Mastercard is set to renew its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League and the European Championship for national teams, in a series of multi-million pound deals.
Mastercard Europe vice-president of sponsorships Patrick Simeons says that the company is in advanced negotiations with UEFA over extending its Champions League sponsorship until 2006 and sponsoring the 2004 and 2008 European Championships. Simeons says he expects to finalise the deals by November.
He adds: “Football sponsorship works everywhere. It’s a universal language and it helps us to create brand differentiation from our competitors.”
Simeons refuses to comment on the cost of the deals, but UEFA is understood to have hiked the sponsorship price of the Champions League by 50 per cent, to about &£15m a year. Earlier this year, Carlsberg-Tetley was reported to have paid more than &£20m to sponsor Euro 2004 and 2008, in a package similar to Mastercard’s.
Mastercard has also secured Sir Bobby Charlton to be the brand ambassador for this season’s Champions League. The World Cup winner will feature in the company’s promotions and a pan-European print campaign, starting February.
Simeons says that with the final of the Champions League being held in Manchester, Charlton – who played for Manchester United – is a good fit.