Dutch brewer Heineken is in talks with UEFA to swap its &£45m Champions League sponsorship from its Amstel brand to the Heineken brand.
The &£15m-a-year deal runs out at the end of next season and the company is understood to want to continue under the Heineken brand. Sources say the company sees no point in changing the branding from Amstel for a single year, so it is hoping to negotiate a new three-year deal which is to start in January.
The decision, which would affect Amstel’s broadcast idents before and during every live match on both ITV and Sky, is said to hinge on the value of the deal. Amstel, Ford, Mastercard and Sony PlayStation all signed three-year contracts in 2002 (MW October 10, 2002).
At the time, UEFA is understood to have raised the price of the deal for the four companies to about &£15m a year, from &£11m a year under the previous contract. Sources say prices are likely to be hiked again.
The move would mark a considerable change in sponsorship strategy for Heineken, which has traditionally forged strong links with rugby. The brand sponsored the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and also sponsors rugby’s European Cup.