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CUB restructures major partnership with Australian Football League

Carlton & United Breweries has renegotiated its long-running partnership with the Australian Football League Aussie rules competition.

CUB has been a partner of the AFL for over 100 years and first teamed up with the competition when it was known as the Victorian Football League. It is currently in the middle of a 10-year sponsorship agreement that was signed in 2012.

The deal was reportedly worth in excess of A$50m (€33.2m/$37.5m), a figure that has now been significantly reduced. Specific terms of the renegotiated deal have not been disclosed, although Australian newspaper The Age suggested that CUB has cut its funding by one third. A new five-year contract will run from 2017 to 2021.

The reduced funding could lead to AFL teams seeking out their own beer partners. The league’s commercial operations manager Darren Birch told The Age that it would work with clubs “to look how we can responsibly maximise the beer category”.

Birch added: “Given the longstanding nature of that relationship, the AFL was very happy to enter into negotiations to vary the agreement. Variances to sponsorships are not unusual. The new relationship will allow our clubs to enter into new sponsorship arrangements, and delivers certainty for CUB as our central sponsor for the next five years.”

CUB’s marketing director Richard Oppy said: “CUB's association with the AFL is an important part of our business and one that needs to fit into our commercial plans. We've been able to adjust our agreement to best meet the needs of our brands and consumers in a market place that has changed substantially since the start of the current term.”

CUB serves as a second-tier major partner of the AFL alongside Coca-Cola, Gatorade and NAB.