Heineken Is Cornering the Beer Market for Soccer Fans

Pours $40 million into MLS

Heineken has inked a five year, $50 million sponsorship deal with Major League Soccer, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Dutch brewer continues its soccer offensive and replaces Budweiser, which was the chief beer brand for the sports league for almost two decades.

It's the third intriguing fútbol-based move Heineken's made in the last several months.

The global company, which calls White Plains, N.Y., home in the U.S., partnered with Foursquare in late winter to zero in on American fans of the UEFA Champions League in bars and restaurants. The three-month, contest-driven initiative involved a data-visualization map where participants could see what cities were recording the most Foursquare check-ins.

During summer, Heineken encouraged World Cup fans in the U.S. to eschew work and head to the bar to watch soccer—or pull off a #BrazilianNoShow, as dubbed via social media—with a pilsner in hand, of course. The hashtag went viral, inspiring many brand-related tweets on the subject from consumers.

Indeed, Heineken's no stranger to sports. It's been a U.S. Open Tennis Championships partner in recent years while acting as a top sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 2005.

Now it takes the field with the MLS, which has been growing in popularity and hopes to capitalize going forward on the World Cup fervor of last summer.

"We've been looking for a national engagement platform for the U.S. consumer linked to our heritage," Nuno Teles, Heineken USA's chief marketing officer, told the Journal. "[MLS is] the perfect match of what the brand stands for as a European import."