweiser sold only 89 cans! Shiner Bock sold only 1,411 cans and the country’s fastest growing beer, Michelob Ultra came in at 741 cans…. and finally, Lone Star had sales of 952 cans.
Across the street from Royal Memorial stadium, literally about 20 steps from the stadium, is the alumni center which has, for years, served beer to alums prior to and during all home games. Miller Lite, Coors Light, Bud Light, and Shiner are the beers served. Every beer station has all four beers available. It would be interesting to see the sales of these beers at the alumni center and how they might be different from across the street at the football stadium.
Given the final sales results by brand, it is hard not to see that there is a legal pay to play here where coaches’ TV or radio shows, sponsorships, ads, etc. all come into play. Just look again at the NFL and other college programs. The industry has accepted this type of pay for play for decades, if not longer, at ballparks around the country.
A final question might be considered: how does buying rights at a football stadium differ from buying rights at a retail-on premise account? Legal verses illegal….
There are two times a year for me: football season and waiting for football season….
Beer Fodder; https://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/