AMSTERDAM: Dutch brewery Heineken has extended its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League for a further three years.

The global beer brand has been a sponsor of the prestigious tournament and UEFA since 2005 and the new renewal will take their partnership into 2018.

The new deal will increase the time Heineken is shown on LED boards around the ground to 13 minutes from a previous nine. The boards will also be used in the future in group phase matches.

Heineken will also have quicker access to images, enhancing its social media such as a live Twitter feed linked to matches.

“As Heineken is available in 220 countries in the world and so is the UEFA Champions League, this platform really is to build the Heineken brand worldwide,” said Heineken’s global activation manager, Hans-Erik Tuijt.

Unlike rivals, such as Carlsberg, Heineken does not sponsor teams or individuals.

The Champions League is the most watched annual sporting event. The total audience is estimated at 4.2 billion, with more than 1 billion people watching around four matches per season and half of that audience outside Europe.

“The number of Brazilian players playing in the Champions League is significant, and of Argentinian players is significant, and Asians love to watch this great football,” said UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein.

Other current sponsors are adidas, Ford, Gazprom, MasterCard, Sony’s PlayStation and UniCredit, with HTC as another supplier. There are reports that UEFA might look to add an airline as a seventh sponsor.

Read our Interview with Heineken Global Sponsorship Manager Tim Ellerton in which he talks about their Champions League activation.