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Euro 2024 sponsors seek brand recognition

Peter Oliver in Berlin


As 24 nations vie for glory in Germany at Euro 2024, it's Chinese brands that dominate the tournament advertising, pitchside and around the host cities. They represent five out of the 13 international partners.‌

While fans are hoping their side will go as far as possible, Chinese brands are also looking to win big at EURO 2024 – and they know they will be present to the final and beyond. 

‌Electric car company BYD is the tournament's e-mobility partner, ‌Alibaba companies Ali Pay and Ali Express are payment and e-commerce partners, with smartphone giant Vivo and TV manufacturer Hisense making up the rest of the Chinese contingent.

It's estimated that cumulative viewing numbers for Euro 2024 could surpass the 5 billion mark hit last time out, while around 12 million people are expected to visit fan zones in host cities. 

With such footfall and eyeballs, it is clear why big brands want to be associated with the tournament – as Howard Yu, a professor of management and innovation at the International Institute for Management Development, tells CGTN.‌


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"For one thing, all these Chinese companies are looking for international growth," he says. "Euro 2024 is a high-profile event which allows all these brand-building exercises to get closer to the target audience."

‌It's no secret that there's a lot of money in sponsoring major sports events. EURO2024 is set to generate more than $2.6 billion in revenue for organizers UEFA.

To become an official tournament partner, BYD had to unseat German car giant Volkswagen. Ali Express has brought in England football legend David Beckham as a brand ambassador. But Yu says that success in brand recognition takes commitment.

"Any brand building needs persistence," he says. "You're looking at Nike using celebrity endorsement – it requires effort and persistence over decades. So this is not a one-off event. Whether we are getting David Beckham or being the official vehicle sponsor for the football match, one needs to be prepared to spend years and even decades in the coming future in order to see results."


'I don't know any of them'

‌That can be tricky when football fans have their eyes on other things. In the Berlin Fanzone, CGTN asks a group of Scotland fans if they pay any attention to the sponsors.

‌"Absolutely not, we're here for the beer," laughs one woman, while her fellow travelers are similarly unaware, saying "Do we know who sponsors this place? No clue. I don't know any of them," and "I don't know – unless they're giving away any freebies."

One way Ali Express is looking to pique the attention of visitors to the fan zone is by challenging them to beat the robot goalkeeper. After half a dozen tries, your correspondent manages to scuff one shot into the bottom corner before running off celebrating like a tournament winner. 

Whether advertisers will be similarly persistent – and successful – remains to be seen.

Euro 2024 sponsors seek brand recognition
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