By Adrian Harte
The UEFA Champions League continues to deliver for the competition sponsors, according to research revealed at the annual UEFA Champions League Sponsor Workshop held in Monaco on the eve of the group stage draw for the competition.
Review and research
The traditional gathering of representatives from Official Partners Amstel, Ford, MasterCard and Sony PlayStation, UEFA marketing personnel and marketing agency representatives evolved this year into a more sponsor-specific workshop. The first season of the new UEFA Champions League contractual period was reviewed with the emphasis on research.
Public interest assessed
Philippe Le Floc'h, UEFA's Senior Manager for Marketing TV explained the purpose of the workshop. He said: "The workshop outlines the extensive programme of research that UEFA has constructed to assess the value of its competition. We share with sponsors the results that show the level of commitment and interest of the general public in our competition.
Value for money
"Every year we have this gathering with the sponsors and the UEFA family. But today we were better able to demonstrate to the sponsors the specific effects of their significant investment and illustrate that compared to other properties they are getting very good value for money and that the recognition and impact of the competition sponsorship is massive."
Hard work rewarded
He added: "The research shows that the UEFA Champions League is the most sophisticated club football competition in the world. It is something we are really proud of and it shows that all the hard work by everyone, by the partners, by UEFA, by all the stakeholders in this competition, is well invested."
More female viewers
Andrew Walsh from Sport + Markt presented the workshop with extensive qualitative research conducted during the 2003/2004 season. Among the key findings were that there is a continued increase in the attraction of women to the competition.
The research also revealed that UEFA Champions League fans tend to be more technologically aware and new media savvy than the average person. The research also showed that the vast majority of Champions League viewers play football or used to play football. The demographic groups covered by active or formerly active footballers are generally harder to reach for television advertisers, helping underline the special opportunity that the Champions League affords its Official Partners.
There was plenty of good news for the sponsors from the research, including the finding that Champions League fans view sponsorship as a favourable alternative to classical advertising, while the research also revealed that Champions League viewing is more scheduled than normal television viewing. The extent of each sponsor's brand awareness, visibility and impact was also discussed, while the consequences of commercial tactics and the impact of broadcast sponsorship were revealed in the survey.
Overall, the Sport + Markt research revealed that the Champions League's "holistic marketing approach" helps sponsors to stand out from the increasingly cluttered commercial environment.
Blue chip competition
Philippe Le Floc'h concluded that the research revealed that both the UEFA Champions League and its sponsors benefited greatly from their mutual association. He said: "All the research shows that sponsors get higher visibility, higher recognition and improved image: it is something they are also buying when they join the competition. It is a win-win situation; blue-chip companies and blue-chip football for the benefit of everybody."
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