Heineken extends Champions League deal by three years

Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:12pm EDT
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By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Heineken, the world's third largest brewer, has extended its sponsorship of the Champions League, Europe's premier club soccer competition, for three years.

The Dutch beer maker, whose flagship Heineken brand has been a sponsor since 2005, and European soccer's governing body UEFA told Reuters on Wednesday that they had agreed a deal covering the period from 2015 to 2018.

Heineken, previously a partner with UEFA through its Amstel brand, is the first Champions League sponsor to renew beyond the current 2012-2015 term, although German sports goods maker Adidas has extended as an official supplier.

Other current sponsors are Ford, Gazprom, MasterCard, Sony's PlayStation and UniCredit, with HTC as another supplier. There are reports that UEFA might look to add an airline as a seventh sponsor.

Both parties declined to disclose financial details.

Sports Sponsorship Insider, part of sports marketing research group SportBusiness, estimates the current partnership costs Heineken 50-55 million euros ($68.9-75.7 million) a year.

"That was a 15 percent increase on the previous cycle. I think another 15 percent would be the benchmark UEFA would be trying to hit," said Insider editor Matthew Glendinning.

Heineken is the leading brand in the higher margin international premium segment of the global beer market, brewing 2.9 billion liters last year for consumption outside the Netherlands.   Continued...

A plastic container with empty bottles of Heineken beers are pictured among beer kegs outside a restaurant in Singapore August 29, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong