By James Atkinson

Coopers negotiated its first major national sponsorship with the V8 Supercars just days out from the motorsport series opener, following an eleventh hour decision by Lion to exit the sport.

Lion has sponsored the event for the last four years through its XXXX Gold mid-strength brand, and it's understood the V8 Supercars was informed only very recently that Lion would not continue in 2012.

Coopers chairman and marketing director Glenn Cooper told TheShout it was "unfortunate" that V8 Supercars found itself without an Official Beer Partner ahead of the Clipsal 500 opener, to be held from March 1 to 4.

"We were able to put this together in an extremely short time," he said.

"The way we were able to do that was really because of trust between [V8 Supercars chairman] Tony Cochrane, an ex-Adelaide guy, and Coopers."

"We didn't have to go to multi-levels and go overseas to get decisions."

The deal gives Coopers pourage rights to all Australian V8 Supercar events and the title of Official Beer Partner of the sport. Coopers Mild 3.5 and Coopers Clear will be on sale at all V8 events in Australia, with some additional products offered at Coopers' Adelaide home round, the Clipsal 500.

Cooper said it was very fortunate the first round of the V8 Supercars was based in Adelaide.

"It's next week, that's why we're under pressure," he said.

"So we've got cans going through at the moment. Fortunately our brewery is in Adelaide, and it's not far away from the track – so we'll be OK for beer."

'No-one got screwed over'

Cooper denied that the last minute deal was struck at a distressed rate.

"It wasn't 'somebody screws somebody else' at all," he said.

"We negotiated a price that the V8s were happy with and also that we are able to leverage nicely for our product."

Cooper said he believes the exposure generated by the sponsorship will put the Mild 3.5 product "on steroids".

"This actually wasn't about the cars, it's a medium by which we will be able to project the Coopers name, but more importantly we will be concentrating on the Coopers Mild 3.5 mid-strength beer," he said.

Cooper said the deal will leverage the brewer's proud Australian heritage in its 150th year by associating it with a uniquely Australian event.

Lion said in a statement that XXXX had been a "proud sponsor of the V8 Supercars for four years". 

"During this time we have enjoyed engaging with V8 Supercar fans across the country. We regularly review all our sponsorships, and we have decided not to renew our V8 sponsorship at this time."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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1 Comment

  1. funny how lion in late 2011 can give woolworths [dans bws woolies } $10 million in bend over beer sponsorship to help them. but wont sponsor something that might generate business with the independants ??????

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