Oppo, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, has entered into a major sponsorship deal with European soccer’s governing body UEFA.

The agreement, announced earlier today, will see Oppo become a global sponsor of UEFA’s top-tier Champions League (UCL) club competition, as well as of the annual UEFA Super Cup fixture, the Futsal Champions League finals, and the UEFA Youth League finals, for the next two years.

In striking this deal, it becomes the first Chinese brand to be signed up as a UCL sponsor, with the agreement to run for the rest of the 2021 to 2024 UEFA rights cycle – in effect covering the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.

Through the tie-up, the mobile phone firm will “enjoy high visibility, appearing on broadcast backdrops and in stadia, including on extensive perimeter advertising, website and social media”, UEFA has said.

As well as this, Oppo will activate by giving fans the opportunity to go pitch-side at major UCL games, and to take pictures with Oppo smartphones.

The brand joins Heineken, PlayStation, PepsiCo, Mastercard, FedEx and Just Eat as an official worldwide UCL sponsor.

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Guy-Laurent Epstein, marketing director at UEFA, has said: “We are delighted to welcome Oppo to the UEFA sponsor family … Oppo is a global leader in mobile technology and together, we are looking forward to advancing our efforts of connecting and inspiring football fans around the world.”

William Liu, Oppo’s president of global marketing, added: “At Oppo, we believe in the power of innovation to help us overcome life’s challenges, and this synergy with UEFA’s desire to fight in the face of adversity, makes this a perfect partnership.”

In late May, UEFA and its Team Marketing agency for commercial rights went to market to find a new global UCL sponsor, to fill the slot vacated by majority-state-owned Russian oil giant Gazprom, which had its UEFA tie-up terminated earlier this year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gazprom’s deal with UEFA was worth €40 million ($44.8 million) per season and had been a Champions League sponsor since 2012.

UEFA also ended the firm’s sponsorship deal for the European Championship in 2024.

In February, UEFA extended its global commercial rights sales deal with Team.

The agency has controlled rights to the top-tier pan-continental men's club competitions, including the Champions League, for the last 26 years.

However, in a key change from previous years, rights for the 2024-27 cycle, (covering both broadcast and sponsorship packages) in the US will be split away from the worldwide deal between UEFA and Team as the governing body allocated a country-specific package to marketing agency Relevent Sports.

Oppo, meanwhile, is also active in sponsorships across cricket and tennis.

In the latter sport, it has partnerships in place with both the Roland Garros and Wimbledon grand slam tournaments.