Heineken in ú2m Rugby Cup deal

ITV has struck a ú2m sponsorship deal with Heineken to sponsor its coverage of this summer’s Rugby World Cup – the first network ITV deal where the same company sponsors the programme and the event.

ITV has struck a ú2m sponsorship deal with Heineken to sponsor its coverage of this summer’s Rugby World Cup – the first network ITV deal where the same company sponsors the programme and the event.

The deal is expected to be the largest fully integrated UK TV sponsorship involving themed promotions and merchandising.

The fact that the sponsor for both broadcast and event are the same company will please the event sponsorship business, which last autumn voiced fears that TV deals were in danger of cannibalising sponsorship revenue (MW October 7).

ITV responded to these fears with assurances that all broadcast sports sponsorships will be offered to that particular event’s sponsor first (MW October 14).

Heineken’s on and off-air sponsorship will be supported by an on-pack promotion involving 31.5 million cans and 500,000 multipacks. There will also be posters in more than 4,000 pubs and off-licences nationwide, says Tim Brady, head of sponsorship at ITV airtime sales house TSMS, which negotiated the deal.

The Rugby World Cup will be on ITV from May 21 to June 24. Heineken on-screen sponsorship credits will be integrated with ITV opening and closing titles and in break bumpers. The first branded trailers will appear in March.

ITV’s 1991 Rugby World Coverage generated a cumulative audience of more than 173 million. The broadcast sponsor was Sony which achieved unprecendented coverage, Brady adds.

The deal was negotiated by Brady with Richard Evans, marketing manager for Heineken, and Jeremy Wilton, head of sponsorship at Whitbread.

* Xerox announced yesterday (Tuesday) that it will sponsor the Rugby World Cup . The sponsorship deal is worth ú830,000.

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