- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2023

Back in March 2022, a month after a former employee accused Dan Snyder of making an unwanted advance, Anheuser-Busch cut ties with the Washington Commanders. 

On Thursday, a month after Snyder sold the franchise to Josh Harris, the brewing company is back.

The Commanders and Anheuser-Busch announced a multi-year partnership Thursday, marking the return of the beer giant after their previous relationship ended in March 2022. The deal also comes a day after the Commanders unveiled another new major sponsor in Verizon. 

Securing Anheuser-Busch and Verizon as corporate partners is the latest indication the Commanders are experiencing renewed interest with Snyder now gone. Since April — when Snyder and Harris reached a tentative deal — the Commanders have added more than 4,000 new season ticket holders. The team has also had steady attendance at its training camp in Ashburn.

“We are thrilled to partner with Anheuser-Busch again to create a new and improved experience for Commanders fans,” Commanders President Jason Wright said in a statement. “Bringing Anheuser-Busch back to FedExField as a partner not only reflects their confidence in our organization, but also their commitment to our fans, who are the most loyal in NFL.”

Matt Davis, Anheuser-Busch VP of sponsorships, said, “Our history with the Washington franchise runs deep, and these fans are some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the nation. We’re excited to bring more easy enjoyment to fans throughout the year.”

As part of their deal, the team and the beer company will host several fan-related events — including a season kickoff party at Franklin Park in the District on Sept. 5. They also will honor military-related causes. 

Anheuser-Busch’s return to the Commanders came after Alejandro Santo Domingo — a billionaire who sits on the beer giant’s board — joined the Commanders’ new ownership group as a limited partner. Harris and his 20 partners purchased the Commanders from Snyder for a record $6.05 billion.

In March 2022, Anheuser-Busch opted to not renew its sponsorship with the Commanders. Though the company opted to not give a reason for the decision, the deal ended amid arguably the height of controversies surrounding Snyder and the Commanders. 

A month earlier, former Washington marketing manager Tiffani Johnston told members of Congress that Snyder made an unwanted advance at a work dinner by touching her thigh and trying to coax her into his limo. Snyder denied the allegations, but the testimony caused the NFL to launch another probe into the franchise. That probe eventually led the NFL to fine Snyder $60 million last month upon finding Johnston’s story to be credible.

Commanders executives had predicted Snyder‘s exit would spur a surge of renewed interest in the team.

Wright told The Washington Times in March that the team would see a “substantial boost.” A leaked financial document from Harris also revealed his ownership group expects to more than double the team’s yearly local revenue— to $380 million — by 2031-32. 

“What people have wanted from us for a long time is for us to be human and approachable, relatable,” Wright told The Washington Times last month. “The NFL is a big, powerful brand. And if you’re not careful to show that you’re real people who operate with humility and care about the people who you’ve been stewarded to have as fans, or that we have the opportunity to steward as fans, then it can rub folks the wrong way because it’s such a powerful enterprise.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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