Coors Light becomes first-ever official beer sponsor of ESPN's 'College GameDay'

As part of its effort to reach more younger legal-age drinkers, Coors Light today said it will be the first-ever official beer sponsor of ESPN's "College GameDay Built by the Home Depot." 

The brand, which recently launched a new marketing campaign called "Made to Chill," will have rights to use the program’s marks and to display brand logos during portions of the widely watched pre-game show, which airs live from different college campuses and towns every Saturday morning during the football season.

As part of the sponsorship, the brand will be featured in a segment called “Coors Light Saturday Selections,” in which the show's hosts make their picks for the day. Coors Light’s football-focused television ads, which carry the tagline “The Official Beer of Saturday Morning,” will air during the telecast and throughout the day across live games on ESPN networks as well as ABC.

“We’ve obviously made a large investment in college football over the years, and this sponsorship gives us overarching reach across the country on a trusted platform,” says Ryan Reis, vice president of the Coors family of brands. “An immersive game day experience is a way to pause from always being on in your workweek. 'College GameDay' is a big part of that, and we think Coors Light can enhance that experience.”

Watching football with friends, he notes, is another way people choose to chill, the through-line in the brand’s marketing campaign.

“We’re proud to see MillerCoors' college football sponsorship evolve to now include a presence in 'GameDay,' propelling their relationship with the game through this multichannel collaboration,” says Patricia Betron, senior vice president of consumer packaged goods and beverages at Disney Advertising Sales. “By deepening their commitment to college football, MillerCoors will not only reach audiences through Disney’s linear and digital channels, they will build awareness and drive sales at retail and on-premise.”

Apart from the sponsorship, Coors Light will trek across the country to different host cities each week, hosting a series of events and activations in the run-up to Saturdays, including inside bars and restaurants with giveaways of co-branded custom thermochromatic aluminum cups and at pre-game tailgates featuring the Coors Light Cold Stream trailer and its Frost Pour technology.

It also will invest in targeted local media buys, including collaborative posts on social media with 'College GameDay' co-host (and longtime Coors Light partner) Kirk Herbstreit and a custom Coors Light-'GameDay' Snapchat filter.

By sponsoring a program that has overwhelming recognition among college sports fans, Coors Light also should find retailers’ doors easier to open, particularly in host cities, Reis says. That will allow the beer additional opportunities throughout the week to host events in bars and weekend stock-ups in retail stores.

"College GameDay," which launched in 1987, began shooting on-location at schools across the country in 1993. Last year, it aired 13 regular-season episodes in locations including South Bend, Ind.; College Station, Texas; Eugene, Ore.; Atlanta; and University Park, Pa.

“College football is appealing across all legal-drinking age groups, especially our brand target of 21- to 34-year-olds,” Reis says. “'College GameDay' is especially big with the freshly out-of-college age group because the program captures the excitement of actually being there.”