MasterCard says Champions League remains ‘powerful’ despite failure of English teams

Despite English teams failing to reach the Quarter Final stage last season and already losing five out of their 8 opening group games in the latest campaign, MasterCard’s group head of global media Ben Jankowski insists that the Uefa Champions League remains alluring for UK sponsors.

While admitting that the failure of English teams had led to a reduction in engagement opportunities in the UK market, Jankowski said the competition still remains a draw globally.

Back in July, ITV’s chief executive Adam Crozier said that the Rugby World Cup can provide sponsors with more guaranteed quality than the ‘unpredictable’ matches of the  Champions League.

At Marketing Week’s recent Get With The Programmatic event Jankowski said: “The Champions League is arguably the most important and powerful annual sporting event in the world. If you look at statistics, I don’t think you’d find that viewing figures were off that materially at all because of English teams going out.

“Outside the UK, markets such as Asia and Latin America are just as interested in a Bayern and Real as a Chelsea or Man United. From a sponsor’s point of view, the tournament is still a super powerful property.”

MasterCard is also one of the sponsors for the Rugby World Cup and Jankowski said the sport offers the credit card brand more room to connect emotionally than football.

He added: “You connect emotionally in a very different way. I’ve been to a couple of matches and the interaction between fans is unlike any other sport. You can have Argentinians and New Zealanders sitting together peacefully whereas in football the riot police would have to come in.

“We are trying to find ways to connect consumers to their passions with sponsorships that are emotionally powerful; rugby is great for that.”

MasterCard’s rugby ambassador line-up for the tournament includes the likes of Dan Carter, Chris Robshaw, Martin Johnson, Sebastian Chabal and Keith Wood, with the brand championing social media and experiential campaigns.

However Jankwoski admits that the prospect of England exiting the Rugby World Cup early “wouldn’t be good” for sponsors.

“We hope England can stay in for a long time as for a lot of the sponsors it wouldn’t be good if they dropped out early,” he added. “We’ve tried to make our rugby campaign relevant across multiple markets.”

For more information on how finance will be represented at this year’s Festival of Marketing go to

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