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Volume 26 No. 225
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Corona Expands Beyond Boxing And Soccer, Signs Deal With Univ. Of Texas Athletics

Corona continues to expand its sports footprint beyond long-standing plays in boxing and soccer with a five-year deal as the official import beer of Univ. of Texas athletics. Building around the tag line “Horns Up, Limes In,” Corona will activate with a responsible drinking message across all UT sponsor touch points, as is typical at schools that have waded into the beer category. Corona will use UT marks at retail, creating Longhorn tap handles for use in bars and restaurants. It will run a UT-themed sweepstakes during the football season. Corona TV spots will run on Longhorn Network during football, basketball and baseball games. The brewer also will operate one of its popular Corona beach house tailgate areas outside Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at all UT home football games. Corona also gets tickets and hospitality opportunities at UT events. The deal was negotiated in-house between UT's multimedia rights holder IMG and Corona. While the brand likes the young demo it gets from college sports, it was initially drawn to the property as a way to expand its sports sponsor footprint in Texas, a key market in which it says it has seen double digit growth of late. Unlike most of the pro teams, which are strong in either Dallas, Houston or San Antonio, UT delivers a large audience with strong affinity state-wide. “Our primary objective was clearly to find a strong state-wide play,” said Corona Extra VP/Brand Marketing John Alvarado. “Texas is a strong beer market. And the University of Texas is a high-end property in terms of how it’s perceived in the state of Texas. When you look at the Texas Longhorns consumer base, for them Corona is a very strong fit.” MillerCoors remains the official domestic beer of UT.

AVAILABLE IN STADIUM NEXT SEASON: Though the sponsorship is not tied to pouring rights, Alvarado said Corona will be available in stadium beginning next season. Alvarado would not reveal financials, but a previously reported deal in the highly competitive domestic beer category included a 23-school sponsorship for MillerCoors that had the brand spending about $10M for the package. If sales at UT football season were any indication, MillerCoors is getting good bang for its buck. Public records obtained by the Austin American-Statesman in December showed that fans bought 98,535 Miller Lites and 95,096 Coors Lights during last football season. They bought 34,257 Bud Lights and only 89 Budweisers. They purchased 1,411 Shiner Bocks and 952 Lone Stars. Alcohol sales in Royal-Memorial Stadium rose 70% to $3.1M last football season, a jump the school attributed largely to better weather and a double overtime home opener against Notre Dame.