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Sports Deals Lose The Spirit: Jack Daniel’s Ends Nascar Pact, A-B Leaves LPGA Event

September 21, 2009: Effects of the challenged economy are still being felt at the sports sponsorship level, in particular those involving alcohol companies, as both Anheuser-Busch and Brown-Forman said they would end long-term alliances with strategic partners.

Anheuser-Busch InBev revealed that it would not renew its sponsorship of the LPGA Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill Resort, located in Williamsburg, Va., after seven years; the last event took place this past May. and was won by Cristie Kerr. Anheuser-Busch said although it would continue to work with the LPGA and that Michelob Ultra would remain the official beer of the tour, the company has elected to "spread its sponsorships over a wider range of professional golf events."

According to a statement from Dan McHugh,vp-media at Anheuser-Busch, "This was a policy decision about bringing our LPGA marketing in line with out PGA Tour strategy."

The LPGA has faced numerous challenges this year, including the resignation of commissioner Carolyn Bivens after a group of players claimed they were dissatisfied with the way she was handling sponsorship deals. The LPGA's schedule this year is down from 34 in 2008 to 27 events, the LPGA's fewest tournaments since it staged 21 in 1971.

Separately, Brown-Forman said it is ending its Jack Daniel’s Nascar program and would not extend its sponsorship of Richard Childress Racing’s No. 07 team. According to the company, whose brands also include Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Canadian Mist, Fetzer and Korbel, a "change in Brown-Forman’s spending priorities led to the decision to conclude the sponsorship that began in 2005." The Brown-Forman/Jack Daniel’s partnership with RCR will continue for the remainder of the 2009 racing season. The No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Racing program began in 2005.

“Jack Daniel’s has enjoyed a good five-year run with Richard Childress Racing and Nascar, and we are pleased with the overall performance of our sponsorship program,” Tim Rutledge, vp and brand director for Jack Daniel’s, said in a statement. “We have enjoyed building strong relationships with the people in Richard’s organization and throughout Nascar. While it is difficult for us to end our formal relationship with RCR, the current economic environment has compelled us to reevaluate our spending and we’ve concluded that other areas in the marketing mix require additional investment.” Back to Home Page

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