Heineken sponsors 3 more years of Champions League
LONDON May 27 (Reuters) - Europe's biggest brewer Heineken (HEIN.AS) is extending its sponsorship of UEFA Champions League soccer for a further three years, which analysts estimate is worth around 20 million euros ($28 million), on the eve of this season's final between Barcelona and Manchester United.
The new deal announced on Friday takes the Amsterdam-based brewer's contract up to the end of the 2014/2015 football season, extending its link to the tournament to over 20 years, as around 145 million television viewers prepare to watch Saturday's final at London's Wembley stadium.
Heineken's Chief Commercial Officer Alexis Nasard told Reuters the new deal gives the brewer wider digital rights and broadens its broadcast rights to cover Germany, but he declined to give any financial details regarding the sponsorship.
He said the group's eponymous beer was available in 174 of the 220 countries that watch the competition on television. One of the most recent additions to that total is Mexico, where the world's third-largest brewer launched the Heineken beer brand in January following last year's takeover of Mexico's FEMSA Cerveza.
David Taylor of Swiss-based UEFA said his association did not have a big marketing budget, and revenue from the sponsorship would be fed back into the development of "grassroots" football.
This is the sixth season the Heineken brand has sponsored the competition, which is watched by over 4 billion TV viewers over a season, but the group's tournament links go back to 1994. (Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.7158 Euro)