Why Guinness' £52m First Football Sponsorship Deal with the Premier League Is Spot On

Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief
June 17, 2024

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Guinness has ventured into a new field, announcing its first-ever global football partnership as the Official Beer of the Premier League for the 2024/2025 season. According to The Telegraph, ‘the brewing giant Guinness to be its “official beer” and new global partner, worth around £52 million in total.’ This strategic four-year deal signals Guinness' intent to broaden its market, capitalising on the Premier League's vast global audience.

Why Guinness Sponsoring Football is Perfect Timing 

The Premier League draws in viewers from all corners of the globe. Sky Sports, the main UK rights holder, reported a 40% increase in viewers for its coverage of the opening weekend in the 2023/24 season compared with the previous year. More than 8 million football fans tuned into the five opening games of the season on Sky Sports. According to the Premier League, "of these eight million, more than a quarter, 2.5 million, were aged under 35 and more than a third (2.9 million) were women. The growth in the female audience was significant, a 50% increase from last year."

One in every nine pints served in British pubs is a Guinness. Sales increased 19% across Europe last year and, according to a YouGov survey, it’s the world’s most recognisable beer brand, ranking above Corona, Heineken and Budweiser.

In the US, the opening Sunday’s game between Chelsea and Liverpool on Peacock saw an average minute audience of 973,000 viewers (in English and Spanish), making it the most streamed Premier League match all-time for the US, surpassing by 12% the Liverpool-Arsenal AMA of 872,000 viewers on April 9, 2023.

“The Premier League has grown exponentially in the U.S. since 2013,” Justin Beitler, director of global media rights consulting at Octagon, tells The Athletic. “Rights fees are now worth nearly 5.5 times what they were when NBC first acquired the rights before the 2013-14 season.”

With the Euros about to start and the 2026 World Cup being held in the US, the intrigue across the Atlantic will be at fever pitch over the next few years.

As the new global sponsor, Guinness is poised to ride this wave of growing popularity in the US and expand how the UK sees the stout. “The Premier League is the world’s most popular league, providing an amazing opportunity to continue the success of the Guinness brand globally,” said John Kennedy, President Europe, Diageo.

This new ventuse is off the back off Six Nations Rugby and Guinness agreeing a “ground-breaking” long-term partnership, thought to be worth in the region of £15 million per year, back in December.

Leveraging Non-Alcoholic Trends

Guinness has also secured the position of Official Non-Alcoholic Beer for the Premier League with Guinness 0.0. And Guinness will be using its global rights to promote and encourage responsible drinking during the season.

This decision taps into the expanding market for non-alcoholic beverages, providing a healthier alternative without compromising the fan experience. "I’m particularly excited for the brand to build on the impressive growth that Guinness 0.0 has seen since its launch," Kennedy added, underscoring the potential for global expansion.

Stephen O’Kelly, Global Brand Director, Guinness, highlighted the partnership's potential: “This partnership brings together two iconic global brands... We can’t wait to bring beautiful pints to the beautiful game.”

Celebrating the news at Diageo’s London office alongside Gary Neville, Matt O’Donohoe - President of CAA Sports and Will Brass - Chief Commercial Officer of the Premier League was Diageo CMO, Cristina Diezhandino. She said, “We’ll see the brand use its distinctive marketing, creative advertising, and history of activating world-class sports sponsorships to create fun and engaging experiences for fans across the world.”

A New Era For Premier League Sponsorship

Guinness is bringing a welcome new era to a sport that, sadly, has all too often been associated with heavy drinking and anti-social behaviour. Guinness’ efforts to communicate responsible drinking can enhance not only the brand’s image but also the future legacy of the Premier League leaving behind the years of Carling sponsorship of that ‘insipid juggernaut of bad lager and bouts,’ as GQ writes. 

So, Guinness' £52 million sponsorship deal with the Premier League couldn't have come at a better time. As football continues to add to its global popularity, Guinness' strategic move aligns perfectly with its brand ethos and market aspirations. This partnership underscores the brand's commitment to engaging with a diverse and passionate audience. By tapping into the consciousness of Premier League fans, Guinness is poised to enhance its brand visibility, and well crafted campaigns can foster deeper consumer connections, and ultimately drive business growth forward in an increasingly competitive global landscape.

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Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief