The company is the NFL’s biggest spender in the highly-competitive beer sector. It sponsors the league itself, as well as 26 individual teams (other teams, like the Dallas Cowboys, are sponsored by competitor Molson Coors, which brews Miller Lite).
Anheuser-Busch told the Washington Post it decided not to renew the sponsorship “at this time,” declining to provide a reason for the split.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin topped a state record by raising more than $5 million for his inaugural fund, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
The team released a statement in response to an inquiry from The Times-Dispatch:
“We’re exploring options in the alcohol category and looking for a strategic partner that will join us in the next era of Washington Football, as we play our first season as the Washington Commanders and prepare to develop a new venue. The team believes there is tremendous upside in the alcohol sponsorship category for the Commanders.”
The company is one of the most influential, and important, NFL sponsors. The Bud Light brand in many years purchases the first ad slot in the Super Bowl, the most expensive placement.
Bud Light is continuing its personal sponsorship with Commanders backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who was signed to an endorsement deal after noting that Heineken beer wouldn’t call his agent back.
The decision also comes two weeks before the NFL’s owners meeting, the first one held in person since the name change and investigation.
NBC Sports reported in February that there are at least a handful of owners interested in forcing Snyder to sell, given the reputational hit the league is taking for keeping him around.
Congress continues to investigate his role in the sexual harassment allegations, and one lawmaker proposed a law prohibiting states from giving pro sports teams tax breaks, in part aimed at preventing Snyder from obtaining as much as $1 billion from Virginia, D.C. or Maryland.
Calls to other team sponsors went unanswered on Saturday. Molson Coors, the other company that would seemingly be interested in a large-scale Commanders beer sponsorship, did not return a request for comment.
Two other sponsors have cut ties with Washington since the investigation into sexual misconduct by team executives began.
Medliminal, a Northern Virginia based company, cited the investigation when it decided to cut ties.
“We are sincerely disappointed in the Commanders handling of both the facts and allegations surrounding their organization,” the company said in a letter at the time.
Another healthcare company, Inova, also cut ties in the middle of a long-term agreement, citing a need for the company to focus on “growth opportunities.
One of the company’s major facilities is named for Dwight C. Schar, a former minority owner of the Commanders who sold his shares amid an ugly legal battle with Snyder.
Snyder remains in control in many ways – he’s got full ownership of the team, and he’s got the pocketbook, and the legal firepower, to outlast his opponents.
But he’s also losing friends rapidly. The NFL has publicly chastised him in recent months, including a rebuke for failing to turn over documents to the House committee investigating allegations directly against Snyder.
If more sponsors follow Anheuser-Busch’s lead, it could be a moment of reckoning for him and the team – similar to FedEx’s request, which led to the changing of a name that Snyder said would stay forever.
120 photos from 6 years of Washington training camp in Richmond
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