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Published on .

(June 7, 2001) LONDON -- In what is being touted as the biggest-ever sports broadcast sponsorship in the U.K., Coca-Cola Co. has announced it is investing more than $70 million in the next three years to sponsor the Premiership soccer highlights in the country's leading commercial channel ITV.

The deal includes sponsorship of a weekly showcase highlights program as well as a range of programming throughout the week on ITV. Also covered are repeat programming on ITV2, online and offline coverage of the Premiership highlights and a major off-screen marketing campaign, on-pack promotions and point-of-sale material.

"This is an historic broadcast sponsorship deal," said Mick Desmond, CEO of Granada Enterprises, which sells TV airtime and program sponsorship for commercial channels Granada, LWT, Yorkshire, Tyne Tees, Anglia, Meridian, UTV, Border Television and Irish terrestrial channel, TV3.

Tom Long, Coca-Cola division president Great Britain and Ireland, added, "Our long-standing involvement with football from grass-roots to sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup now includes the ITV Premiership highlights. This further extends our many interests, excitement and passion for football." -- Ali Qassim

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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