Beer and sports: some things are just inseparable.
Not in Brazil. In 2003, alcohol was banned at all Brazilian football stadiums to reduce fighting between drunken fans. But when the World Cup comes in 2014, the ban may be lifted, if only temporarily.
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke is insisting that beer must be sold at all World Cup venues in 2014. At a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Valcke did not mince words. “Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”
Budweiser is the official beer of the World Cup. Anheuser-Busch, once based in St. Louis but now owned by the Belgian company InBev, has been a major sponsor for 25 years and recently signed on through the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in Russia and Qatar, respectively. The last tournament, held in South Africa, raked in $1.1 billion in marketing income.
While the health minister is calling on the Brazilian Congress to maintain the ban, Valcke is complaining about Brazil’s delayed preparations for the World Cup.
So if beer is more important to you than sports, you might prefer your living room to front row seats in 2014.