Uefa seeking new ad partner to boost waning Champions League

Uefa is on the hunt for an ad agency to promote the Champions League following reports of under whelming audience figures for the competition since BT Sport acquired the exclusive broadcast rights.

The European football governing body has opened a pitch process for a new advertising partner and is understood to have approached a number of UK agencies.

While it is still unclear the role Uefa is looking for its new advertising partner to take on, the news comes after the end of BT Sport’s first season as exclusive broadcaster for the competition.

BT Sport’s £897m three-year contract for the rights effectively shut out ITV and Sky which subsequently resulted in a significant decline in viewing figures.

The 2015/16 tournament, which saw Real Madrid crowned champions for the 11th time, marked a poor season for Uefa with the average viewing figures for the group stages of the tournament peaking at just 200,000, a fraction of the 4.4 million average which ITV’s broadcasts generated last season.

In attempting to make the final of the Champions League more widely available and boost viewing figures BT Sport streamed the fixture for free on YouTube, attracting an audience of over 1.8 million.

The search for a new ad agency marks Uefa’s second advertising review this year. Last month, it sent out a brief to agencies to find ways of encouraging more women to play and watch the sport.

Uefa is also considering a shake up of the structure of the tournament itself amid concerns that a too predictable group stage has turned off viewers. Discussions surrounding the Champions League are expected to take place at a meeting in Nyon, Switzerland scheduled for December.

The Drum has reached out to Uefa for comment but had not received a response at the time of writing.

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