How would you react to the accusation that Carlsberg is exploiting and commercialising European football still further?
Top football is a commercial enterprise today, worth billions of Euros, and the money that sponsorships such as ours inject into the sport does not only benefit the Carlsberg brand, but ultimately benefits the football fans, who can continue to enjoy an ever more sophisticated and exciting game. At the UEFA EURO 2004 in Portugal, the revenue from commercial rights, including all sponsorships, accounted for 21% of the total turnover of EUR 839.7m – that is EUR 178.6m – so sponsorships are a necessary component of a EURO tournament. A huge event like UEFA EURO 2008™ would not be economically possible without sponsorships. Furthermore, the benefits of sponsorships ultimately filter down to the grass roots support level of the sport. One way is UEFA’s HatTrick solidarity programme, which support grassroots football with some of the proceeds from the European Championships – presently with a budget of EUR 314m until 2008.