With less than eight weeks to go before the club's opening match in Major League Soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps FC added another Founding Partner in the form of global beer brand Budweiser after announcing a five-year partnership agreement with Labatt Breweries of Canada on Wednesday afternoon. As part of the agreement, Whitecaps FC join BC Place and Canadian Football League club BC Lions in this unique partnership.
In a joint news conference at Labatt Breweries' British Columbia headquarters in downtown Vancouver, Whitecaps FC chief executive officer Paul Barber was joined by representatives from Labatt Breweries, BC Place, and BC Lions to announce this agreement. "We are delighted to be part of this historic partnership with one of the world’s biggest and most-loved brands," said Barber. "Budweiser's support for soccer at all levels - from the FIFA World Cup down to local leagues - makes this the perfect partnership for our club, as we begin a new era as a Major League Soccer club."
The new partnership agreement sees Budweiser become the official beer of Whitecaps FC and have the exclusive pouring rights for BC Place when the stadium reopens later this year. Budweiser will also have access to Whitecaps FC logos and branding, as well as exclusive rights to media and signage for the club. On match days, soccer fans will see the Budweiser brand throughout the concourses at BC Place, as well as in the stands with the newly-created Bud Zone, which will engage fans with in-game promotions. Budweiser will also sponsor the 'Man of the Match' award following each home game.
"As a leader in fan and consumer engagement, Budweiser will help enhance the brand of our club in a variety of ways," Barber said. "This includes the Whitecaps FC Preferred Pub program and the creation of fan centres, which will provide our supporters a great space from which to experience our away matches."
Wednesday's announcement is the fourth significant partnership agreement to be made by the Blue and White. Last June, Bell Canada was named as the club's Premier Founding Partner, while BMO Financial Group was named Vancouver's first Founding Partner in late October. Last November, EA SPORTS was also named a Founding Partner and the Official Videogame Partner for Whitecaps FC.
The Budweiser agreement is also the third time in 'Caps history that the club have partnered with Labatt Breweries, having had previous partnerships during the old North American Soccer League days and when Vancouver 86ers played in the old Canadian Soccer League.