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  • UEFA Champions League still one of sport’s biggest sponsorship draws

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    Sponsorship plays a crucial role in supporting the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in maintaining its ambition of hosting the best professional soccer tournaments in the world, including the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League.

    It contributes to the smooth operation of each competition, as exemplified by its top associations with Heineken, Turkish Airlines, and PlayStation. UEFA is estimated to generate $606.33 million through central sponsorship deals for the Champions League for the 2023-24 season, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

    GlobalData’s latest report, “The Business of UEFA Club Competitions 2023-24,” reveals that in 2023, the UEFA Champions League had 12 teams, which generated more than $60 million in annual sponsorship revenue. Barcelona and Real Madrid are expected to generate a significant amount in the 2023-24 season, with approximately $169 million and $143 million, respectively, adding to their esteemed reputation in the sport and immense popularity globally.

    Joe Pacinella, Sport Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “The UEFA Champions League clubs are known to be some of the most valuable soccer properties on the planet, as seen with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Manchester United’s $96 million-a-year sponsorship revenue is also very impressive and illustrates its commercial pull, along with that of Paris Saint-Germain, which collects $87 million annually, slightly more than Manchester City’s just over $83 million-a-year.”

    UEFA’s deals with Heineken, PlayStation, and Turkish Airlines offer a huge source of revenue for the federation and provide diversity within UEFA’s sponsorship portfolio, further enhancing their global exposure and cementing their pristine status.

    Heineken is the biggest spender on the Champions League roster and promotes the competition worldwide through exclusive rights surrounding the deal. The Dutch brand has been partnered with UEFA since 1994, continuously engaging with soccer fans around the world and using the Champions League as the focus of their marketing campaigns, in a deal worth $65 million annually, as per GlobalData. The brand sponsors all three UEFA club competitions, including the Champions League, Europa League, and the Conference League.

    Pacinella added: “Heineken has focused on UEFA’s three club competitions for a number of years, making it the center of their sports sponsorship portfolio. The brand aims to assert itself as a market leader for soccer in the beer scene, being UEFA’s top sponsor.”

    Hankook Tire primarily focuses on the Europa League and Conference League, giving both competitions worldwide exposure. The automotive brand stands as both competitions’ top sponsor, ranking as the most lucrative deal that is not affiliated with the Champions League. The Korean brand has been promoting the competitions across Asia and engaging with fans across the globe, offering matchday experiences and online social media content. Hankook Tire’s deal with UEFA is worth $17.5 million annually on a one-year deal.

    Pacinella concluded: “The Europa League is Europe’s second-tier competition but still ranks as the second most popular soccer club competition in the world after the Champions League, emphasising the power of European soccer relative to other continents. Despite the huge appeal and success of UEFA’s club competitions, the newly instated UEFA Conference League certainly lags behind the rest and has less social media followers than the Copa Libertadores, CAF Champions League, and the AFC Champions League, but given time to grow, it will no doubt surpass these competitions.”

    Photo by Mario Klassen on Unsplash

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien