So what does A-B know about those drinkers? They're older, they're male, they don't make a whole lot of money, but they spend a whole lot of it on beer. According to Nielsen, the average economy-beer drinker spentt $252 last year on beer and made 18 trips to the store to get it. That's not only more than anyone else, but far more than the $169 spent on 11 trips to the store for the average craft drinker. Oh, and there's one other thing: They fall into roughly the same demographic as baseball fans.
During last year's World Series, Nielsen said the average viewer was 54.4 years old. That's up from 44.8 in 1991 and is more than 16 years older than the median age of the U.S. population at large. As with big beer brewers, critics cite that aging fan base as baseball's biggest drawback. It, they say, is the reason that the World Series' biggest audience has collapsed from the 55 million who watched Game 7 in 1986 World to the 18 million that watched last year's deciding Game 6.
That argument is similarly flawed. For one, the more than 74 million people who attended games last year was the sixth-highest total of all time (though 1.1% lower than 2012, thanks to 37 weather-related postponements). Average attendance of 30,514 is nearly 10,000 more than it was 30 years ago and higher than it was even 10 years ago.
Tales of baseball's demise have been overstated a bit, but its thriving older fanbase is just fine by Budweiser. As it turns out, more than 91% of baseball's audience is 21 or older, according to Nielsen. That's a higher percentage than the National Football League or National Hockey League (89% apiece) and far more than the National Basketball Association (83%). While it could be argued that each of those leagues has a better farm system for fans than baseball's, none are more capable of bringing Bud back its coveted base of old-school beer drinkers -- and none of them will get the White House on the line to do so.
"We're working with them to accelerate that so we can get a quicker response," Tom Kraus, director of Budweiser Brand Marketing at Anheuser-Busch InBev, told MLB.com. "Once we get a quicker notification, we will share that info with our Facebook friends and all the folks who have been engaged in this movement with us. Then from there, we are working on specific market activations to bring this to life and thank the community and the White House for hopefully making this an official holiday."
Mmm, "market activations." That means that now that the White House has made a relay throw over to Congress, which has the authority to make an Opening Day holiday a reality, A-B can get fans in local markets to make a Budweiser-branded plea to their local representative. That kind of smooth talking and marketing jargon might send bored younger folks running for the nearest smartphone screen, but to older, cheap-beer-swilling baseball fans, it's as soothing as the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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