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LABATT BREWING COMPANY FINDS OVERSEAS SUCCESS WITH SPORTS
Published February 21, 1996
While some breweries have cut back and even stopped sports sponsorships, Labatt's British arm "appears to have reversed the trend," turning high-profile sports sponsorships into sales gains, according to the GLOBE & MAIL. Since launching its first British product in '88, the Toronto-based Labatt has acquired more than 3% of the total British beer market, putting its product "on equal footing" with such brands as Budweiser, Coors and Guinness. Labatt Marketing Manager David Radford says much of the success is due to their relationship with the Nottingham Forest football club. Rather than the approach of saturation advertising, Radford says Labatt used its experience with the Blue Jays to set up team-oriented bars and promotions, subsidize bus trips for out-of-town games and host pub nights for live broadcasts. According to Radford, sales have gone "through the roof" in the team's home region, and the brewery dominates international sales there. This is in contrast to other foreign brewers who prefer to simply use sponsored teams as "walk-on" stars in national ad campaigns (Michael McCormack, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/21).