Corona Cero will be the global beer sponsor of the Olympic Games. IOC

For the first time in its 40-year sponsorship programme, the International Olympic Committee has signed up Anheuser-Busch InBev as a beer brand, Corona Cero, a non-alcoholic version of Corona beer.

The non-alcoholic version of the popular Corona beer, Corona Cero, will become the first beverage of its kind to sponsor the Olympic movement, thanks to a deal announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns Corona and other brands. 

The Mexican-founded beer will be one of the sponsors of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the Milan-Cortina D'Ampezzo 2026 Games and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. This is according to the agreement reached by the IOC and confirmed by the organisation in a statement.

IOC President Thomas Bach and AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris. IOC
IOC President Thomas Bach and AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris. IOC

"We are proud to be the first brewer to sponsor the Olympic Games. Beer is a drink of moderation and choice, and we are leading the way with our Corona Cero brand," said Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris in the statement. The world's leading brewer has acquired many brands over the years. These include Budweiser, Stella Artois, Águila, Bud Light, Cristal, Modelo Especial and Quilmes. 

IOC President Thomas Bach commented: "The IOC is delighted to announce its new partnership with the world's leading brewer, AB InBev. Our organisations share a common vision of supporting sport and athletes and actively contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The IOC redistributes 90% of all its income to support sport and the proceeds from this agreement will contribute to that."

The IOC launched The Olympic Partner (TOP) programme in 1985. This was a year after the Los Angeles Olympics, which were radically changed following a decline in commercial revenue. Since then, it has partnered with mainly with technology and logistics companies to help host cities organise the Games. Current partners include Deloitte, Intel and Toyota. 

Never before had the governing body of Olympic sports partnered with a beer or alcohol brand for a global event. IOC sponsors, which now number 15, are not allowed to display their names and slogans in Olympic stadiums or venues. However, they have the right to use the iconic Olympic rings logo on a global basis in their advertising and activation campaigns.

Luxury giant LVMH is also a sponsor of the Paris Olympics, signing a deal worth around €150 million last year to supply Moët Hennessy champagne and spirits as part of the Games' hospitality programme. 

AB InBev joins top Olympic sponsors AirBnb, Alibaba, Coca-Cola, P&G, Toyota and Visa. The top-tier Olympic sponsorship programme has grown in value in recent years. It will generate $2.3 billion (€2.1 billion) in revenue for the International Olympic Committee between 2017 and 2021, including the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and the delayed Summer Olympics in Tokyo.