Thursday 22 August 2019

Money well spent as Euros sponsorship sends brand awareness rocketing

Carlsberg beer is sold to fans during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Sweden. Photo: Getty
Carlsberg beer is sold to fans during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Sweden. Photo: Getty

Lisa Bergin

A jumping president, Duffer re-incarnated as an RTE pundit, and happy FAI sponsors have emerged as the legacy to be taken from Euro 2016 as the final whistle is blown today in Paris.

This has been the most lucrative European Championships to date, with UEFA generating over €500m in revenue thanks to sponsors and TV revenue. The expanded 24-team tournament is the third biggest sporting event in the world, and gained added traction through Iceland's shock win over England, and the emergence of Wales as a force to be reckoned with.

Research conducted by PSG Sponsorship shows Carlsberg will be satisfied in the knowledge as the trophy is lifted that their clever marketing strategy to evade strict French advertising laws, which prevented the brand from projecting their logo on pitchside hoarding and billboards, by rebranding to use the word 'probably', one of its well-known slogans, has paid off. The alcohol company has emerged as Euro 2016's most recognisable brand, with 40 per cent unprompted and 64 per cent prompted awareness. Coca Cola previously held this position pre-tournament, with 27 per cent unprompted and 55 per cent prompted. McDonalds assets as player escort sponsors banked them second place with 31 per cent unprompted awareness, and 57 per cent prompted, with Coca Cola pulling up in third with 55 per cent prompted awareness after a promising start to their Euro campaign.

Pre-tournament stats saw Heineken sneak in with 33 per cent of prompted fans confusing the Danish giant as official beer sponsors of the tournament thanks to their long-standing partnership with the Champions League. Carlsberg's clever activation ensured this figure was reduced to 25 per cent post tournament.

UEFA aggressively protect their sponsorship assets, and ensure that their clean stadium policy is an effective path. Non-tournament sponsors are prohibited from activating anywhere near teams, stadium arenas and team training grounds, so official sponsors are safe in the knowledge that their assets are exclusive when handing over hefty sponsorship sums.

Closer to home, Three's Euro dreams came true, with the telecoms provider scoring 80 per cent in unprompted awareness and 89 per cent in prompted as an FAI sponsor. Further, 84 per cent of fans also identified the brand as Republic of Ireland shirt sponsors, despite strict UEFA law, which prevented players from wearing branded kit or jerseys for the duration of the tournament. Their #MakeHistory campaign also scored well as best Irish brand campaign.

Carlsberg's #JointheGreenArmy was second while Spar will be extremely satisfied as their 'Team of Gary Breen' initiative came in third. The convenience retailer also ranked third in the FAI's most recognisable brands.

Life Style Sports shook things up in Ireland, with 14 per cent confusing the brand as an FAI sponsor thanks to their #FootbALLorNothing campaign, which championed the fans throughout Ireland's journey.

Elsewhere, President Michael D Higgins' rapturous celebration after Robbie Brady's goal versus Italy was voted as fan's favourite viral video moment of the tournament. Good humoured French police singing 'Go home for the French police' to Irish fans in Bordeaux ranked second.

The tournament proved that football is still king, with 67 per cent of respondents stating that they watched all of Ireland's games, while 55 per cent added that they watched more than 10 games during the duration of the tournament.

The majority of fans still prefer to watch games in the comfort of their own home, with 57 per cent watching from their couch. Pubs came in as second choice for fans, with 27 per cent.

Next up for UEFA is Euro 2020, which will be switched up as the tournament will span across 13 cities throughout Europe, including Dublin, in acknowledgement of their 60th anniversary. It will be interesting to see how UEFA enforce their strict sponsorship strategy across a broad geographic range, and the legacy it will leave in Dublin as a result.

Lisa Bergin is a senior account manager with PSG Sponsorship

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