Beer giant Budweiser is to donate all its advertising and sponsorship space to pubs in West London and Leicester at the Emirates FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Leicester City on Saturday (15 May).
Under the rallying cry "Support your club; support your pub", the initiative will share messages calling for football fans to continue backing their local pubs – an intrinsic part of the match day experience.
The campaign is supported by former England players Joe Cole (Chelsea) and Emile Heskey (Leicester), and recognises that even as Covid-19 restrictions ease, pubs are still battling for survival.
The FA Cup Final is traditionally a key weekend for pubs, but limited outdoor space and no indoor capacity permitted until 17 May means many are struggling for revenue.
More than 2,500 pubs have closed over the past 14 months and thousands continue to miss out on crucial business.
Amar Singh, senior brand manager for Budweiser, said: “It's great to see our pubs re-opening after what has been a hugely challenging year for them. We wanted to do something impactful, and that's why you won't see Budweiser promoted during the Emirates FA Cup Final but the names of some of the pubs that Chelsea FC and Leicester City FC fans know and love. We’re passing our sponsorship space over to these local pubs, to remind football fans that their matchday pubs are ready to welcome them back for that pre or post-match pint.”
Heskey, who scored 40 goals for Leicester between 1994 and 2000, said: “Pubs are so important to the matchday experience. They’re a place to have that camaraderie with your mates before heading to a match, or a spot to watch a game over beers with all the people you love around you. Soon we’ll be finally able to get back inside, too, so it’s important to keep supporting your local pub when they fully reopen.”
Cole (182 appearances for Chelsea from 2003 to 2010) added: “I love the pub. In fact, I always thought one day that I might even have my own pub called The Nag’s Head after Only Fools and Horses, that’s how much I love them.
"Pubs are a such a big part of our culture and a big part of going to the game. They’re an industry we need to keep supporting, and I think it’s great that Budweiser is giving up its sponsorship space to pubs at the FA Cup Final where all the football world’s eyes will be watching.”