Champions League remains 'priceless' for Mastercard until 2021
Mastercard, one of the longest-running major sponsors of the Uefa Champions League, has today extended its association with European soccer’s top clubs competition until the end of the 2020-21 season.
The credit card giant, whose involvement with the Champions League dates back to 1994, is the second company this week to commit for the next three-season cycle, after PepsiCo renewed its deal.
Existing partners Heineken and Nissan have already signed up until 2021, while Santander is the only new sponsor to date, having agreed a deal to replace UniCredit.
Mastercard has used the Champions League as a platform for its well-established ‘Priceless’ campaign, giving children around the world the opportunity to be player mascots, accompanying the stars of the European game on to the pitch before matches.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, the marketing director of Uefa Events, welcomed the extension, saying: “Longevity is instrumental in building successful partnerships, and we are delighted to extend our relationship with Mastercard. Partnering with a global brand such as Mastercard presents many benefits and opportunities for Uefa and we are excited about continuing our excellent relationship over the coming years.
“As an industry leading technology company, we look forward to further collaboration with Mastercard, as the role of digital becomes increasingly important in building deeper connections with global audiences.”
Javier Pérez, the president of Mastercard Europe, said: “We are very proud to renew our long-standing sponsorship of the Uefa Champions League. Key sporting events are a great way for us to directly connect fans across the world to their passion.”
Mastercard also has a high profile in international sport as a worldwide partner of the Rugby World Cup, in a deal that has been extended to include the 2019 event in Japan, and has recently enjoyed significant exposure in prominent events down under as a sponsor of tennis’ Australian Open and now the Australian cricket team.
As revealed by Sportcal six months ago, Uefa and its marketing agency Team have tweaked the Champions League commercial model for the next cycle, with eight official partner vacancies, one more than in the present cycle.
Alongside Mastercard, PepsiCo, Heineken, Nissan and UniCredit, the existing Champions League sponsors are Sony and Gazprom. Team is still out in the market seeking sponsors for the next cycle in the categories of airlines, technology and energy.
German sportswear giant Adidas provides the match ball to both the Champions League and the Europa League, but the supplier package will shift to an official licensee from 2018-19, and Molten has already picked up the contract for the secondary competition.