WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Heineken today announced it has renewed its long-term partnership agreement with Major League Soccer (MLS) as the Official Beer of MLS for an additional five years, further establishing Heineken’s standing as a worldwide leader in the sport, and its commitment to growing the beautiful game in North America.
The partnership kicked off in 2014 and has included 40 intense MLS Heineken Rivalry Week matches, more than one million Heineken pints sold at MLS games annually at stadiums nationwide, 11 team sponsorships and counting, countless fan viewing parties, tailgate sponsorships and stadium giveaways and one iconic “Soccer Is Here” campaign with the 2016 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, David Villa, highlighting the game’s rich history in the U.S. and the energy and passion surrounding the sport. The renewed agreement will still support the rivalries and competition that the sport brings and continue to give fans an elevated game time experience by bringing them together over their love of a cold beer when watching their sport.
To get a sense of key moments Heineken and MLS have brought to fans in their quest to take the sport of soccer to new heights, check out the stats from the first four years of the program:
- Heineken has sold one million pints at MLS games annually throughout our partnership, per depletion stats.
- Heineken is the number one beer brand associated with soccer in the United States and is the preferred beer for millennial soccer fans nationwide.
- In addition to the league-wide partnership, Heineken is a club partner with 11 teams.
- This marks the 24th year Heineken will be officially sponsoring the beautiful game, as Heineken has been a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 1994.
- Soccer is the #1 sponsorship for the company worldwide, and the sponsorship with MLS is Heineken’s most significant in the United States.
- Heineken is taking this sponsorship to a different level, by opening an in-stadium bar co-designed with LAFC supporters at the team’s Banc of California Stadium.
- Heineken has led more than 2,000 recycling and safe driving efforts at stadiums nationwide as part of its goal to help Brew A Better World through our soccer initiatives.
“Soccer has been a crucial platform for Heineken across the globe with multiple league, team and championship game sponsorships. In the U.S. our partnership with MLS has helped drive the sport’s rapid expansion and growing popularity,” said Felix Palau, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Heineken. “Our partners at MLS are some of our most important globally, and we can’t wait to continue bringing fans closer to the game they love, with a Heineken in hand.”
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Heineken,” said Jennifer Cramer, VP of Partnership Marketing, MLS. “Heineken has a natural and global connection to the sport of soccer and continues to build deep relationships with fans through celebratory moments and their love of the beautiful game. We are excited to grow the sport of soccer together for many years to come.”
HEINEKEN RIVALRY WEEK RETURNS
As part of the renewal, The Official Beer of MLS will continue to present MLS Heineken Rivalry Week. This year, Rivalry Week contains the largest and most action-packed slate of matchups of rivals in league history. The schedule from August 22-26 includes national broadcasts of major rivalry games including NYCFC-New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy-LAFC, Houston Dynamo-FC Dallas, Orlando City SC-Atlanta United and Portland Timbers-Seattle Sounders FC.
Major League Soccer is coming off its most successful season, as the league saw record-breaking attendance and consumption, two new expansion teams debut in major markets, an influx of dynamic talent, and further increases in social and digital engagement in 2017.
Currently in its 23rd season, MLS continues to grow at an explosive rate, with more ways to consume content, a new expansion club debuting in Los Angeles (LAFC), new soccer-specific stadiums opening in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., and more stars in the prime of their career making MLS their “League of Choice.”