THE partnership between beer and Australian football is in no danger of extinction, with the AFL on the verge of signing a new 10-year sponsorship deal with the now foreign-owned Carlton and United Breweries.
The deal, believed to be worth at least $50 million, will cement the commercial relationship as the second longest-running in Australian sport behind Geelong and Ford.
The agreement is the last of the major sponsorships to be put in place by the AFL and its commercial partners, with No. 1 sponsor Toyota committed until the end of 2014 with an option in a deal worth about 7.5 million. NAB has re-signed with a five-year agreement.
''We've been in discussions with CUB for quite a while,'' AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou told The Age.
''We're pretty confident they'll extend.
''It's been a fantastic partnership which has been going for what seems like 80 years and if we extend I think you could say it will be a long-term agreement.''
Having committed $200 million to the development of the Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney clubs, the AFL has also recently secured new agreements with high-level sponsors Coca-Cola and Coles as well as a lucrative deal with Australia Post. But the CUB deal was considered no longer a given following last December's takeover by global brewer SABMiller.
The imminent signing of the agreement comes after the AFL's $1.25 billion broadcast rights agreement with Foxtel, the Seven Network and Telstra for the next five years.
That record payday is worth an extra $370 million compared with the previous broadcast deal.
When announcing it 12 months ago, AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick pledged that the league would respond by keeping a lid on game admission prices and club memberships.