SBD/May 22, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

MasterCard Wants Earlier Start To Champions League Final To Reach Max Viewership

MasterCard wants an earlier game time to reach a larger global audience
Champions League sponsor MasterCard in the future “wants an earlier kickoff time for the final to maximize the game’s global viewership,” according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG NEWS. UEFA has said that 150 million viewers “globally tune in to the final,” which this year started at 2:45pm ET. It is “the most-watched annual sporting event" globally, ahead of even the Super Bowl. MasterCard President of Strategic Partnerships & Market Development for Europe Hany Fam said that he will “speak to UEFA about the possibility of an earlier kickoff to meet demand in Asia, a region where the competition is followed by millions.” However, UEFA Events SA CEO David Taylor said that sponsors "seeking an earlier kickoff are likely to be disappointed.” Taylor: “I don’t think we would be organizing European football specifically for an Asian audience. It’s European football first and foremost.” Fam said that regardless of when the game begins, MasterCard "will keep renewing its relationship with UEFA.” The credit card company's current deal runs through ’15, and Fam said, “This is a nine-month event, not two weeks or three weeks like other sporting events. It’s a nine-month opportunity and that’s fantastic for any sponsor” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/21).

VIEWERSHIP DROP ON ITV: MARKETING magazine’s Maisie McCabe reported during ITV1’s four-and-a-half hours of coverage for Saturday's Chelsea-Bayern Munich match, the channel averaged 6.47 million viewers between 7:00-11:30pm “across the standard and high definition channels” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 5/21). The GUARDIAN’s John Plunkett noted a “five-minute peak audience of 10.6 million saw Didier Drogba seal the Blues’ victory over Bayern Munich with the last kick of the match late on Saturday night.” Last year’s Champions League final, in which Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley, averaged 7.9 million viewers (GUARDIAN, 5/21).
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