MOSCOW, July 9 Russia, which is hosting the next
soccer World Cup in 2018, will relax its ban on beer advertising
until after the event, giving a boost to brewers including
Anheuser-Busch InBev, whose Budweiser is the official
beer of the tournament.
Russia is expected to spend around $20 billion on the World
Cup and easing advertising rules will allow it to benefit from
hefty marketing spending by AB InBev for the tournament.
The change to the advertising law allows beer and beer-based
beverages to be promoted on television, provided the context is
sports-related, as well as in print without restrictions. AB
InBev's rivals such as SABMiller, Heineken and
Carlsberg also stand to benefit from the amendment.
The move will "attract additional sponsorship revenue to
support the organisation, staging and development of sports
events in Russia," Russia's Federation Council said on
It is not known exactly how much AB InBev spent on publicity
for the current World Cup, but in June the brewer said it had
boosted marketing spending by between around $600 million and $1
billion this year.
Russia, where beer was only formally classified as an
alcoholic beverage in 2012, has been tightening alcohol market
regulation in recent years, including banning advertising, as
part of a campaign to curb alcoholism.
The advertising ban and a slowing economy had led to a beer
market slump in 2013. Carlsberg holds the biggest share of the
Russian beer market.
(Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Mark Potter)