Heineken® strengthens its longstanding support of the beautiful game by maintaining its partnership with the UEFA Champions League (UCL) and Major League Soccer (MLS), to ensure soccer fans stay engaged and refreshed throughout the 2019 season. Beginning March 1, Heineken’s fully-integrated, 360° retail and on-premise “We Are Soccer. We Are Heineken®” program, will encourage LDA+ fans to choose Heineken for all their soccer viewing occasions and gameday celebrations.
“For Heineken, soccer isn’t just a game,” says Raul Esquer Lopez, Heineken Brand Director. “It’s not just a sport you gather with friends to watch. It’s not just a reason to cheer for your favorite club. No matter who you support, no matter whose flag you fly, everyone should be able to agree that on match day, the only way to celebrate is with Heineken.”
The sponsorship and program leverage the growing popularity of soccer in the U.S., reinforce the strong tie between Heineken and soccer, and offer retailers a unique opportunity to profit from shopper passion for the game. The U.S. soccer fan base has increased 34% over the past four years and now numbers 100M. The MLS fan base, at 45M, has increased 24% over the same time period. The buy rate of MLS fans has increased 20% among Heineken drinkers, and MLS fans are 72% more likely to consider purchasing Heineken if they are aware of the sponsorship. This years’ MLS Cup final in Atlanta featured over 73K attendees, a single game MLS record, marking a historic milestone that reaffirms the sport’s growing popularity both in the U.S., and globally. Retailers who support the 2019 program can capitalize on this movement with this high-impact in-store execution.
The program taps into various digital platforms to maximize awareness, engage consumers and drive them to retail outlets. Twitter and Facebook activation will drive consumers to the Heineken Soccer website for gameday content and prizing. Cross-merchandising partnerships with Pringles® and Cheese-It® –compelling offers on Heineken products and gameday snack essentials– will enable out-of-section displays where impulse purchase will lead to higher basket rings. Impactful display merchandising and customized regional POS will provide increased local relevance and offer retailers a unique opportunity to connect with shoppers.
“Heineken and soccer are the perfect match,” continues Esquer Lopez. “Soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. and Heineken has more repeat buyers and loyal drinkers than other leading European imports. The brand is uniquely positioned within the category to expand on its association with soccer and offer retailers and on-premise operators new opportunities to increase their Heineken sales and profits as the sport continues to grow.”
 Scarborough, 2017.
 Simmons, 2017.
 MLS Sponsor Loyalty Survey, 1/16/17.
 Nielsen Panel, 2016.