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"King of Beers" May No Longer be King of the Ballpark

By Joseph M. Hanna

The long standing relationship between Anheuser-Bush and Major League
Baseball appears to have hit a rough patch as Anheuser-Bush filed suit
against Major League Baseball Properties Inc. ("MLBP") today in federal
district court. Anheuser-Bush alleges that MLBP reneged on a
sponsorship agreement that the two parties renewed in April for
Budweiser to continue as the official beer sponsor of Major League
Baseball. The trouble stemmed from an Anheuser-Bush announcement in May
that it had reached an agreement with the National Football League
("NFL") where Bud Light would serve as the NFL's official beer sponsor
beginning in 2011. Anheuser-Bush alleges that after the NFL deal was
announced, MLBP demanded that their agreement be renegotiated and that
Anheuser-Bush pay significantly higher rights fees than originally
negotiated. The lawsuit seeks a court order the April agreement is
valid and that Anheuser-Bush has retained its exclusive sponsorship
rights precluding MLBP from entering into talks with other beer makers.

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