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Champions League Sponsorship Case Study

Page 2: Sponsorship and marketing strategies

A strategy is a carefully considered plan devised to help a company meet its objectives. A strategy can relate to the company's brand, its marketing or how it meets customers' needs.

Global Blue Chip companies like Ford have carefully planned brand strategies. Sponsorship is an effective way of meeting Ford's brand objectives. It permits a company to enhance the value of its brand through a positive association with an event or tournament.

Ford has two objectives in its sponsorship strategy. One is to reinforce and further build the Ford brand. The other is to achieve a good connection between Ford and its potential customers. Through its association with such a premium sporting event such as the UEFA Champions League, Ford is able to directly reach its target customer for nine months every year. Research has clearly shown that this sponsorship creates a positive view of Ford particularly amongst football fans who watch football on TV regularly.

The UEFA Champions League is the premium European club football competition. It was officially inaugurated in 1992. The UEFA Champions League features the top 32 European club teams with matches taking place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays across Europe. The current format came into play for the 2002-03 season. This involves a qualifying competition, one group stage involving 32 clubs and a final knockout stage involving 16 clubs down to two and a final, which is staged at a major European venue at the end.

Ford is one of six sponsors of the UEFA Champions League. Only official sponsors, i.e. those companies who purchase sponsorship rights from the Rights holder, such as UEFA, are able to associate with the competition. By purchasing these rights for the UEFA Champions League, Ford and other sponsors have the unique and exclusive opportunity to associate themselves with this event. This helps Ford drive a competitive advantage in its particular market.

The marketing 'mix' is the particular set of marketing tools used by a company. By 'mixing' these, a business can work to achieve marketing objectives. Four basic tools are usually available: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. These are also known as the 4Ps.

In 2015 PepsiCo became a partner of the UEFA Champions League (UCL), with rights across six of their portfolio brands (Pepsi, Lay͛s, Gatorade, Doritos, Lipton, 7Up). With a focused strategy to achieve their core objective of owning the social consumption moment in a competitive category, PepsiCo͛s #GameReady was born. Over 100 markets leveraged the asset across multiple channels, making it the first truly global sponsorship PepsiCo has ever executed. After the first season, PepsiCo has seen strong evidence that the partnership is having a real impact on the business, helping to build brand perceptions and drive short term sales.

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