Bud Light to LA Rams Fans: You've Waited 22 Years for This Can

LA Rams

The recently-returned Los Angeles Rams have named Bud Light as the team’s official domestic beer.

The Rams’ return to Los Angeles ends the city’s two-decade drought with no NFL team and its newest local sponsor, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is betting big that football fans slake their thirst with Bud Light beer.

Terms of the three-year deal were not disclosed, but the beermaker on Thursday is unveiling a special Rams Fan Can playing up those barren years with the tagline: “You’ve waited 22 years for this can.”

Rams Budlight can

We think it looks great, it stands out {and} they’re one of the blue-chip brands helping us relaunch the Rams brand in the market,” Mike O’Keefe, VP of corporate partnerships for the LA Rams said in an interview. “We think the fans and consumers are going to be excited about the Fan Can and the idea behind it.”

The first thing fans will notice is the blue and white team colors on the can, a nod to the 1960s-inspired uniforms the team will sport this season. “It has an aspect of history for fans that grew up with the Rams and has a rich tradition across the region,” asserts O’Keefe.

Older fans will recall watching those teams in person from the Rams first stint in Southern California from 1946 until 1994, when the team moved to St. Louis before returning to LA earlier this year.

The Rams predominantly wore gold, blue and white in St. Louis as well as in the last decade or so of its prior Southern California residency before making the move to Missouri.

More Sweet than Bitter?

“For us it was very important to have the LA market,” Jorn Socquet, VP, Marketing/US CMO for Anheuser-Busch InBev, said in an interview. “For us it was crucial to continue the partnership we had for so many years.”

That prior deal dated to 1995 when the Rams went to St. Louis, also home to Anheuser-Busch’s US operations. This is a brand new agreement continuing the brewer’s relationship with the NFL team, but one Socquet says is bittersweet given the relocation.

“We really did not want the Rams to leave St. Louis. It’s our U.S. headquarters and it was very sad to see them go,” Socquet told FoxBusiness.com, adding, “We did everything we could to keep them there, but it was obviously not our decision.”

Even though O’Keefe says the team started over with a “blank slate” in terms of local sponsors, the Rams felt the A-B relationship was important to retain after the team’s move: “We felt their place among league partners was important and that they should be part of this launch.”

The New Deal

Socquet notes the new deal is structured more like a partnership than a sponsorship, which he says will give both parties “more bang for their buck.” The brand plans to host Rams-themed “Bud Light Viewing Parties” in various establishments across the market. These will include alumni and cheerleader appearances as the team and the beer rebuild Rams fandom in L.A.

It’s all part of Bud Light’s NFL campaign as the Official Beer of the NFL. The beer also locally sponsors 28 of the league’s 32 teams. The A-B executive says the Fan Cans hit paydirt: “Last year we did it for the first time in a bold way; not just logos on the can, but putting team colors on it. We saw a significant lift for Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch as a company. It drives beer sales and we’ve extended the reach of those cans significantly. We’re expanding production by six times the number of cans this season.”

The beer executive says the Rams Fan Can will not be ready for kickoff given the short runway to the team’s home opener on September 18, but he predicts they’ll be in the LA market by early October or sooner. The Fan Cans will be sold at the Rams’ temporary home field at the Coliseum as well as beers from the LA-based craft brewery Golden Road Brewing that Anheuser-Busch bought a year ago.

The Rams official cerveza/imported beer, Corona, will also be available at home games alongside several other craft beer labels.

Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light is the sixth “Homecoming Partner” the team has announced so far. The others include Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions (official supermarket); American Airlines (official airline); Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (official health partner); Corona (official cerveza/import beer); and Vivid Seats (fan travel).

Team officials say that number will grow to 10 in the coming weeks.