- Carling replaces rival Carlsberg as beer partner next season
- Premier League abandons title sponsor for a slate of partners
In the ongoing battle for beer-drinking European soccer fans, Molson Coors’s Carling has agreed to pay more than 27 million pounds ($39 million) to replace Carlsberg as the official beer partner of English soccer’s Premier League.
The deal, announced Tuesday, is worth about 9 million pounds per season for three years, with a commitment from the company to spend at least 3.6 million more on marketing the relationship with the Premier League, according to people familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified because the terms aren’t public.
Carling will still have to compete for pouring rights in Premier League soccer stadiums; perimeter advertising will also cost extra.
At 9 million per season, Carling will pay as much as Barclays Plc, which was the Premier League’s title sponsor for decades at 40 million pounds per season; it remains the league’s official bank at a much smaller cost. Watchmaker TAG Heuer is paying about 5 million pounds per season as the league’s first official timekeeper.
These deals are part of the Premier League’s effort to establish itself as a standalone brand, like the National Football League or the FIFA World Cup. By replacing its title sponsor with as many as seven official partners, the league may also be able to make more money.
Spokespeople for the Premier League and Molson Coors declined to comment on the value of the beer sponsorship. Carlsberg, which is a sponsor of the 2016 European Championships, said it is focusing on other soccer-related investments, according to Mikkel Pilemand, vice president for Carlsberg Marketing.
“We are continuing with other commercial football partnerships such as Liverpool, Tottenham and national teams, and stay committed to the sport and our role overall in football,” he said.
Carling hasn’t been an official soccer sponsor since its deal with the Carling Cup (now the Football League Cup) expired in 2012. The company is eager to expand in new markets in eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Russia and Ukraine, and the Premier League is the world’s most-watched domestic soccer league, available in more than 200 countries and territories. Its latest overseas television deal is worth 3 billion pounds.
“This is the perfect partnership for us as it represents a point of passion for our consumers, can deliver scale, and is befitting of a number one brand within its category,” Jim Shearer, brand director for Carling at Molson Coors, said Tuesday in a statement.
Molson has a separate relationship with British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc, which owns the majority of rights to broadcast the Premier League in the United Kingdom. Under the deal, pubs that serve Molson brands can get a discount on their Sky TV subscriptions.