Heineken®, official partner of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, to host ‘The Kick Off’, a virtual celebration live stream bringing fans around the world together for the first time ever, through global dance music institution Defected Records to mark the start of a revised 3-week tournament format – the first of its kind – 8 DJs, across 8 locations, for 8 hours in one live stream to celebrate the end of the wait for the culmination of Europe’s two premier club football competitions.

The Kick Off is an innovative party format developed as a result of the unforeseen recent global pandemic, bringing fans around the world together to socialise responsibly. The event will host a stellar line-up of world class house music talent including electro music icon Bob Sinclar, global superstar Idris Elba, crossover hit machine Purple Disco Machine, as well Defected favourites Low Steppa, Melvo Baptise, Aline Rocha, Ferreck Dawn and DJ Monki. Monki will also present live from Lisbon in Portugal, the home of this year’s rearranged UEFA Champions League final.

Each DJ will stream live from unique locations either at-home, in-bars or from special locations including the Heineken Experience, Amsterdam and the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. From Brazil to the UK, DJs will be mixed into a seamless format which proved such a success throughout the Defected Virtual Festival series earlier in lockdown. The 9-week series, described by Facebook as defying “the woes of coronavirus” and uniting 18.5 million people between March and May this year, set a new bar for virtual music events, bringing Defected’s signature state-of-the-art production and uplifting community spirit to a bigger global audience.

The event is part of HEINEKEN’s wider European domestic football campaign which will also include an appearance from football legend Thierry Henry and other well-known football stars. The Kick Off will be broadcast across Defected’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch channels as well as Heineken® and UEFA’s social platforms, and distributed across the globe, as far as China.

The digital connection of fans around through this event is an innovative step into what could be the future of sport sponsorship event.

Hans Erik Tuijt, Director of Sponsorship at HEINEKEN said: “The wait is finally over for the culmination of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Whilst fans will not be able to enjoy the experience in the stadium or large gatherings, we believe the Kick Off is the perfect way to celebrate the return of the action in a digital-first experience and could be an early look into the future of fan events. We are so pleased that Football fans around the world will be able to come together over an ice-cold Heineken® or Heineken® 0.0% – whilst socialising responsibly.”

Wez Saunders, Managing Director at Defected Records said: “Dance music and football have history. Defected and virtual clubbing have new found history. Having provided a chink of light to so many for 12 of the 16 weeks between the end of March (2020) and the beginning of July, we are very proud to be back in this space, with ‘The Kick Off’, celebrating the restart of the UEFA Champions League & Europa Leagues, over an ice cold Heineken. It’s a partnership we are all very proud of, and for me as a West Ham fan, it’s no doubt the closest I will get to the Champions League. Everyone at Defected is very proud and honoured to have been asked to produce this event, and continue to spread those positive vibes across the world.” 

Heineken® and UEFA’s Kick Off party hosted by Defected will be streamed across Heineken®, UEFA and Defected channels between 17:00-01:00 CEST/16:00-00:00 BST/WEST on Sunday 9 August.