World Cup organizers move beer sales to less prominent areas

Budweiser stands at eight World Cup stadiums will be moved to less prominent locations just days before the tournament, Qatar organizers said on Monday.

It is the latest change in World Cup planning that began more than a decade ago in the Muslim-majority emirate where alcohol sales are heavily regulated.

Qatar agreed when it launched its historic hosting bid in 2009, honoring FIFA’s commercial partnerships, including a historic Budweiser deal that renewed brewer AB InBev 11 years ago until the tournament through 2022.

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World Cup organizers finally confirmed in September a beer sales policy covering stadiums and official FIFA-licensed fan sites.

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On Saturday, eight days before Game 1, the protocol was tweaked to reduce the visibility of Budweiser-branded sales tents offering beer and alcohol around the stadium.

“AB InBev was notified on November 12 and is working with FIFA to relocate the concession to the designated location as instructed,” the Belgium-based company, which includes Anheuser-Busch, said Monday. stated in a statement. “We are working with FIFA to bring the best possible experience for fans.”

In Qatar, World Cup organizers said “operational plans are being finalized”.

“The plans include venue management teams strengthening coverage requirements for all competition venues,” Qatar’s Supreme Council of Delivery and Heritage said, referring to decorating sporting events with temporary branding and official facilities.

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“This has a direct impact on the location of certain fan areas,” said organizers, who declined to answer questions about who made the decision.

Four years ago in Russia, the Budweiser booth was one of the most prominent locations for sponsors outside Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which hosted the opener and final.

Red tents for Budweiser and Coca-Cola – two of FIFA’s longest sponsors since the 1980s and 1970s, respectively – were placed next to the statue of Vladimir Lenin, which overlooks the stadium near the entrance to the main stadium fans.

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FIFA does not release the value of individual World Cup commercial deals, but secondary sponsors like Budweiser are worth tens of millions of dollars.

Qatar only announced a compromise on beer sales in September, allowing alcoholic beer to be served around stadiums before and after matches. Only non-alcoholic Bud Zero will be served during games and in stadium bowls.

The stadium restaurants and lounges will serve champagne, wine and spirits, and beer to corporate hospitality clients. Fans staying at mostly high-end hotels and the three cruise ships that organizers have chartered as floating hotels for the game will also be able to buy a range of alcoholic beverages.

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