HomeNewsSponsorship & MarketingFootballItaly

Coca-Cola eyes Coppa Italia title rights after Supercoppa success

Juventus' Rodrigo Bentancur vies for the ball with Lazio's Ciro Immobile during the Supercoppa Italiana final in the Saudi capital Riyadh on December 22, 2019. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Coca-Cola’s modest investment in the title rights to Italy’s 2019 Supercoppa appears to have been so successful that the US beverage company is in advanced negotiations for a deal covering the country’s main domestic cup, the Coppa Italia.

It is thought that the agreement would cover the remainder of this season – if football is resumed in the country following the coronavirus lockdown – and two further seasons. It is unclear how it might be affected if the current season is cancelled. The value of the deal is in the region of €5m ($5.5m) per season.

The deal would follow Coca-Cola’s deal for the Supercoppa, which was played in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 22 December 2019. The brand is thought to have been able to secure the rights in a one-off deal for between €250,000 and €500,000. The Coppa Italia deal is not thought to involve a renewal of the Supercoppa rights.

The Supercoppa is a one off-match between the winners of Serie A and the winners of the Coppa Italia. In 2019, it featured Juventus and Lazio and saw the latter win 3-1.

In Italy, the match was shown live by state broadcaster Rai on its flagship channel Rai Uno at 5.45pm local time. It brought in an average live audience of 6.337m, an audience share of 34.62 per cent. Juventus is estimated to have 8.725m fans in Italy.

The competition was rebranded as the Coca-Cola Super Cup. In addition to title rights, the brand had substantial LED time, two goal-side digital mats at each goal, and extensive signage around the stadium, including around the players’ tunnel, team technical areas and interview boards. Virtually all the value of the agreement was in visibility. It was effectively a media buy.

Coca-Cola had already agreed a two-year deal with Serie A champions Juventus, which covered the two seasons 2019-20 and 2020-21. The deal is thought to be worth close to €1m per season.

The financing for the recent investments is thought to be coming from the budget of Coca-Cola Italy, and the strategy is very much focused on market growth and sales in the country. Coca-Cola also has a sponsorship deal with England’s Premier League, worth £10m (€10.8m/$11.7m) per season.

If the new deal follows the model of Lega Serie A’s previous title rights sales, to Telecom Italia’s mobile brand TIM, the competition will be rebranded at the Coca-Cola Coppa Italia. The brand is also certain to get LED board time and other signage at matches, plus tickets to every game and hospitality packages.

The deal would be a very good one for the league, not just in terms of financial value but also in the association with one of the world’s most recognisable brands. The league has been reluctant to undersell one of its flagship properties. It would also be a strong result for the league’s new marketing director, Michele Ciccarese, who joined the league in November from advertising agency WPP’s sports and entertainment division GroupM.

The value is in line with that of the 2018 deal agreed by the league with rail company Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa brand, which had to be scrapped when the government stepped in and overruled the deal in controversial circumstances. That deal would have run for three seasons, from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

TIM had been title sponsor of Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa in a deal which expired at the end of the 2017-18 season. It had sponsored the Coppa Italia since the 1998-99 season. From the 2018-19 season it initially only renewed its rights for the league, at €15m per season, but later stepped in to do a one-season deal for the Coppa Italia, for 2018-19.