Bass takes over Coke’s Cup deal

Bass’s bitter brand, Worthington, is to replace Coca-Cola as the sponsor of football’s League Cup.

Bass’s bitter brand, Worthington, is to replace Coca-Cola as the

sponsor of football’s League Cup.

Marketing revealed in April that Coca-Cola was to withdraw its

sponsorship, although the soft-drinks company refused to confirm the


The deal, worth pounds 23m over five years, sees the competition renamed

the Worthington Cup.

Bass says the deal allows Worthington to reach its target market of

21- to 35-year-old C1, C2 and D males and gives it greater media

coverage than its previous rugby sponsorship.

The deal is part of Bass’s ambitious plans for the Worthington brand,

which it claims is the fastest growing draught bitter brand in the


However, it is still only the third largest, behind John Smith’s and


A new TV campaign for Worthington was unveiled in April, with the slogan

’It’s a Man Thing’.

Coca-Cola denies rumours that it will now back the FA Cup, which is

losing its current sponsor, Littlewoods. A Coke spokeswoman said it is

increasing its involvement in grass-roots football, becoming an official

supporter of the Football League’s Youth Development Programme and the

official soft drink of the League. Coca-Cola also plans to be involved

in Euro 2000 and the next World Cup.

Mike Flynn, Bass’s sponsorship manager, said: ’Worthington is a

community brand, the essence of pub life, and as such fits a tournament

of national stature which spans 68 towns and cities.’

The tie-up will feature in Worthington’s marketing programme for the

next five years. A national consumer launch will take place at the

beginning of August, before the first game, with press and TV ads

supporting. Half of the pounds 23m budget will go on marketing.

Flynn said: ’The focus will be on giving fans access to the game from

the start, through competitions in our pubs and in the off-trade. The

emphasis won’t be on just the final and semi-final.’

Bass will also be holding ’fans’ forums’, giving fans the chance to meet

teams, players and managers and take part in a Question of Sport-style