DUTCH beer giant Heineken has confirmed it is to enter Formula 1 with a multi-year sponsorship deal for trackside advertising and title sponsorship of several races, making it the championship’s official global beer.
The deal between Heineken and Formula One Management was announced at an event in the paddock ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Heineken becomes a title sponsor of this September’s Italian Grand Prix, and two more races starting next year.
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It will also have a presence at most other races, from concession sales to party areas and other fan experiences.
More crucial will be its expected impact on F1’s marketing presence.
As it has with football and the Rugby World Cup, Heineken is expected to increase the F1’s reach via a range of activation methods, both in host cities in the lead-up to grand prix as well as in the digital space and social media, places where F1 has lagged behind other major global sports.
“Formula 1 is bigger than a race. It is a global event,” Gianluca Di Tondo, senior director global of the Heineken brand.
“F1 represents a unique opportunity for Heineken to engage with existing and potential consumers in important growth markets. F1 delivers in three specific areas; strong commercial opportunities; expansion of our responsible drinking platform in new and innovative ways; and enabling skill transfers between F1 and our employees.
“This partnership complements our existing global platforms, enabling us to reach F1’s huge spectator numbers and 400 million unique television viewers every year.
“The hallmark of our long and successful relationships with UEFA Champions League, Rugby World Cup and the James Bond franchise is our passion to excite our consumers. We will be bringing this passion to Formula 1.”
On hand for the unveiling were three-time F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, fellow driver turned commentator David Coulthard, and Stephanie Sigman, who played opposite Daniel Craig in the Bond movie “Spectre.”
“Heineken is a premium international brand with a super reputation for first class marketing,” Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s commercial supremo, said.
“I am very pleased to welcome them to the Formula 1 family — and look forward to the scale and quality of their activation at, and away from, F1 events.
“We are both in the innovation and enjoyment business and I hope that this is the start of a long and special relationship.”
Heineken plans to use its F1 sponsorship to promote its campaign for responsible drinking which says ‘If you Drive, never Drink.”
The deal is understood to have options that may extend until the end of 2023 and may be worth up to US$250 million (AU$337 million) in that time.
Paddock sources said that the deal gives Heineken title sponsorship of three races each season from 2017 and track branding at six other events.