Guinness and Heineken wage Premier League bidding war

Two brands which have for decades been among the biggest commercial backers of elite European rugby are engaged in a multimillion pound bidding war to become the Premier League's next brewing partner.

Sky News has learnt that Guinness, which is owned by the FTSE-100 drinks giant Diageo, and Heineken have tabled rival proposals to replace Budweiser at the end of this season.

Insiders said this weekend the 20 top-flight clubs were briefed last week about the interest from the two brands.

One said that the Guinness interest would be worth tens of millions of pounds over the course of a three-year deal, with the figure understood to be significantly higher than a proposal from Heineken.

However, Netherlands-based Heineken is said to have been invited to table a revised offer.

Budweiser, which is owned by AB InBev, the brewing behemoth, has been associated with the Premier League for the last five years.

It has also been a principal sponsor of the FA Cup.

Guinness has traditionally been more closely associated with rugby union, having been the title sponsor of the Premiership until 2010 and more recently being affiliated with the Six Nations.

Heineken, meanwhile, was the title sponsor of the elite European club rugby competition for years.

A deal is expected to be finalised by the Premier League with one of the competing brands in the coming weeks.

The Premier League and Diageo declined to comment, while Heineken did not respond to a request for comment.