One of the world’s most successful sporting sponsorships is set to continue for a further four years after tournament organisers ERC and Heineken agreed to extend their partnership through to 2013.
It means that Europe’s premier club rugby tournament, the Heineken Cup, will retain its title sponsor through to the end of the 2012/13 campaign with Heineken increasing their investment in European club rugby in a new four-year extension.
Heineken first joined forces with tournament organisers ERC on November 1, 1995 – the day after the first game had been played in the then European Rugby Cup competition and this weekend’s first game in Round 3 of the 2008/09 Heineken Cup will be match number 923.
Addressing a lunch to celebrate 14 seasons of the Heineken Cup, ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux said: “The partnership between ERC and Heineken has grown to be something very, very special in rugby union.
“With the support of Heineken we have nurtured the Heineken Cup and created a tournament which has earned the respect and admiration of the rugby playing world.
“I would like to thank everyone connected with Heineken for their loyalty, enthusiasm and commitment to our great tournament and for the fundamental role they have played in the Heineken Cup’s development.”
Heineken Regional President Western Europe Didier Debrosse was equally pleased with the sponsorship partnership renewal.
Speaking at the launch, he said: “Heineken is delighted to continue the Heineken Cup sponsorship. We value the partnership with ERC and are committed to support the fantastic relationship Heineken has with the best international club rugby tournament.
“The Heineken Cup has achieved positive growth, awareness and prestige each year since its foundation in November 1995.
“It is a pleasure for Heineken to continue to bring this unique, qualitative, and passionate rugby experience to all its supporters across Europe and beyond.”
ERC Chief Executive Derek McGrath thanked the tournament,s stakeholders saying: “Partnership has been central to the success of the Heineken Cup tournament over the past 14 seasons and today’s announcement reflects great credit on all of the tournament’s stakeholders.
“The elite players and clubs across Europe, club bodies, Unions, match officials, international broadcasters and media, together with our commercial partners and of course the millions of fans who have all combined to create a unique European rugby experience.
“Heineken has been central to this partnership from the opening game and their commitment, together with that of our other stakeholders, will ensure the tournament continues to thrive and grow in the seasons ahead.”