Wembley chiefs reveal beer brand as the new sponsor.
The Football Association announced a three-year agreement with Budweiser, which sees the iconic lager brand become the main sponsor of the FA Cup, and COS was invited to see it.
Budweiser has taken over from energy company EON, and the brewery have a long tradition in football having served as official beer of the World Cup for the last 25 years.
As lead partner, Budweiser will bring the world’s most prestigious cup competition closer to the fans through an exciting programme of activity, both in the UK and around the world.
The Americans have dedicated a portion of sponsorship funding to working with the FA to develop a bespoke programme promoting responsible drinking to football fans.
Supporters will now be able to vote for the man-of-the-match, a scheme pioneered by the beer brand in the 2010 World Cup.
Budweiser is also partnering with the FA on a community initiative that will provide essential equipment to teams in the early rounds of the competition.
Three-time FA Cup winner and Manchester United legend, Gary Pallister, speaking exclusively to COS, told how much the FA Cup means to him and highlights his first final appearance as his personal highlight.
“Fortunately I was able to have a few victories at Wembley which was great,” Pallister said. “I had three wins there and 1 loss against Everton.
“My best moment was my first time at Wembley in the 1990 FA Cup final. We drew 3-3 here in a classic game against Crystal Palace and then we came back here on Thursday night for the replay and managed to win 1-0.
“So that was my first time to play at Wembley as well so that’s probably engraved on my memory because it was successful and a great occasion.
“Obviously the Premier League now is such a huge thing to win because the league always tells you who the best team in land is.
“But the FA Cup stands on its own as a competition because, certainly when I grew up, that was the one day you looked forward to in the football season.
“Yeah the league were a buzz but there is a different feeling about FA Cup final day, the whole day was given over to the final and the build up always wetted your appetite and the game itself and the aftermath was the best day in the football calendar.
The FA general secretary Alex Horne believes having Budweiser on board opens up the possibilities of advertising the most famous cup competition in the world.
“We are extremely pleased to have secured an iconic brand such as Budweiser to be the lead partner of the FA Cup,” Horne said.
“Like the FA Cup, Budweiser has a proud heritage and a long history of being involved in football.
“Furthermore, given the global reach of this sponsorship, we will see the FA Cup promoted around the world like never before which is great for the fans and the players.
“The FA Cup is already a much-loved competition around the world and we look forward to building on that passion with Budweiser.”
Jason Warner, vice-president of Budweiser, said: “Budweiser is proud and excited to sponsor the world’s oldest and most famous domestic cup competition.
“We’re looking forward to sharing our passion for the beautiful game, bringing the FA Cup closer to fans around the world through an exciting programme of activity.
“For example, in an FA Cup first, Budweiser will give football fans the opportunity to vote for the official ‘Man-of-the-Match’, a role usually reserved for the broadcast commentating team.”