We finally made it! The NFL regular season starts tonight when the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos host the Carolina Panthers in Denver. Fans may be out in the parking lot celebrating and tailgating already. The NFL hopes they are drinking Bud Light — the official beer sponsor of the league. To help market the NFL season, Bud Light has come out with team cans. That means fans in New England are treated to cans with Flying Elvis. Denver fans are drinking out of orange cans with the Broncos logo. Fans in Los Angeles can celebrate the relocation of the Rams with silver and black Raiders logo cans. Wait . . . what?
The Los Angeles market has been flooded with team cans, but go to any Ralphs, corner store, or BevMo and there are more Raiders cans available than Rams cans — trust me, I did extensive research this weekend on L.A.’s west side. It’s very confusing why the NFL, Rams, and Bud Light didn’t flood the market with Los Angeles Rams cans to build excitement, but this had to be a calculated decision.
The Raiders still have influence in the Southland. Prior to this year, Raiders games were often shown as the local L.A. game. Fans of the old L.A. Raiders who held over when the team moved still support the silver and black. It also helps that anyone of drinking age — 21 and older — probably had more of a connection to the Raiders than the Rams. Los Angeles hasn’t had a team for 25 years. It could make sense that the demo from 30 and above that drinks — and most importantly purchases — Bud Light connects with the Raiders more than they do the Rams because of L.A. culture and the Raiders being on TV all the time. If that is the case, Raiders cans in Los Angeles make sense. They also look pretty cool.
Still, if the Rams or NFL had any say in this, the Los Angeles market should have been flooded with Rams and only Rams cans. L.A. is a city of transplants, if they wanted to sell Oakland Raiders cans, they could’ve easily sold Steelers cans, Packers cans, or Cowboys cans. If the goal is to build the Rams’ fan base up quickly, then Rams exposure is of the utmost importance — even when it comes to cheap domestic brews. Anheuser-Busch may be headquartered in St. Louis, but it’s owned by Belgian InBev. It is doubtful Bud Light made this decision due to the Rams leaving and the company’s local St. Louis ties.
Many fans will remember sitting down watching games with their dad; a cold beer resting in his hand. In L.A. if dad drinks Bud Light and is watching a Rams game with a Raiders can, well that sounds like nostalgiac confusion. It may not sound like it matters, but when it comes to marketing and growing a fan base it is the little things that make a difference. For now, fans of Bud Light and the Rams will just have to search a little harder to show support while drinking the NFL’s official beer.