The beer giant is seeking to trademark the somewhat ambiguous phrase.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated June 27, 2019
Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images

Esports — aka video games as professional competition — might not quite be at NFL levels of popularity, but it’s a growing industry, and one with young, dedicated fans, so it’s no surprise that marketers, even major ones, are taking notice. Coca-Cola, Red Bull, and Buffalo Wild Wings are just a few of the food and beverage brands that have esports sponsorships (not to mention that chef José Andrés even designed the menu Las Vegas's Esports Arena). And now, it appears as if the esports world could be getting an “official beer” as well… kind of.

Last week, lawyer Josh Gerben tweeted a screengrab showing that Anheuser-Busch had recently filed a trademark for the phrase “The Official Beer of Esports.” And as the site The Esports Observer points out, the beer giant also trademarked the slogans “The Official Beer of Gamers” and “The Official Beer of Gaming” as well.

Though trademarks can be approved for any phrase, it’s probably worth noting that there’s nothing really that “official” about being the “official beer of esports.” “Esports” is simply a broad term for the competitive gaming category, not unlike the term “sports” itself — and if you said you were “The Official Beer of Sports” that would just be kind of silly. (Go sports!) No one is really presiding over all sports to officially give you that title. It’d be like saying you’re “The Official Beer of Drinking Outside.”

Still, truly “official” or not, it’s easy to understand why Anheuser-Busch would want to lock in this association if they can. The company reportedly confirmed to AdAge that the trademark request was earnest. “This move to trademark ‘The Official Beer of Esports’ is another signal of our investment to connect with fans in this ever-growing territory,” a spokesman told the site. The rep added that Anheuser-Busch has “long been a supporter of esports,” adding that Bud Light’s sponsorship of the Overwatch League means the brand “will have a presence at league events this season and beyond.”

As Sports Business Daily reported in April, Bud Light truly is the “official” beer for the Overwatch League everywhere except China after signing a deal with the gaming organization. But hey, why pay for one official esports partnership when you can claim to be the official partner of all esports for free?!