Uefa set to appoint UK-based agency for women’s sponsorship brief
By Florence Lloyd-Hughes
Uefa, European soccer's governing body, is on the verge of appointing a UK-based agency to market its women’s sponsorship portfolio, which is being separated from the federation’s men’s packages for the first time as part of a wider commercial overhaul for the female game in Europe.
Sportcal has learned that Uefa is poised to
sign off on a deal with an agency in the next two to three weeks.
Uefa recently issued a request for proposals with a number of agencies selected to take part based on relevant criteria, notably in the sale and management of sponsorship packages in women’s sport.
The unbundling will take its effect for the Uefa Women’s Champions League from next year onwards and the Uefa Women’s European Championships in 2021.
CAA Eleven, the Nyon-based agency handling worldwide sales for Uefa’s national competitions, and Team Marketing, which manages the commercial rights for the federation’s club competitions, have been ruled out by Uefa as the federation wants the two agencies to focus on their ongoing business.
Once the agency has been appointed, negotiations with prospective sponsors will start at the beginning of next year, with sponsorship rights to the official match ball and equipment supply likely to be the first sold.
The sponsorship packages which will be on offer are yet to be finalised but it is understood that a presenting sponsorship rights offering for Uefa's women's competitions is under consideration.
Uefa has been in London this week meeting with several media companies, federations and agencies, including Sky, Facebook, Manchester City and PepsiCo, to discuss the new strategy and gather further support for its 'Together #WePlayStrong' campaign.
Earlier this year, Uefa unveiled a new plan to market exclusive sponsorship rights, as well as a complete set of new digital content rights to its women’s competitions.
Uefa’s traditional commercial model has involved selling sponsorship packages for the men’s Champions League and the women’s Champions League final together, and then bundling sponsorship rights to the women’s European Championships (and youth tournaments) with the rights to the men’s European Championships.
This has meant that brands such as Heineken (a top-tier Champions League sponsor) and Hisense, (global partner of the 2016 European Championships and 2017 Women’s Euros) have benefited from this additional exposure.
Some of Uefa’s member associations, including England’s FA and Germany’s DFB, have struck separate sponsorship agreements for their men’s and women’s teams in recent years.
Uefa’s revitalised marketing strategy could also result in television rights to the women’s Champions League being centralised from the quarter-final stage. Broadcast rights to the women’s Champions League are sold by the home clubs up to the semi-finals, and many teams want to maintain control of kick-off times and television slots, but Uefa has been surveying its member clubs to consider a centralisation proposal.
Uefa’s five-year plan to redefine women’s soccer also includes a large advertising and image campaign led by high-profile celebrity ambassadors and the separation of the women’s Champions League final from the men’s.