NYON/BAKU: UEFA has concluded its second major commercial partnership this month with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR signing up to sponsor all its national team competitions, including France’s staging of Euro 2016.
As part of the partnership, SOCAR will be included in the commercial programme for this summer’s European Under-21 Championship and Women’s Euro final tournaments in Israel and Sweden respectively.
SOCAR becomes an official sponsor of Euro 2016, and acquires rights in connection with the European Qualifiers, which run from 2014 to 2017, and relate to the qualification matches for Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
SOCAR also becomes an official sponsor of the 2016 European Under-17 Championship, which will take place in its home country. The Azeri company becomes the seventh global partner for Euro 2016, following on from the agreements with Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s, Hyundai/Kia, Continental and Carlsberg.
SOCAR’s vice-president of marketing and investments, Elshad Nasirov, said: “We are thrilled to be involved with this forward-thinking project, and SOCAR takes great pride in its association with the world of sport.
“Sponsorships across sport are a very significant point for us, and for SOCAR to be associated with such a large-scale and exciting competition as the 2016 UEFA European Football Championship is very important.
“This sponsorship provides us with a unique platform to raise the international profile of SOCAR, and reflects our vision of establishing and building a premium brand in the energy sector.”
The SOCAR deal comes after Carlsberg this month extended its long-running sponsorship agreement for UEFA’s national team competitions in a deal that saw it become the first partner to endorse the new centralised marketing programme of European football’s governing body.
Qualification games for Euro 2016 are set to be the first featured under UEFA’s ‘Week of Football’ initiative, which would see international matches played on six consecutive days.
UEFA in October formalised a tie-up with CAA Eleven, which secured a deal to distribute a new centralised package of European national team rights, in the belief that the new model would help football’s European governing body to replicate the success of the continent’s top leagues. CAA’s deal runs from 2014-18 and covers the qualification process for Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
CAA is managing the broadcasting, sponsorship and licensing rights for all of the games in the package on behalf of UEFA.
Commenting on the SOCAR announcement, the marketing director of UEFA Events SA, Guy-Laurent Epstein, said: “This comprehensive sponsorship platform will offer SOCAR a unique opportunity to promote their brand and drive engagement with their target audience.
“SOCAR’s aim to become a global energy company, and our collaboration, will bring new opportunities for the promotion of the very best of European national team football to a larger and wider group of fans.”
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