Brands unite to boost Euro 2004 pub viewing

Eleven of the country's leading drinks brands and five independent pub groups are collaborating on a campaign to encourage football fans to watch the next set of Euro 2004 qualifiers in pubs.

Billed as the "biggest initiative in the history of the UK pub industry", National Pub Football Week will take place from September 6 to 13. The period spans a number of crucial games for teams from the British Isles, including England's games against Macedonia and Liechtenstein.

Pub chains Punch, Unique Pub Company, InnSpired, Enterprise Inns and Pubmaster have subscribed to the promotion, which has been set up by Lords Marketing and Promotions.

More than 30,000 pubs have been invited to participate and Lords expects at least 20,000 to take part.

Alcohol and soft-drink brands including Guinness, Smirnoff, Budweiser, Carlsberg, John Smith's and Coca-Cola have created on-trade offers for the promotion, involving price discounts, competitions and giveaways.

The pubs choose the promotions they wish to offer customers, and are provided with branded kits containing point-of-sale material and ancillary items such as beer mats, game cards, and prizes.

Football magazine Four Four Two is offering complimentary beer vouchers, while Budweiser is giving away Premiership tickets through the Pub Football Week web site.

National Pub Football Week's launch event takes place on September 3 at The Page in Westminster. It will be hosted by TV sports presenter Gabby Logan and former international footballers Viv Anderson, Norman Whiteside and Gordon McQueen.

Lords director Jonathan Lord said the activity aimed to build excitement around the Euro 2004 qualifiers, as most of the home nations had a good chance of qualifying this year and highlights include David Beckham's return to Old Trafford.

Lord said planning is already under way for development of the initiative for the Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal next June.

The event is endorsed by the British Institute of Innkeeping and The Publican trade journal.

Lords is already in discussions to run a similar event for promotion of the Rugby World Cup in October this year.

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