LONDON/GENEVA: UEFA, the governing body of football in Europe, intends to deliver more value for the premium sponsors of its various competitions, not least with a major push of the Champions League in Asia.

Also in the pipeline are plans to develop the Champions League in Africa and the US, although Asia is the priority for now, according to Peter Willems, Head of Marketing Activities and Sponsorship at UEFA.

“That’s growing and next year we may do one for Africa and again for America, but first we are looking at Asia,” he said in an interview with The Drum.

“In Asia, the Champions League airs at 3am in the morning, so we are working with our sponsors for a plan of growing the Champions League in Asia,” he added.

Willems also discussed the potential gains for sponsors after BT Sport beat ITV and Sky last year to win exclusive live broadcasting rights to the Champions League and Europa League until 2021.

The deal meant that, for the first time, only pay-to-view subscribers in the UK have been able to watch live matches.

He suggested that in-depth targeting of viewers would prove to be of more value than headline audience figures alone – as demonstrated by Amazon and Facebook, who he described as the “masters of targeting”.

“Brands still want to sponsor the Champions League, but we have to go more in-depth. For the sake of argument, if ITV were to give you five million viewers and BT were to give you one million, I can live with that, but I then want to dive into that one million,” he said.

“That’s where the future of sponsorship will be – a bit less on the pure viewing numbers but more in-depth for the target group that I want to know more about.

“That’s what I think UEFA can still offer on a touchpoint because we are also in competition with Facebook when it comes to targeting as there is nobody better.”

Making full use of influencer marketing is another touchpoint that UEFA is keen to develop and Willems explained how the organisation has been running tests with F2 Freestylers, a soccer skills channel.

“We brought them [F2] to the [Champion’s League] draw in Monaco and it was eye-opening how popular they are,” he said.

“That was the start of working together and showed us how F2 could cover the Monaco draw from a different perspective and how they could connect with a different audience and we felt like we could work well together.”

Sourced from The Drum, BBC; additional content by WARC staff