European Football Championship 2020/2021 and The (Chinese) Advertising

European Football Championship 2020/2021 and The (Chinese) Advertising

During the 2020 European Football Championship matches, which got postponed to 2021 due to the Corona pandemic, advertisements from many Chinese companies were visible on the advertising boards. That raised wh-questions for many people: Who or what is behind this? Why do Chinese companies advertise in the European Championship?

We will show you why companies, in general, use the opportunity of broad advertising and why Chinese characters got retained.

European Football Championship and the advertising boards

After the tournament “European Cup of Nations” in 1960 and 1964, the competition was officially announced as the European Football Championship in 1966 by UEFA (founded in 1958). Over time, the boards improved visually and technically, so they got used for advertising purposes for a long time. In 1972, for example, by Coca-Cola. Advertising by Chinese companies has never been seen so often on the boards as in this year’s European soccer championship matches. But who or what is behind it?

Official sponsors and licensees of UEFA EURO 2020

Official sponsors of UEFA’s national soccer teams listed on UEFA’s website include Alipay, Booking.com, FedEx, Gazprom, Hisense, and VW. Official sponsors of UEFA EURO 2020 including Coca-Cola, Heineken, QATAR Airways, Lieferando, TikTok, and VIVO. Official licensees are Adidas, Hublot, IMG, KONAMI, and PANINI. All these companies are on the UEFA website as sponsors or licensees. Since sponsors and the official licensees are given preferential treatment to a certain extent (e.g., promoting products while using the logo), it is not surprising that these companies’ brands get displayed on the advertising boards. But what makes advertising during the games so unique?

Advertising during the European Football Championship

Companies that advertise their products in the UEFA EURO 2020 hope to achieve higher brand awareness utilizing targeted branding methods. Companies with a public presence with their brands or logos will be seen millions of times, searched for in search engines such as Google, and products from the brands will be used or purchased; in other words, the companies will gain new customers. That also benefits the customer journey; after all, people like to remember when their team scores a goal – while they noticed TikTok in the background.

Thus, advertising during the European Championship in soccer has an incredible added value for customers and entrepreneurs. In the case of TikTok, we should rather say “for users and platform.

Chinese advertising on the boards

In 2016, Hisense was the first Chinese sponsor at UEFA’s European Football Championships. So, Hisense is a pioneer for other companies from China regarding appearance in Europe. While we do not know how effective (e.g., in sales) Hisense’s promotion was in 2016, regardless, the company was present in a new market. Other companies such as Alipay, TikTok, and VIVO jumped on the bandwagon for EURO 2020.

Companies from China also often have image problems since many people associate products from China – in summary – with “cheap products” and consider Western products to be of higher quality, or fears arise that the companies are close to the state. By partnering with UEFA, the companies show that they are recognized, official companies, just like UEFA’s other partners. The companies from China may hope this will increase trust from customers (both in China and market-expanding in Europe). Some advertisements probably remained in Chinese characters, for the people from China to understand who’s advertising. After all, according to sueddeutsche.de, around 56 million people from China watched the European Championship final in 2016, and interest from China is not flattening out.

Conclusion

More important than the origin of the advertising is that viewers create an association with the brand. That was not necessarily the case with some displayed brands during the European Football Championships 2020/2021. However, especially the Chinese entrepreneurs’ advertisements gained attention, which will affect the brand awareness. We wish all partners of UEFA EURO 2020 every success!

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