European soccer's governing body UEFA has today announced that Kipsta, the soccer brand of French sporting goods company Decathlon, will be the official match ball provider for its Europa League and Europa Conference League club competitions in the next three-year cycle.
The deal, which will begin in 2024-25, will run until the end of the 2026-27 season of UEFA’s secondary and tertiary international club competitions.
The agreement was brokered by Team Marketing as part of its long-standing global commercial rights sales contract for UEFA’s club competitions from 2024 to 2027.
Kipsta will replace Japanese sportswear group Molten which holds the ball supply contract for both competitions in the current cycle.
The company first became the Europa League’s official ball supplier in 2018, taking over from German sportswear giant adidas. It added the rights for the Europa Conference League in 2021.
Adidas, meanwhile, remains the long-running match ball supplier of UEFA’s top-tier Champions League through a deal running from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
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UEFA issued its match ball tender for the Europa League and Conference League last December
Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA marketing director, stated: "Kipsta's experience in providing top-quality balls and commitment to the sport will be tremendous assets as the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League enter into new eras.”
From the 2024-25 season onwards, the Europa League and Europa Conference League will be played in the so-called 'Swiss format' of a single round-robin league table prior to knockout stages, as opposed to the current format of multiple four-team groups.
Furthermore, for simplicity, the UEFA Europa Conference League will be rechristened as the UEFA Conference League from 2024 onwards.
Kipsta currently provides match balls to France’s elite-tier soccer competition Ligue 1, and its second-tier Ligue 2.
Since the beginning of the 2023-24 season, Kipsta has also been the match ball provider for Belgium’s top-flight Pro League, having agreed a deal in 2021.
This is the second agreement announced by UEFA for the Europa League and Europa Conference League in the next three-year period after Engelbert Strauss, the German workwear and safety equipment firm, recently renewed its deal as a sponsor of the competitions.