'Budweiser Red Lights' program hopes to extend reach to U.S. consumers

Fans who own Budweiser Canada's Red Light can program the promotional hockey gadget to go off each time a Toronto Blue Jays player hits a postseason home run and have it play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.

The Canadian division of the beer maker announced the initiative on Wednesday as it attempts to expand the reach of the Budweiser Red Lights program. Budweiser Canada launched the program during the Super Bowl in 2013 to allow fans who are watching hockey games at home to experience what is a staple of the arena experience.

The red light, which costs $150, is Wi-Fi-enabled and hooked up to an app. The fan selects which hockey team he or she follows and, thanks to the app's connection to play-by-play data of all NHL teams, the red light goes off within two seconds of a goal being scored.

In May, Budweiser started selling red lights in the United States, after Wi-Fi data showed some hockey fans had smuggled the lights across the border. With no paid promotions, and the NHL season drawing to a close, Budweiser had sold 1,000 red lights, according to Andrew Oosterhuis, director of marketing for Budweiser Canada.

Last season, Budweiser Canada put red lights on the bottom of pints and pitchers in more than 1,000 bars across the country that would light up when the local team scored. The newest generation of the red light also makes the exact horn sound of the fan's favorite arena.

Oosterhuis said Budweiser has sold 80,000 lights in Canada in 2½ years and is optimistic that the brand can sell 100,000 in the United States.

"This is helped us own the goal," Oosterhuis said Wednesday. "We've found that those who know of our Red Lights program have a greater affinity to our brand than those that don't, and those who own the Red Lights perceive our brand to be even better."