Just two weeks ago, Anheuser-Busch added a prompt to its consumer help line for customers to share concerns and comments regarding the company’s sponsorship of the National Football League.
Reports of the new option surfaced in the midst of a tumultuous week for the NFL and its sponsors due the controversial national anthem protests that originally began in 2016. Irate fans had already influenced DirecTV, the television carrier of the NFL’s out-of-market package, to offer refunds to customers angered by the protests.
As word got out, the line was apparently shut down temporarily due to the volume of incoming calls.
However, Anheuser-Busch eventually indicated the company did not plan to end its sponsorship of the NFL.
2ndVote reached out to the St. Louis offices for further clarification on the matter and we received the following response:
At Anheuser-Busch we have a long heritage of supporting the institutions and values that have made America so strong. That includes our armed forces and the national anthem as well as diversity, equality and freedom of speech. We proudly employ over 1,100 military veterans and we work every day to create an inclusive environment for all of our employees. Because only together can we achieve our dream of bringing people together for a better world.
The Anheuser-Busch phone line has always been available for consumer inquiries on a variety of topics, but we are not conducting a survey regarding our NFL sponsorship.
We have many long-term sports partnerships, including our NFL sponsorship, and while we may not agree on everything, we still believe in the power of sport to bring people together and overcome their differences. We have no plans to end our NFL sponsorship.
We followed up our inquiry with a series of questions to investigate the type of feedback Anheuser-Busch was receiving from its customers:
How many customers have called the Anheuser-Busch phone line and selected Option 1 to register an opinion on the company’s sponsorship of the NFL?
What percentage of customers expressed opposition to Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship? What percentage expressed support?
What percentage of customers indicate opposition to the NFL anthem protests in general? What percentage indicate support?
Given recent revelations that theNational Football League Players Association has made donations to political activists, namely the Center for Community Change, does Anheuser-Busch plan to continue its sponsorship of the NFLPA?
An Anheuser-Busch representative responded saying the statement above was all they were willing to share at that time.
Anheuser-Busch’s current sponsorship deal, which extends through 2022, is worth a lucrative $1.5 billion to the league. The company is also a sponsor of the NFL Players Association, the players’ union that is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and has been found making donations to “prominent anti-Trump ‘resistance’ organizations.”
As of Thursday at 4:00 PM ET, the prompt for registering opinions on the NFL sponsorship remained active, so you still have a chance to register your opinion by calling 1-800-342-5283 and selecting “Option 1.”
We also have an email link to reach Anheuser-Busch directly:Send Anheuser-Busch an Email!
Ask them to tell us how their customers feel about the NFL anthem protests. Will they reveal the overwhelming distaste Americans have for the politicization of sports? Help uncover exactly what companies are hearing from their customers by participating today.