Beer wars spill over into Origin arena

It’s the beer war that has spilled over into State of Origin.

Trouble is brewing in the interstate arena after the NRL signed up a new beer partner for Origin in direct conflict with the sponsorship arrangements of the Blues and Maroons.

VB will no longer grace the New South Wales jersey, but CUB have found another route to the Origin stage.

The governing body has just signed Carlton & United Breweries to its newly created ‘Beer of Origin’ sponsorship category, despite the fact it cuts across the NSWRL and QRL deals struck with Lion Nathan. Just as Queensland is set to mark its 30-year relationship with XXXX and as the Blues drop VB for Tooheys New, the NRL has struck a deal with CUB.

It’s understood the contract with CUB – which features brands including Carlton Draught and VB – was signed just weeks after the NSWRL’s arrangement to promote Tooheys New was settled.

The development has left the state leagues frothing as they will now be limited in the exposure they are able to provide their beer brands during the game’s marquee matches.

“We have Lion (Nathan) as the beer partner of the NSWRL and the QRL, so there’s a potential conflict this year because there’s a new sponsorship category created by the NRL called ‘Beer of Origin’ that has been sold to CUB,” said NSWRL boss David Trodden.

“It’s certainly not ideal.

“Obviously we’ll look to be supportive of our commercial partners and supporters, give them the best experience they can during Origin. We’ll be looking to do that during the course of the series.

“We all operate in the same market and it’s certainly not ideal to be positioned where you have to face one of your competitors leveraging opportunities in the same market.

“It’s common sense to understand that position. We’d prefer that was not the case but there’s not much you can do about it unfortunately.”

The NSWRL will expect that players chosen for the Blues will be used to promote Tooheys New and there is likely to be a similar expectations from the Maroons with XXXX. It may leave the NRL to go to past players for advertising campaigns and activations. Lion Nathan is an apparel partner for both states.

“My view would be that these relationships have got to be managed, because it’s obviously unsatisfactory to come over the top of a long-serving partnership,” said QRL boss Bruce Hatcher.

“They need to be careful how it’s managed.”

Hatcher was adamant that XXXX will still be available for punters for the Suncorp Stadium encounter.

“What we’ve got to do, wherever there are any conflicts or crossovers, we’ve got to represent our client on behalf of the QRL to the NRL to see what we can do to minimise any damage that could be done by having hard and fast rules,” Hatcher said.

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