The news that India’s Makaibari Darjeeling tea would be served at the 2014 FIFA World Cup made headlines within the industry and beyond. Tea from this well-known estate was to be served to players, guests and other dignitaries in the cafeterias and stadium boxes throughout the month-long tournament. It was big news for Makaibari, but it was also another indication of the ways that tea can gain attention and popularity through sport.
Bigelow Tea has seen the possibilities of such relationships since they announced a partnership with the Boston Red Sox baseball team in 2008. Then manager Terry Francona was known to be a great lover of tea, drinking a cup of green tea before each game. They also created contests through the New England Patriots Radio Network in that same year. Cindi Bigelow, president and CEO, subsequently did videos with Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster as well as interviews with Francona, Joe Torre and CBS newscaster Phil Simms.
In 2013 PepsiCo announced that its RTD Lipton tea was the new “Official Iced Tea of Major League Baseball.” In the past Lipton has had PGA Tour deals and a sponsorship with Bowling’s U.S. Open.
The value to these partnerships for the tea companies is access to an established audience. Programs often include branding opportunities, social media outreach and advertising space. Some, like Bigelow and Lipton, look for broad audiences while others look for very strategic partnerships that communicate a brand attitude like Twisted Tea Brewing’s sponsorship of NASCAR’s Richard Petty Motorsports which cited the fun atmosphere of NASCAR and competitive spirit of RPM’s driver as reasons for its sponsorship.
Source: Hindustan Times