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Guinness ICC 2014: Soccer, Smirnoff Ice and Setting Records

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With the excitement of a thrilling World Cup still in the air, soccer fans across the US had little time to catch their breath as the largest soccer tournament in America was upon them. For the second year in a row, Guinness was the title sponsor of the International Champions Cup (ICC), a two-week tournament pitting some of the best soccer clubs from around the world against one another right here in the United States. This year, Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid sought to defend their 2013 title against Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, FC Inter, AC Milan, AS Roma and Olympiacos.

The tournament spanned 12 US cities, drawing in over 640,000 passionate fans to the stadiums and exponentially more through live broadcasting on NBC Sports, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Network Television. The ICC made its presence known, appearing several times on ESPN’s Top 10 plays (including Wayne Rooney’s awesome goal in the final match). Most impressive, perhaps, was the Manchester United vs Real Madrid match in Ann Arbor, Michigan where 109,318 fans filled “The Big House,” accounting for the largest crowd to ever watch a professional soccer game in the US. The irony of Guinness setting a record is not lost here.

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All ICC stadium events featured a Guinness Beer Garden providing avid fans with cold beer, giveaways and MKTG INC staff. MKTG INC also executed 161 events at designated local Fan Hubs across the ICC cities, where consumers competed in prop pick contests to win premium Guinness soccer swag and received complimentary beer samples. These events coincided with televised ICC matches and drew even more viewers for the tournament.

MKTG INC also managed the sampling of portfolio-partner Smirnoff Ice at the Dallas and Miami events. Over 2,400 consumers (21+) sampled Smirnoff Ice Original, Screwdriver and Watermelon Mimosa across these two events. Many had never tasted the brand before but eagerly welcomed the ice cold product on those blistering hot days. Both Guinness and Smirnoff Ice saw impressive sales at the stadiums, further establishing them as drinks of choice when watching soccer.

In the end, Manchester United faced off against its heated rival Liverpool in front of a roaring crowd of over 50,000 fans in Miami. After a slow start, Wayne Rooney and his Manchester United team rallied an exciting comeback to win 3-1, claiming the 2014 International Champions Cup as their own. Once again, Guinness treated fans to some of the best soccer the world has to offer right in their own backyards. While it may have only been considered a friendly, the passion, records and bragging rights are certainly real.

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