As Budweiser grows increasingly chummy with Live Nation Canada, it has put its name onto one of Ontario’s destination show locations. 


Budweiser Stage - formerly Molson Amphitheatre

The venue formerly known as the Molson Amphitheatre will now be called Budweiser Stage. Last year the shed hosted shows from Blink-182 and Black Sabbath to Dolly Parton.

Live Nation owns and operates the venue, and leases the land on the government-owned Ontario Place site. Besides the name, the venue will be changing the beers served to guests, adding more concessions options, and revamping existing ones to include cashless transactions. These changes and new signage are expected by the summer concert season.

The partnership was struck between Budweiser parent company Labatt Breweries of Canada and Live Nation Canada after the deal with Molson expired in 2016. Labatt, by the way, has a distant connection to Live Nation. Back in the 1990s, Labatt’s senior marketing executive was Michael Rapino, who is credited with inventing Labatt Blue and Blue Light and for nearly a decade handled Labatt’s entertainment and sports properties.

He left the company in 1998 to join Toronto-based promotion company Core Audience. One long career later, Rapino became the chief of Live Nation.

This latest development is a part of Budweiser’s strategy to build brand loyalty by associating a product with experiences, Labatt Breweries VP of marketing Todd Allen told The Globe And Mail. “Experiences are the new currency,” Allen said. “Any time we can bring a branded experience aligned to the passion points of our consumers … is something we’re definitely looking to do more of.”

A small flood of Canadian Twitter users lamented the change to Budweiser and compared it to the SkyDome’s renaming to the Rogers Centre.

“Losing #molsonamphitheatre name is have another piece of Canadiana chucked overboard,” one user wrote.

In addition to the shed, Budweiser is also making itself the official beer sponsor at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom and at festivals like One Love in Calgary, Alberta and Trackside in London, Ontario.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.