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