UEFA has scrapped its two-tiered Champions League sponsorship structure for six main sponsors, which will each pay up to £15m a year.
UEFA has started searching for the six sponsors, with all four existing headline sponsors – Heineken, Ford, MasterCard and Sony PlayStation – understood to be in talks about extending their involvement. It is understood that UEFA does not intend to lower the value of its main sponsorship deals despite adding two sponsors.
UEFA’s marketing agency, Team Marketing, is in talks with several global brands. One source says the six slots are being contested by a number of rivals, with Carlsberg and Anheuser-Busch thought to be challenging Heineken for the right to become the beer sponsor.
Sony is understood to be considering increasing its presence in football following the success of its Champions League partnership. One source adds the company is looking at other sponsorships, including an association with the FIFA World Cup.
The new sponsorship structure will be in place for 2006 and will run until 2009. UEFA has already overhauled its UEFA Cup brand as a first step towards the search for its first headline sponsors (MW April 1, 2004).