A-B to Use NBA, MLB Players in Ads

Anheuser-Busch InBev has struck new deals with the Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association players unions that will allow the world’s largest beer manufacturer to feature active pro athletes from both sports in its marketing campaigns, according to Ad Age.

A-B InBev U.S. chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes called the new partnerships “a game-changing thing in the way we deal with sponsorships.”

“Fans are first and foremost connected to currently active players,” he told the outlet. “That is what drives the conversation. This is what influences culture.”According to Ad Age, A-B and the National Basketball Players Association tested the new arrangement earlier this year with a mother’s day ad featuring Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant. Now, the brewer is targeting 16 pro basketball players to feature this season — and that number could grow.

Meanwhile, A-B’s deal with the MLB will kickoff next season.

Although the NFL still bars its athletes from being featured in alcohol ads, Marcondes told Ad Age he is negotiating to lift the ban.

The move is a reversal of course as professional sports leagues have long prohibited active players from being featured in advertisements promoting alcohol.