Carlsberg sponsors English soccer broadcasts in Vietnam

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HO CHI MINH CITY -- Carlsberg is bringing English Premiership football to Vietnam in a deal widely regarded as a marketing triumph.

The soccer-mad Vietnamese have always been denied live Premiership football because the national public broadcaster has been unable to afford it and the satellite channels of neighboring countries, such as SCTV of Indonesia, have been jammed to stop Vietnamese viewers watching the football free via the back door.

But now the Danish brewer has stepped in, reportedly paying $350,000 to show 67 of the league's football matches live over the 35-week season under the banner "The Carlsberg English FA Premiership".

Peter Schwalbe, the deputy general director for Carlsberg in Vietnam, would not confirm or deny the $350,000 figure, widely quoted in the Vietnamese press.

But he did say: "To do something like this in China or Malaysia would have been extremely expensive; but here we can say it is relatively inexpensive.

"The whole deal is going to be very important for us. It shows people here that we are an international brand. You don't get a much better sponsorship deal than this."

The rights to show the soccer had been obtained by Malaysian advertising agency PB & Friends.

The deal gives viewers live matches on Saturday and Sunday nights (usually from 10 p.m. local time) and football digest programs of the latest action on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

Carlsberg, which came to Vietnam five years ago, trails rivals Heineken and Tiger in the local beer market.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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