Official Partnering Sponsor Budweiser Faces Quandary as Qatar Bans Beer at the World Cup

What can a multinational corporation do when it loses a lot of money to sell at an event and then discovers that its product has been banned? This challenge was faced by one American brand at the World Cup.

The games will take place after years of controversy around Qatar’s host country. This includes the consequences of corruption and the fact that Qatar was granted the right of hosting the World Cup. There have also been dozens of deaths in an attempt to build stadiums in time. The regular imposing of restrictions by a Muslim nation has been one of the most significant stories emerging from the tournament amid the hype.

It is well-known that there is an oppressive religious regime in the country. One MSNBC pundit attempted to suggest that the United States has a worse human rights record than the host nation. Ayman Mohyeldin attempts to claim that the US has at most as many human rights violations.

I wonder if any European or American commentators and pundits will demand that the U.S. be stripped of hosting a part of the 2026 World Cup because of the way our elected leaders and our judiciary have reduced reproductive rights and moved to ban the use of the term “gay” within public schools, as well as banning books.

Uh-huh. A nation that is utterly hostile to Jews considers women second-class citizens and criminalizes homosexuality. This is because a law passed by the states was reversed and we don’t want 1st graders to read sexually explicit books. As hollow as this argument is, the government’s actions are sufficient to dispel the despair.

As Qatar is gearing up to welcome an influx of foreign visitors, the government has made it clear that Jewish tourists will not be allowed to practice their faith in Qatar. It was also announced that pride representations will not be allowed in stadiums. This surprised some people who attended an event in a nation that is militantly religious.

The Qatari leadership has now issued a new edict – they have banned beer sales in the stadiums. Some people have attempted to ignore this new restriction. Gianni Infantino, FIFA President, stated that if you don’t drink beer for three hours per day, you will be able to survive. Corporate involvement is another matter. InBev, a global brewer, paid a substantial amount to obtain the exclusive rights for Budweiser to be the World Cup’s official beer. 75 million was paid for the rights to the long-standing advertising partner. Plans have now been drastically altered.

The brewer responded with a formal statement, saying that it was facing a changing landscape of opportunities on the site following the ban.

“As FIFA’s long-standing partners, we are excited about our FIFA World Cup activations around the globe to celebrate football with our customers.” “We are unable to proceed with some of the stadium activations planned due to circumstances beyond our control.”

Beer sales at fan festival sites close to stadiums are now allowed for three hours before kickoff and one hour after the games. The difficult question is whether the brewer will bear the burden of such actions, or if there was an existing contractual contingency, which could mean that FIFA may have set asides and make-good compensation requirements. As the tournament was already branded with a lot of beers, logistical problems will arise.

The beer company would likely not feel any negative effects from the restrictions. The brewer has seen an increase in sales at the World Cups in the past, but Qatar’s restrictions will limit its market growth. Bev has used a variety of brands from its portfolio to promote in other countries. This is an estimate of 70 such countries. Its global rollout includes prominent branding and World Cup logos.

The question is still unanswered: What about the glut of unconsumed beers that will result in eight Qatari stadiums hosting soccer matches? The beer company announced that it will send an unsold lot of beer to the country that wins the World Cup. It is a huge stockpile, but there are many decisions to be made about how to make it happen.