Friday, October 17, 2014

Full 90: Heineken Pours Rights with MLS

On Tuesday it was announced that Heineken will become the official beer of Major League Soccer beginning in 2015. This five-year agreement replaces Budweiser’s nearly 20-year sponsorship with the MLS. The agreement is valued at approximately $50 million.
For Major League Soccer, this sponsorship is congruent to the league’s regeneration. In addition to bringing on Heineken as a new premium sponsor, the league will introduce a new logo, two expansion clubs, and several new media partners over the next year.
This marks Heineken’s first national sports marketing platform in the United States. In recent years, Heineken has become a sponsor of the U.S. Open, while continuing its sponsorship of the coveted UEFA Champions League since 2005. The brand’s strong association to sports, specifically it’s rich heritage with soccer, allows for further exposure in various market segments.
The brand looks to expand its reach to the American soccer consumer. Major League Soccer’s continued growth, as well as the success of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the FIFA World Cup adds value to the league. Additionally, with the MLS adding franchises in Orlando and New York City, the beer brand will be able to increase brand awareness through marketing activities in previously unexplored markets.
Sports and beer have a close association. Soccer fans are especially loyal to beer brands. One research study by Heineken shows that there are 70 million soccer fans in the United States and that soccer fans are 50% more likely to drink imports than other sports fans. Heineken wants to provide fans around the globe the ability to consume the finest quality of premium beer while simultaneously enjoying world-class soccer. 
As part of its sponsorship, Heineken will have strong visibility during national telecasts, on-site activations, digital activations and point-of-sale marketing materials. Heineken will rely its sponsorship with the MLS to help bolster its U.S. sales, which have declined by 3.8% from 2008 to 2013.


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