The Carolina Panthers NFL Draft Party philosophy was fairly simple:
Let's not dilly dally. Instead, let's Dilly Dilly!
With Bud Light as the presenting sponsor, the Panthers opened Bank of America Stadium to over 10,000 fans, who enjoyed weight room and locker room tours, photo booths, face painting, autographs sessions with Panther legends like Jonathan Stewart, live on-field interviews with David Tepper, DJ Moore and Donte Jackson, and of course, plenty of Bud Light while they watched the first round of the draft unfold.
"It had been a few years since we've hosted a draft party, but our corporate partners at Bud Light helped make this a special night," said John Berger, the Panthers director of sponsorship sales. "Bud Light and our staff did a terrific job working together during the planning stages to make sure Bud Light branding was everywhere. Fans didn't have to look very far or very hard to find a Bud Light to enjoy, and the Bud Light signage placed throughout the stadium was tasteful and effective."
"The draft party was certainly a success from our standpoint," said John Kirtland, trade marketing manager for Anheuser-Busch. "Everything from the attendance to the co-branding found throughout the party was great to see. The Panthers did all the leg work to make this event come to life and we are fortunate to have been a part of it. Hopefully the early excitement from the draft party was just a small sample size of what's to come as we head into the season."
With so much shared geography and demography, it's easy to see why the Panthers and Bud Light go together like a Cam Newton pitch to Christian McCaffrey.
"Both Carolinas are key markets for Bud Light and we see the Panthers as one of the most influential marketing properties in both states," said Kirtland. "From a national perspective, there is also significant synergy with our NFL league partnership to leverage team assets. In addition to business reasons, there are hundreds of AB and our wholesaler partner employees who are massive Panthers fans. We feel a strong connection locally to the team, and are heavily invested as fans of the team. When the Panthers win, we win."
And, just like the Panthers, Kirtland and his staff have big plans for the coming season.
"Heading into the 2019-2020 season, Bud Light will look to authentically show up for fans around celebrations," he said. "Both off and on the field, we feel Bud Light has an authentic voice and roll to play around celebrating the emotional high-points in Panthers fan culture and we look forward to being there for fans throughout the whole season."
To that, we raise a glass to our friends at Bud Light.