German beer for Germans
Bud won't be only World Cup soccer choice
Dec 22, 2004 - German soccer fans will get to drink German beer at the 2006 World Cup, after all. American brewing giant Anheuser-Busch and Germany's Bitburger have struck a deal that allows Bitburger to pour its beer in soccer arenas and Budweiser to increase its advertising presence.
"Beer is a very emotional subject here in Germany. But this deal pays for itself in other ways, too. Both sides are winners here," Bitburger spokesman Dietmar Henle said.
Germans learned in April that only Anheuser-Busch beers, including Budweiser, would be available during the 2006 soccer tournament hosted by Germany.
Munich officials wanted Bavarian beer sold, too.
Because Bitburger had won a court ruling forbidding Anheuser-Busch from advertising "Bud" in Germany - it sounds too similar to the "Bit" in its slogan - Bitburger was in a position to bargain.
Under the deal with Bitburger, Anheueser-Busch can advertise Budweiser on billboards inside stadiums during the World Cup. That exposes the brand to a huge worldwide television audience, with one billion expected to tune in for the final alone.
Bitburger, in turn, becomes a "presenter" of the World Cup on German television, which allows its logo to be shown briefly every time play resumes. In Germany, major World Cup games will dwarf the TV ratings for any other programming.
"We think the uproar over all this was overdone, but we can all be satisfied with this deal -- especially the German fans," said Jens Grittner, spokesman for Germany's World Cup organizing committee.
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