The Big Eight: Sponsors Behind The Most Popular Football Competition

UEFA Champions League is the most popular and the most significant annual club football competition in the world. The final match of this prestigious tournament is one of the world’s most widely viewed television events and is the most watched annual sporting event, surpassing even the mighty Super Bowl.

With everything being said, this competition is clearly very attractive to numerous sponsors. In this article, we took a closer look at the biggest UEFA Champions League official sponsors.

There are 8 big official sponsors behind this tournament: UniCredit, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, MasterCard, PepsiCo, Nissan, Gazprom, Heineken and Adidas.

“The UEFA Champions League sponsorship is the largest activation platform for the Heineken brand. In our eight-year partnership, research has shown that Heineken awareness has grown to 60% among UEFA Champions League fans.”Hans Erik Tuijt, Global Activation Director at Heineken

Year UEFA started to cooperate with MasterCard

“What we’re trying to do is bring together consumers having experiences rather than just buying things, because we feel experiences matter a lot in life. That’s how we can connect, and make people remember that MasterCard connected them to the Champions League.” – Ann Cairns, MasterCard’s president of international markets


MasterCard is part of this story for more than 20 years and is probably the most recognizable sponsor of UEFA Champions Leaguer. Their renewed agreement also includes UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Women’s Champions League final and the UEFA Youth League finals. MasterCard continued its role as the Official Provider of UEFA Champions League player mascots.

A technology company in the global payments industry and UEFA are partners since 1994.


After six years of loyalty, UniCredit became official bank of UEFA club competitions for the cycle 2015 – 2018. With this deal, Unicredit extended the sponsorship to all six UEFA club competitions (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Women’s Champions League, UEFA Futsal Cup finals and the UEFA Youth League).

One of Europe’s leading commercial banks with this agreement acquired the unique and exclusive right to have to have five kids on the pitch to accompany the referees before each match of UEFA Champions League. They will continue with Trophy Tour UEFA Champions League and bank acquired the right to initiate Trophy Tour UEFA Europa League if the final is held on one of the Unicredit’s main markets.

Last year UniCredit announced that they generated an average return on comparable costs of 225% after five sponsorship seasons.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE)

This is another big official sponsor for UEFA Champions League. The Japanese electronics giant is using this deal to mainly promote its PlayStation console and Sony Mobile Xperia brand. The last agreement between these two sides also included sponsorship of the Uefa Women’s Champions League Final, the Uefa Youth League Finals Uefa Super Cup matches.

This agreement came shortly after Sony finished its long-running association with Fifa.


Besides its role as the officials sponsor of UEFA Champions Leagues, German multinational corporation has its hands in numerous deals with football clubs and national teams.

This deal with Adidas covers the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League and the Uefa Super Cup. Furthermore, Adidas will continue to supply match balls for the tournaments. Official supplier partner will offer Champions League and Europa League branded products, install bespoke Champions League areas in all Adidas retail stores and provide bespoke ball designs for the finals of both competitions.


Last year UEFA confirmed this global partnership. Worldwide food and beverage leader signed as the official partner for the 2015-2018 cycle. Part of this deal is UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Women’s Champions League final and UEFA Youth League finals.

With this sponsorship, PepsiCo will put Walkers, Pepsi MAX and Gatorade brands at the forefront of this agreement, but will also include Lipton, 7Up and Doritos brands.

“Gazprom is not only the largest gas company in the world but is also one of those most passionate about football. We have a long history of supporting football clubs in Russia and Europe. Now we have joined the UEFA Champions League – the leading European club football competition. I am sure this cooperation will improve Gazprom’s reputation and advance our brand awareness to a fundamentally new level on the global scale.”Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom


One of the world’s biggest brewers is sponsoring this European football competition since 2005. IMR, sports research firm, estimated that the last sponsorship cost the Dutch company approximately €62m per year and that this one is even bigger.

With the latest agreement, Heineken won the rights to exclusive UEFA Champions League content, such as back stadium tour and UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by Heineken. This is the biggest sponsorship for this brand and is active in 220 markets across the globe. The brand is not sponsoring individual teams within the competition because they believe that this way will reach more fans.


The Russian energy giant has been the official sponsor UEFA Champions league since 2012. Unlike Heineken, Gazprom is sponsoring individual teams such as Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg FC, Germany’s Schalke 04 FC and Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda (Red Star).

Alexey Miller, one of the most recognizable faces of Gazprom described this company “not only as the largest gas company in the world, but also one of those most passionate about football.”


The official global automotive sponsor of this prestigious competition set an agreement with UEFA back in the first half of 2014. With this deal, Nissan replaced Ford, which cut its 22 years of partnership with this sports event.

The Japanese carmaker is hoping that this cooperation will help it in getting more recognition on European soil. This is its largest ever sponsorship deal. Some sources say that this deal is worth approximately €53m.


The history has shown that UEFA prefers loyal sponsors and if, for some reason, they lose one, the other will appear instantly. Each sponsor included in this story recognized gigantic potential and opportunities which lay in this competition.

With millions of fans and viewers from all around the world and the final match as the most viewed sporting event, UEFA Champions league is offering a greater number of media appearances that can significantly strengthen your brand identity. With that being said, all you need is a smart and right strategy to get the best out of its global potential.

Although most of the financial terms are kept as a secret, UEFA might easily be the biggest sponsorship earner on the planet and, obviously, there is a valid reason why this might be true.

Nikola Popović

Nikola Popović

Overtime Sports Marketing

If you have any questions about sports marketing, feel free to contact me at

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