- European championship is Danish brewer’s biggest sponsorship
- Tournament will feature 24 teams for first time in France
Carlsberg A/S is planning its biggest sports marketing campaign around this summer’s Euro 2016 soccer tournament, as the competition swells to its largest size ever.
The Danish brewer is spending as much as 80 million euros ($90 million) on marketing for the championship, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Carlsberg has already doled out about 40 million euros to secure exclusivity as the official beer sponsor of the month-long sporting event, the biggest behind the World Cup and the Olympics, the person said.
A record 24 national teams will participate at Euro 2016 as the quadrennial tournament is staged in a new enlarged format for the first time. It had just eight when Carlsberg’s sponsorship began in 1988. The event will be played in 10 cities across France, where strict alcohol advertising laws mean the beer maker’s name won’t be displayed in stadiums and billboards on the side of the field will be limited to its slogans.
“It will be the biggest and the best,” Richard Whitty, a senior marketing manager at Carlsberg, said Tuesday ahead of the start of its official tournament campaign, which is themed “Fan Revolution.” He declined to confirm the value of the campaign.
Nations like Wales, Northern Ireland, Iceland and Albania are making their tournament debuts in France. They’ll join regulars like Germany, England and Italy in an event that will now run for almost as many days as the World Cup.
“It’s in essence a bigger occasion than any other UEFA Euro in history,” Whitty said.
Carlsberg has other soccer properties, like being the official beer to England’s national team and 18-time English soccer champion Liverpool, but its outlay for the European championships is the company’s biggest. It joins sponsors including Coca-Cola Co., Adidas AG and McDonald’s Corp.
Most of the focus will be on the brewer’s digital footprint. Part of this year’s rights package includes television sponsorship for the first time, meaning matches broadcast on European channels will feature the tagline “in association with Carlsberg.”
“It gives you a guaranteed TV presence during the tournament which we’ve never had before,” Whitty said.
There will also be a social media element, including getting fans to pick players and goals of the tournament. Whitty said part of Carlsberg’s strategy is to capitalize on the growth of soccer in Asia by increasing the amount of activities around the tournament in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
Whitty declined to say whether Carlsberg would remain a partner for Euro 2020, a tournament that will be played across several European countries for the first time.
“It’s important to be aware of other offerings that come up, but at the moment the focus is on activating Euros to the fullest,” he said.