Can you be the “official” beer of an entire sport? Anheuser-Busch (A-B) is going to find out. While many people might not consider video gaming a “sport,” many fans would argue otherwise. In fact, video games have become known as “esports.”
The famous beverage producer is seeking to carve a niche for itself there. The company has been actively involved in the gaming industry. It has deals with the NBA 2K League and the Overwatch League. Now it has submitted a filing to trademark the phrase “the official beer of esports.”
A marketing executive with the company explains that the nature of esports allows A-B to make that claim. He explains, “The sport is so fractured. It’s not like the NFL; I could never be the official beer of the NFL without doing a deal with them. But no one owns esports, so it’s an opportunity for us to come in there and create a space that we can play in that transcends everything from Call of Duty to Fortnite, 2K League or Overwatch League.”
Not all leagues are on board with an alcoholic beverage having such a close identity with esports since many of their players are too young to drink legally. However, A-B wants to encourage the many gaming fans who are old enough to drink to have a beer (one of their beers, of course) during breaks from the game.
Marketing to esports fans is different than marketing to traditional sports fans. The “Bud Knight” character fits right in with the costumed fans that show up to gaming events.
Other beer companies, like MillerCoors, have also gotten involved in large gaming conferences like E3. However, the A-B exec says that its trademark filing “is an opportunity to put a flag in the ground that proves we are the official beer of the sport.”
It remains to be seen whether A-B is granted the trademark that lets them carry out this strategy. When submitting a trademark filing, it’s essential to understand everything that’s required. An experienced intellectual property attorney can provide support and guidance.