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Heineken returns to support rugby’s Champions Cup

Dutch brewing company Heineken has returned to back European rugby union’s top club competition with the announcement that it will become the headline sponsor of the Champions Cup.

The new four-year deal with tournament organiser, European Professional Club Rugby, was announced today (Monday) and will run from 2018-19 to 2021-22. The tournament will now be known as the Heineken Champions Cup.

Heineken was confirmed as the first founding partner for the EPCR’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions in October 2014 under a deal running through the 2017-18 season. Heineken’s relationship with EPCR dates back to 1995 when the two joined forces to launch the competition. 

Hans Erik Tuijt, global sponsorship director at Heineken, said: “The expansion of the tournament to emerging rugby territories (Bilbao 2018) and new cities in traditional strongholds of European rugby (Newcastle 2019) provides Heineken with the opportunity to create engaging fan experiences, and brings our association with rugby to new audiences throughout Europe.”

In line with the brand’s portfolio of global sponsorships, such as the Rugby World Cup, Uefa Champions League and Formula One, Heineken will use the partnership as a platform to communicate the Enjoy Heineken Responsibly programme.

Speaking exclusively to Sportbusiness.com, Tuijt elaborated on the multi-property strategy. “We aim to target consumers via their passion points in sport and entertainment through these sponsorships,” he said.

“The Heineken Champions Cup sits alongside the Rugby World Cup and complements our other unique global platforms; Formula One, Uefa Champions League and James Bond. It is important for Heineken to partner with different sport and entertainment platforms that resonate with different fans in different markets.

“We believe our current portfolio of sponsorship properties gives us the opportunity to reach our consumers throughout our markets in a compelling way. Rugby is a major part of our sponsorship strategy and we have a rich heritage in the sport and a history of engaging with rugby fans on a global basis.”