HEINEKEN today announced that it has extended its contract with Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) to maintain the Heineken® brand's status as Official Beer Supplier and a Worldwide Partner for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.
The agreement extends the Heineken brand's long-standing association with international Rugby, having first sponsored the Rugby World Cup in 1995. The ongoing sponsorship of the Tournament, coupled with its 16-year title sponsorship of The Heineken Cup, Europe's premier club rugby competition has made the Heineken brand one of the sport's largest and most important partners.
The extended partnership with Rugby World Cup 2015 sees Heineken maintain access to a package of worldwide rights, including use of Rugby World Cup 2015 event marks and designations in promotional tie-ins, pouring rights around stadia at all official Rugby World Cup outlets and, most notably, digital content rights to use across social media platforms.
Alexis Nasard, Chief Commercial Officer, HEINEKEN, commented: "As the world's most international premium beer brand, we are delighted again to be an integral part of the world's premier rugby tournament for 2015. Rugby World Cup is the world's third largest sporting event, with a truly global reach. It is a perfect match for Heineken, and allows us to be a genuine part of our consumers' conversation in a consistent but surprising way. It also gives us the continued opportunity to extend our messaging and execution around "Enjoy Heineken Responsibly", the brand's global responsible drinking programme."
Mike Miller, International Rugby Board Chief Executive Officer, said: "The International Rugby Board is delighted that HEINEKEN is renewing its Rugby World Cup sponsorship agreement as this furthers an already long-standing relationship with a partner that understands and shares our values and vision''.
"Rugby World Cup is now firmly established as one of the world's premier sporting tournaments and having a globally recognisable brand such as Heineken, who have shown a continued commitment to supporting global rugby, as a Worldwide Partner is particularly important to helping the IRB promote the international growth of the Game", Mike Miller added.
Hans Erik Tuijt, Global Brand Activation Manager, HEINEKEN, said: "We are proud to be continuing our partnership with the Rugby World Cup. The event provides us with a unique opportunity to continue to share stories and further develop our relationship with the growing international rugby audience. The success of our activation be it on TV, Digital and in store during the 2011 New Zealand Tournament reinforces HEINEKEN's decision to continue to partner with the Rugby World Cup. We look forward to making the RWC 2015 in England an even bigger success."
While the cumulative global television audience of Rugby World Cup is over four billion, digital media has been an integral part of this year's Tournament and Heineken has been at the forefront of this initiative. Heineken's Rugby World Cup 2011 sponsorship campaign, entitled 'This Is The Game', included digital content featuring rugby legends Will Carling, Zinzan Brooke, Matt Burke, Scott Quinnell and Rob Henderson, as well as entertainment and sporting celebrities like Stephen Fry and Rio Ferdinand. Fans have been able to engage with the content across its online platforms, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
RWC 2015 in England will bring Heineken further exciting and innovative opportunities especially in the on-line environment. RWC 2011 has generated a considerable buzz across the social media network, with Heineken doubling its followers on Twitter and exceeding one million views on YouTube by the end of the Tournament. The total number of 'tweets' mentioning the official RWC hashtag, #RWC2011, has reached over 1 million. Building on the successful digital foundations from RWC 2011, will enable Heineken to further engage the growing global rugby audience during RWC 2015 when the Tournament kicks off in Twickenham.
Notes to editors
Sold in almost every country in the world, Heineken is the world's leading premium beer brand and New Zealand's number one premium European lager. Heineken has been the official beer of the 1995, 2003, 2007 and now 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments. A significant percentage of Heineken's global volume is consumed in the major rugby playing nations. Heineken has been the title sponsor of The Heineken Cup - Europe's premier club championship - since 1995 and has been involved in the International IRB Rugby 7s tournament. Additional information is available on www.heineken.com and www.theHEINEKENcompany.com.
About Rugby World Cup 2011
Rugby World Cup is the crown jewel of the sport and a prominent global property - with television coverage of Rugby World Cup 2007 spanning more than 200 territories, reaching a cumulative audience of 4 billion viewers. Rugby World Cup 2011 is being held in New Zealand for the first time since the inaugural event in 1987. Teams representing 20 nations will compete in 48 matches across 12 Host Cities between 9 September and 23 October 2011. The Final will be held at Auckland's historic Eden Park.
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