Brewers’ gala highlights role of sports sponsorships in time of crisis

BRUSSELS, 22 November 2012: Tackling the debate over the role of beer in sports sponsorships, The Brewers of Europe’s annual gala highlighted the responsible role that Europe’s more than 3,500 brewers play in supporting grassroots and professional sports.

The ‘Beer Serves Europe’ event took place in Brussels as EU leaders across the city discussed how to stimulate growth while slashing public finances. Meanwhile, preparations were underway for the EU’s ‘4th Open Forum on Alcohol and Health’ the next day to discuss how to address alcohol related harm, educate young people and ensure responsible marketing.

In the panel discussion, the Head of the European Commission’s Sport Unit, Michal Krejza, reiterated that sport is crucial to the well-being of European society, highlighting the essential role the private sector plays in funding sports, as described in the EU White Paper on Sport.

“Sports are a driver for the economy, jobs and social interaction from grassroots to the professional level, and sponsorships are an important source of revenue that play a major role in the development of sport,” Dr. Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of the European Professional Football Leagues, said in his keynote.

He said, “If the Eurozone crisis is to be resolved and vital sectors, such as sport and brewing, are to remain competitive and economically viable, then we need to be able to operate in a sustainable business environment. Any move to further limit beer sponsorship is therefore a step in the wrong direction.

Also on the panel, Mr. Pavlos Photiades, Managing Director of Photos Photiades Breweries noted how his brewery supports hundreds of community sports and cultural events in Cyprus, “We are deeply involved in sustaining grassroots sports, supporting communities and bringing people together. Our support ensures adult teams have the vital equipment and facilities needed, encouraging participation and healthy lifestyles and upholding the Olympic Ideal.”

Europe’s brewers, who support some 2 million jobs across the EU, spend 1 billion Euros annually on sponsorships and supporting their communities. 62 percent of this amount goes to community-based events, covering operating costs of sports organisations at a time of government austerity. This compares with only 11.9 percent for major sports events.

Beer sponsorships provide a lifeline for community events including sports activities, many of which would simply not happen without the support of local brewers and pubs,” said panellist Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Vice President of the Sport and Recreation Alliance and author of ‘Developing Partnerships in Sport and Leisure’.

Alberto da Ponte, The Brewers’ President closed the event stating: “It’s easy to overlook the European brewing sector’s positive social, cultural and economic impact. We as brewers wish to remain strong supporters of local communities, a fundamental part of Europe’s social fabric and a leader in promoting responsible drinking.”

Highlights will follow soon at www.beerserveseurope.eu