“Ce sont les meilleures équipes, Sie sind die allerbesten Mannschaften, The main event
Die Meister, Die Besten, Les grandes équipes, The champions“
The above lines are popular, right? Yes, undoubtedly the anthem of the biggest Club Football competition in the world, the UEFA Champions League.
And just as the anthem itself says; “Ce sont les meilleures équipes (These are the best teams)Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften (They are the best teams) The main event.
Die Meister (The Masters) Die Besten (The best)Les grandes équipes (The biggest teams) The Champions.” The competition is meant for the best.
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For such a competition, it’s expected to see big brands and partners come in for sponsorship & partnership, and in truth, the competition and UEFA as a whole as never lacked them. According to statista.com, UEFA revenue generation for the Champions League from 2004 to 2021 is £5.7 billion.
Some of the notable partners include alcohol drink Heineken, Playstation – PS5, PepsiCo (incl. Lay’s), and Mastercard. One of the most popular partners is top Russian energy company Gazprom, who were the main sponsors of the competition from 2012 till the 28th of February 2022, when UEFA terminated the contract due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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The contract with UEFA, which lasted for ten years, was worth £33.5 m per season. But since such a huge partnership deal got halted, how have the finances of the UEFA Champions League been? Has the halt in partnership affected UEFA’s money in any way?
How huge was the GAZPROM deal?
Originally Gazprom’s first UEFA Champions League sponsorship was signed in 2012 and has been recurrent since then as the Russian company backed Euro 2020 with another deal. In fact, a new UEFA Champions League deal extension was signed in 2021 as part of the Euro deal to extend their UEFA Champions League sponsorship deal till 2024.
Now with the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UEFA’s decision to terminate the deal means a loss of a significant source of revenue worth millions of dollars over the course of four years.
To put the amount into context, GAZPROM’s deal is £33.5 Million per year with UEFA, and with three more seasons left before the sponsorship, it’s a whopping number of up to £100M on the surface.
Huge loss, but what’s UEFA’s coping mechanism?
Obviously, there are other sponsors for the competition from other countries that are not affected or linked in any way to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
UEFA still had six official partners after the expulsion of GAZPROM, and all their deals are running until the 2023/2024 season.
Heineken, Playstation – PS5, PepsiCo (incl. Lay’s), Mastercard, FedEx, and Just Eat Takeaway.com all continue their respective deals, with some even covering other UEFA competitions, including the UEFA Euros, UEFA Europa League, and Women’s football.
UEFA has since replaced GAZPROM with Chinese consumer electronics company Oppo which signed a two-year sponsorship deal to cover the UEFA Champions League from the 2022/2023 season to the 2023/2024 campaign.
That’s not the first time an international brand outside Europe will be a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League. Oppo is the second Asian company aside from Japanese Gaming company Play Station. Others include three US companies and two companies that have their headquarters in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, Turkish Airlines joined the long list of official global partners but with the prestigious tag as the first airline to sponsor the UEFA Champions League.
Already, they have a track record of backing football, having sponsored Euro 2016 and also Barcelona most recently.
Any way back for GAZPROM?
Well, money With the global attention the UEFA Champions League attracts, it will take an extraordinary occurrence to experience a dearth of sponsors as many international brands will always try to beat themselves to become brand partners.
Secondly, with the competition doing fine without GAZPROM, a return to their place as a top partner will require a huge deal, more than what they have always put into the competition, albeit, first of all, the war must have ended by then.
However, as long as the war with Ukraine is still on and sanctions against Russia remain, GAZPROM will remain unwelcome by UEFA.
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