Heineken is well known to soccer fans. The Dutch brewing company is a primary sponsor of the UEFA Champions League and starting in January 2015 a main sponsor as the ‘Official Beer of MLS.’ The 4-year deal is worth a reported $40 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The brand saw this as the perfect time to jump into the U.S. market. This is the first partnership with a national sports presence in the U.S. MLS has overcome predictions of skeptics and are about to enter their 20th season, they continue to expand with 2 new teams, New York City FC and Orlando City, starting play next season and more cities working to land a team, a re-branded league and team logos.
“Soccer fans are also 50% more likely to drink premium import beers like Heineken vs. any other sports fan,” Pattie Falch, Director, Sponsorships & Events at Heineken USA told Portada in an interview about the move into the U.S. soccer market. “It’s safe to say that Heineken and MLS are a perfect match, and we look forward to challenging our American consumers to enjoy a great match.”
Equally important is what is happening off the field. MLS has the 3rd highest average attendance of U.S. sports and with a base of 22 million Americans involved with the sport Heineken is eager to tap the potential.
Heineken will be served as the premium beer at all MLS games starting next season. They replace Budweiser as the beer sponsor for the league. Heineken was not interested in the sponsorship rights to the U.S. and Mexican national teams, the 2 other major soccer properties in North America, with MLS marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) talking with former league sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev as well as MillerCoors LLC to partner with those brands.
Well-known for their soccer commercials and social media campaigns, Heineken is getting a jump on 2015 with the #MLSNext, #OpenYourWorld, and #ShareTheSofa campaigns.