Heineken has announced that it is to rebrand its Tag Rugby sponsorship in Ireland using the Heineken Light brand as opposed to its main beer marque.
The Irish tag league will be renamed ‘Heineken Light Tag’ for the next two years and will see local and national competitions feature Heineken Light activity from March through to the end of July.
“There is a natural fit between Heineken Light and tag rugby, hence why we have shifted the sponsorship to our lower alcohol, lower calorie product,” said Jim Geraghty, Senior Sports Brand Manager at Heineken Ireland.
“The midweek nature of tag rugby means that a lower ABV beer is a perfect match. Heineken Light has the lowest amount of calories of any beer in Ireland, which will also appeal to those fitness focussed tag rugby players.”
The move towards a low alcohol brand being associated to sport was prefaced in 2015 when Dublin GAA signed a three year sponsorship deal with Bavaria 0.0% Alcohol beer, saying at the time that it was important to lead in the promotion of an alternative to alcohol fuelled celebration.
Heineken Light is brewed in Cork and will sample at 110 Heineken Light Tag events around the country this season.
This is the second year of an initial three year deal with Tag Rugby which is itself entering it’s 18th year of competition
Participation numbers passed 20,000 in 2016. This is once again expected to increase to over 25,000 in 2017, with over 1,600 teams registered on Tagrugby.ie, including a large corporate client base. 90 per cent of the player base is between 18-35, a key millennial demographic which brands find increasingly hard to reach.
Because of the online registration required this gives a good strong database for personalised marketing while the sampling at events will put the product in hand.
Tag Rugby Ireland is competing for the Tag Rugby market with the IRFU who’s own parallel competitions in spring and summer, on the beach and in blitzes, is sponsored by Volkswagen and promoted through the provinces.
The IRFU’s partnership in the beer category remains firmly with Guinness making any merging of the two branches through a common sponsorship impossible for now.
Heineken remain one of the world’s largest sporting sponsors with a portfolio that includes Rugby World Cup 2019, European Rugby Champions & Challenge Cup, Ulster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Kinsale 7s and the UEFA Champions League.