Heineken has revealed plans to up its marketing activity around its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League football tournament. The brewer said today (14 September) that it is supporting participating pubs and bars with branded merchandise and point of sale material in the hope of increasing sales and raising awareness of the competition.

During the group stages of the tournament, which began yesterday, participating on-trade outlets will be provided with branded wall planners to keep track of match days and results, as well as other promotional materials such as empty belly posters, beer mats, bunting, table talkers and staff uniforms. Heineken will also be running in bar promotions offering both bar staff and drinkers the opportunity to win match tickets and other great prizes.

Heineken is also supporting this on-trade activity with a consumer campaign to promote its sponsorship of the Champions League to fans and drinkers. This includes new TV break bumpers to be broadcast on ITV and Sky as well as print ads in trade and consumer titles. Football fans will also see Heineken branding on all perimetre boards at stadia across Europe.

Heineken will also be the sole sponsor of the interactive digital coverage on both ITV and ITV2 television channels throughout the season. By pressing the red button viewers will be able to access additional football content and will have opportunities to win tickets to UEFA Champions League matches.

Heineken has also created a dedicated and innovative football website at www.championsplanet.com. The new website gives fans around the world the opportunity to share their passion for the game through movies, web chats and photography. A number of fans will get the chance to become roving reporters, supported by a professional media team, Heineken said. They will get unique access to the UEFA Champions League matches around Europe and the final in Paris next May.

"After such a thrilling final last season, the British public are more excited than ever about this year's UEFA Champions League," said Chris Duffy, customer marketing controller, Heineken UK. "With some of Britain's top teams competing, many drinkers will be visiting pubs and bars to enjoy the matches. Licensees should maximise the merchandising provided to drive sales and create a memorable experience for fans."