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Anheuser-Busch funnels sports and entertainment budget into coronavirus relief efforts

March 25, 2020, 3:48 PM UTC

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Anheuser-Busch is redeploying the money it normally would spend on sports and entertainment sponsorships to relief efforts for the coronavirus pandemic.

The brewer announced Wednesday it would shift the budget to nonprofit partners, including the American Red Cross. Anheuser-Busch is the country’s largest sponsor of sporting events and concerts.

One of the first tangible effects of the move will be converting arenas and stadiums into temporary blood drive centers. The $5 million donation to the Red Cross will also see the brewer’s tour centers in St. Louis and Merrimack, N.H., converted and Anheuser-Busch donating airtime for public service announcements.

“COVID-19 has changed how we all live our lives,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch U.S., in a statement. “While we can’t solve this crisis on our own, we are proud to do what we can to serve and support our communities in need…We invite other companies to use their unique capabilities to join us in this effort, however they can, so that together we can make a difference.”

The announcement comes days after the brewer said it would begin making hand sanitizer on its production line to help ease shortages throughout the country. That will be donated to the Red Cross as well.

Anheuser-Busch is expecting its earnings will take a big hit in the wake of COVID-19, saying this quarter will be the worst in a decade.

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Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business, delivered free to your inbox.