Miller Lite, Coors Light kick off football season with big partnerships, new ads

Coors Light and Miller Lite are gearing up for football season like never before with a marketing blitz that includes new ads, packaging that highlights major partnerships, a suite of new retail tools and more.

Both brands are coming off a historic sales quarter, with Coors Light’s sales volume up 25% and Miller Lite’s up 20% for the 13 weeks that ended Aug. 20, according to Circana multi-outlet and convenience store data. And they aim to keep the momentum going with programs the celebrate the excitement around every football game day.

With Miller Lite representing 16 NFL teams and Coors Light’s dozens of alliances with top college football schools, the brands aim to have a strong presence any time fans are thinking about football, says James Nanney, senior marketing manager for Miller Lite.

“Game day is every day, not just Saturday or Sunday,” he says. “No matter the football occasion, no matter the location, our brands work really well together to own every game day.”

Miller Lite’s fantasy breakout

Miller Lite’s partnership with ESPN, where it’s the lead sponsor of the network’s fantasy football app, is growing in 2023.

Not only will Miller Lite show up prominently on the no. 1 fantasy football app, it will also feature ESPN’s fantasy football badge on secondary packaging of its pints. This is in addition to packaging and display tools celebrating its 16 alliance teams across the NFL.

“While we have alliances in 16 markets, now we’re able to cover the entire country with football-themed packaging that’s going to resonate with fans,” Nanney says.

Miller Lite display

It’s part of a broader effort by Miller Lite to own fantasy football. More than 11 million fans played on ESPN’s app alone last season, according to the network. And it provides an ongoing opportunity to connect with fans at home and in the on-premise, Nanney says.

“Fans are engaged in fantasy football seven days a week. Whether they’re setting a lineup, checking stats or ribbing their buddies over text, we want them to have a Miller Lite nearby,” he says.

The brand connected with bars across the country to host fantasy football drafts that can translate to fans coming back all season. And Miller Lite is giving fantasy players a chance to win daily cash prizes to cover their tabs and other football swag throughout the season. Players can also enter for a chance to win the grand prize of having their next fantasy football draft at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

Miller Lite is renewing its partnership with DraftKings, as well, while expanding its advertising presence across major fantasy football podcasts.

“It all comes back to Tastes Like Miller Time,” Nanney says. “Miller Lite is here for those moments between friends, whether together watching a game, smack talk over text or celebrating your fantasy win. We have really strong ties to football and our programming this year reflects that.”

Coors Light goes big with college football partnerships

Coors Light is kicking off the season strong, extending its sponsorship of ESPN’s “College Gameday” to its secondary packaging of 24- and 30-packs for the first time.

Coors Light ESPN packaging

“The big picture is Coors Light is all about owning game day for the season, and we have some of the biggest partners in college football to do that,” says Lauren Flicher, associate marketing manager for Coors Light. “Coors Light is showing up big with ‘College Gameday,’ we’ve got the best announcer in the business with Kirk Herbstreit and we’ll be part of the biggest sports podcast, ‘Pardon My Take.’ And Coors Light has great local assets for on- and off-premise accounts highlighting our 30 college alliances.”

The beer brand is also launching a new program it’s calling “Nothing Like Game Day” that celebrates college football rituals like tailgates and, of course, gathering with friends to root on their favorite team. Fans can scan a QR code on cans and packaging to enter for a chance to win tailgating kits, hats and jackets and even Cameo calls from Herbstreit.

“Coors Light is all about celebrating game day: the excitement, the chants, the bands – there’s nothing like it,” Flicher says.

To that end, it’s aiming to change the way fans enjoy game day, introducing “The Chill Throne,” a luxurious reclining chair that provides fans just about everything they need to take in a game short of a grill.

Chill Throne

Available for purchase online starting Sept. 2, The Chill Throne includes a cup holder to chill your Coors Light, a tap handle to turn a Coors Light can into a draught beer, a back massager, Bluetooth speakers, an astroturf footrest and more.

Herbstreit will promote The Chill Throne before each episode of “College Gameday” and the hosts of “Pardon My Take” will feature it in their program. At the end of September, hosts Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter will sign the chair and auction it off.

The Chill Throne is available in limited quantities for $750 while supplies last. Fans who aren’t able to buy one of the chairs can go online to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win one.

“Coors Light is the fastest-growing premium light beer and our big football plans are designed to keep its momentum going,” Flicher says.

New season, new spots

Both brands are debuting new creative work for football season, part of Molson Coors Beverage Company’s plan to increase its marketing spend by $100 million for the remainder of 2023.

Miller Lite’s new 15-second spot is set to launch this week ahead of the NFL’s first week of regular-season play.

The ad is a poetic ode of the moments that make football memorable – the ones that happen in the parking lot before the game or in the bar with friends. “Finding silver linings in every season. You never forget how some things taste,” a narrator says.

Meanwhile, Coors Light’s new ad debuts later this season, and celebrates the college football experience.

“Our brands have had a big year and we’re not slowing down,” Flicher says. “Football is where our drinkers are this time of year, and that’s where they’ll find us, too.”