Your national team doesn’t have to be sponsored by Carlsberg to fail to qualify for the Euro 2008 championship, but it helps. Four of the countries whose shirts bear the Danish beer’s logo, including England and Denmark, will be absent from the competition, which kicked off on Saturday.
Carlsberg international marketing director Keld Strudahl will spend an extra 30pc of his budget on an unprecedented promotional blitz.
“We have some of our biggest campaigns in China and Malaysia and Singapore, because they really aspire to European football,” he says.
Interest from Asia and Russia is expected to lift total worldwide television audiences across the entire tournament from 7bn viewers last time to as much as 10bn this year.
The answer appears to be yes, lots more. In June 2004, sales rose not just in the host nation, Portugal, but by 25pc globally compared to June 2003. Mr Strudahl attributes the entire sales uplift that month to sponsorship. In the UK, 61m extra pints were sold.
The Danes used to sponsor the World Cup, but pulled out in 1998, when host country France banned tobacco and alcohol advertising related to sports events.
“Sponsorship is becoming more and more expensive. There is always a question of ‘When does it become too expensive?’ We’re not there yet but it is getting closer,” says Mr Strudahl.
Hopefully, England will qualify for another UEFA Championship before then.