Pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport has bought the rights to a key football tournament on the eve of the World Cup in France this year.
The broadcaster has sealed the three-year sponsorship and TV rights to the International Festival Espoirs of Toulon, otherwise known as the under 21-Cup of Toulon, for an undisclosed fee.
The competition is a showcase for young talent. In the past stars such as Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer, Frenchman David Ginola, Bulgarian Hirsto Stoichkov, David Beckham, and Michael Owen have all played there.
Eurosport wants to sell the TV rights to the tournament around the world, and is also looking for a platform of five sponsors, for a fee understood to be 200,000 a year. For this the sponsor will get break bumpers on screen, ground hoardings and opportunities to link its brand to the tournament, for example as the official car or drink.
The eight teams taking part will be Argentina, Brazil, China, England, Germany, France, Portugal and South Africa. The tournament takes place from May 14 – 23.
This is the first time Eurosport has bought an event, incorporating the opportunity to sell TV rights and sponsorship packages, along the same lines as sports marketing agencies such as International Management Group.
Eurosport UK sales director Tom Keaveny says: “This is the way the market is going and we need to embrace change.”