With a deep heritage in the soccer space, this July HEINEKEN USA is bringing the beautiful game closer to its fans, wherever they are. Heineken will be the presenting sponsor for every International Champions Cup (ICC) match in the U.S.
Whether a Man U, or City fan, a lover of Italian soccer with AC Roma or Juventus, or a preference for the Premier League teams, this summer’s slate will be one that soccer enthusiasts and beer drinkers won’t want to miss.
Since 2013, the annual International Champions Cup presented by Heineken has rapidly become a highlight on the global soccer calendar, and its fifth North American act is promising to be the most ambitious yet. Eight of the world’s greatest teams, playing in world-class stadiums across North America, will contest the 2017 tournament from July 19-30. With six of the last ten UEFA Champions League titles between them, it promises to be an 11-day event that stokes some of the most intense rivalries in world soccer. And Heineken aims to elevate the gameday drinking occasion every step of the way.
“Heineken drinkers are passionate about all things soccer and ICC,” said Rob Ryder, Heineken brand manager, noting that Heineken drinkers are 60% more inclined to view FIFA soccer championships, 72% of drinkers associate beer with soccer, and the Heineken target is 66% more likely to view Major League Soccer. “Enjoying a cold Heineken on gameday enhances the experience and leads to greater consumer engagement,” he added, and Heineken has seen high single digit uplift in volumes within markets that activated ICC at retail last year, offering strong encouragement for retailers to support the partnership with ICC. “We will build on this momentum in 2017 with an even bigger program,” Ryder said.
The International Champions Cup is an impressive, record-setting draw. In 2014, over 109,318 fans showed up to watch Manchester United and Real Madrid meet at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — the highest attended soccer game in US history. In 2016, the two most attended soccer games in the U.S. were part of the International Champions Cup, when 105,826 watched Real Madrid take on Chelsea at Michigan Stadium, and 86,461 watched Real Madrid play Paris Saint-Germain at Ohio Stadium.
“The lineup of teams participating in this year’s tournament is world-class from top to bottom, highlighted by current champions of three top domestic leagues as well as the reigning Champions League titleholder,” said Charlie Stillitano, chairman of tournament founder Relevent Sports. “Hosting this caliber of soccer competition in the U.S. is only feasible through the ICC, where these teams can compete in a highly competitive tournament in preparation for their upcoming domestic campaign.”
Heineken is bringing the excitement of ICC gameday to retail and to the host stadiums. A simple entry mechanic –text GOAL to 88500 for a chance to win game tickets, stadium tours, and exclusive merchandise– is featured on eye-catching, soccer-themed POS to support in-store feature and display activity. In digital activation, @HeinekenSoccer will be promoting the program, driving consumers to the Heineken soccer website for ICC and soccer content. On-site, Heineken will be promoting in stadium beer gardens at the biggest ICC matches. PR and media will feature influencer events and leverage the Heineken Boot Room for exclusive player interviews.
Several facts make Heineken and ICC a winning combination for retailers who support the program. Heineken remains the #1 European Import, Heineken Light is the #1 best tasting Light beer, and Imports are growing 9x faster than Total Beer. Add to this that Heineken shoppers make +16% more store trips, generate +18% higher basket rings, and nearly 60% of Millennials consider Heineken for their next purchase, and the Heineken and ICC partnership means higher sales and profits for retailers.
Host venues for the 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken include: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; Los Angeles, Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif. FedEx Field; Washington, D.C. Hard Rock Stadium; Miami, Fla. Camping World Stadium; Orlando, Fla. Gillette Stadium; Boston MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J. Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Tenn.