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How UEFA make Europa League games happen: Signage

"The scope and the scale of our signage team's task is huge and they do it every week; they do it for every single matchday, every single match," says UEFA match operations team leader Ken Nikravesh.

Strauss Behind-The-Scenes Ep.2 Signage
Behind the scenes: How signage works

To ensure that there is no distraction from the action during UEFA club competition games, a huge amount of work goes on off camera to ensure that every team, every match, every club and every broadcaster receives the same high standard of service.

In this piece presented by Engelbert Strauss, we discover how UEFA ensures that every stadium used for UEFA Europa League or UEFA Europa Conference League has the right look and feel every matchday.

Bringing the competition look and feel to every stadium is a massive task for UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League games, with UEFA's special signage team among the unsung heroes of the pre-match period. "The scope and the scale of our signage team's task is huge," says UEFA match operations team leader Ken Nikravesh. "And they do it every week; they do it for every single matchday, every single match."

UEFA's mission is to ensure consistent branding across every venue for all of their club competitions, a mission that demands bringing a huge amount of kit to every game: "Essentially three days before a game our signage teams need to flip a stadium and all of a sudden bring all of these different branding elements – our LED boards, our static boards – to then install in a very short timeframe."

Signage at Barcelona ahead of their quarter-final against Frankfurt
Signage at Barcelona ahead of their quarter-final against FrankfurtUEFA via Getty Images

Nikravesh's department at UEFA headquarters in Nyon help to oversee the work of the signage team, with UEFA's venue operations and broadcast manager (VOBM) acting as the association's eyes and ears on site, liaising with the clubs and working with the UEFA venue director and match delegate to ensure that everything on and off the pitch runs to plan.

Installing all the competition backboards is a huge operation, which runs from morning until night, and includes decorating the tiers of the stands in the competition colours as well as setting up pitchside boards, media and hospitality areas, and delivering the plinth from which the referee picks up the match ball ahead of kick-off.

"In the grand scheme of things, [the plinth] is just a tiny element, but right before kick-off that's what's being focused on by the cameras," says Nikravesh. "It's immensely important to what a viewer will see on TV."