Alcoholic beverage brands have long used sports as a means of promoting their brands globally, with 30 brands holding active sponsorship deals across 30 different sports in 2018. This was led by soccer with a massive 49.1%, says Sportcal, a GlobalData company.
David Harris, Beverage Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With the huge sponsorship potential, celebrity-endorsed booze launches have picked up massively in recent years with several high-profile brands launching their own beverage lines. For example, Diageo-owned Haig Whisky is being endorsed by former England soccer star David Beckham.”
Alongside celebrity deals, most collaborations with soccer properties are focused on team partnerships with the majority stretched across three to five years. Liverpool FC was shirt-sponsored by Carlsberg between 1992 and 2010, which led to a 2017 one-off beer sold by Carlsberg that was claimed to have been produced to the sound of Liverpool football games.
A report by GlobalData’s Sportcal, titled ‘Sector Report: Alcoholic: Beverages 2018’, noted that although long-term contracts may prove beneficial, the evolution of the sports industry and media space poses a perpetual risk for both the sponsoring company and the sport. As such, partnerships can reach stagnation with neither party reaping the desired benefits.
Conrad Wiacek, Head of Sponsorship at Sportcal, comments: “Short-term contracts that are renewed on a regular basis can overcome this challenge, with the contract evolving as the partnership evolves. As a result, brands are signing short-term contracts that help them reduce the associated risks. In 2018, the term for sponsorship contracts signed by alcohol brands for sports events ranged between one to three years, as compared to 2017 contracts that had terms between two to five years.
“In addition, beer brands are using sponsorships to gain entry into the UK market. They are, therefore, keen to promote their product as the ‘official beer of a sport’, as opposed to a particular team, mainly due to the tribalism in many team’s fanbases. For example, a Tottenham fan will never drink an Arsenal-branded beer, no matter how good it tastes. This is why promotions such as NFL’s deal with Bud Light – which saw branded packaging catering to every brand in the central league – work: they promote their product to every fan of the sport, not just for one team.”