Budweiser raises glass as World Cup official sponsor until 2014

LONDON - Budweiser has extended its partnership with Fifa to make it official beer of the World Cup tournament until 2014.

The deal means that Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, will have promotional rights for the next three tournaments including this year's in Germany, which begins on June 9, and the following two tournaments in 2010 and 2014. The rights include hosting point of sale material, on field signage, outdoor billboards and pouring rights.

It is the eighth consecutive time the U.S. brewing giant has been a major tournament sponsor for Fifa, the first occasion being the Mexico World Cup in 1986.

Tony Ponturo, vice-president of global media and sports marketing at Anheuser-Busch, said the company had several promotional activities lined-up to support its official Fifa World Cup sponsorship, including the Budweiser Cup, an amateur tournament featuring six-man teams from many of the world's leading footballing nations.

Budweiser will also sponsor the man of the match award at each World Cup game. Special edition bottles and cans with the World Cup insignia will be available throughout Europe once the tournament is underway.

In addition to the Fifa World Cup, Budweiser is an official partner of the Premier League, Major League Soccer in the US and the Olympic and national US soccer teams.

Marketed as the 'King of Beers', Budweiser holds nearly a 50% share in the US market, brewing two of the world's bestselling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light.

The first match of the 2006 tournament is Germany versus Costa Rica in Munich on June 9.

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