Chinese brands among top sponsors at Euro 2024 tournament
Published: Jun 18, 2024 10:16 PM
Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

More Chinese brands are stepping onto the sponsorship field by rolling out and promoting their products during this year's UEFA European Championship, or Euro 2024, which runs from June 14 to July 14 in Germany. 

As Chinese companies launch their largest advertising and marketing campaign at the tournament, they account for more than one-third of the top-tier sponsors for Euro 2024, making China one of the largest contributors to sponsorship for the high-profile soccer tournament.

Five out of 13 of Euro 2024's official global sponsors are from China - EV producer BYD, financial technology company Ant Group, cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress, smartphone giant Vivo and TV manufacturer Hisense. 

These companies are likely to lean on their affiliation with the tournament to expand into new overseas markets and strengthen their presence in existing ones. The success rates of such plans appear high, based on the 83 percent jump in the overseas revenue of Hisense after the TV maker became a sponsor of the tournament in 2016, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday.

Sponsoring Euro 2024 is a strategic move for these companies as it enables them to reach new consumers, build their brand image and present themselves as major players in the global marketplace and true international players on par with brands from the US and Europe, analysts said.

Chinese companies, particularly those excelling in cutting-edge industries such as digital payments, cross-border e-commerce, smartphones and new-energy vehicles, are looking to increase their brand popularity and expand their business in overseas markets.

As part of its promotional campaign, Alibaba Group's cross-border marketplace AliExpress welcomed former professional footballer David Beckham as a global ambassador in May. Beckham is the face of the platform's "Score More with AliExpress" campaign, which has a range of deals and prizes on offer to celebrate this summer's Euro 2024, according to information the company shared with the Global Times on Tuesday.

"We are delighted and proud to be an official partner of UEFA Euro 2024. This prestigious event will enable us to showcase our latest advances in electric vehicles to a far-reaching audience," BYD said on its website.

"By taking advantage of exposure and opportunities as top sponsors and suppliers to the tournament, these Chinese companies are looking to boost sales in both the European and global markets and expecting to remain competitive against local producers," Chen Shaofeng, a deputy president of the Institute for Cultural Industries under Peking University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Chinese companies still have relatively low market shares in Europe, so there is a lot of room for growth, Chen said, and establishing a partnership with the top European soccer tournament is a good chance to help them to go global. It also allows them to demonstrate their technological capabilities and product excellence to more members of the global audience.

For example, Alipay+, a cross-border mobile payment and digitalization technology solution operated by Ant International, aims to provide convenient mobile payment technology to sports fans all around the world. People can use their Alipay+ payment partner apps from home at most host stadiums by scanning the blue Alipay+ QR code on the field or on the TV screens.

More Chinese technological advances are in the spotlight. Hisense was selected as the official screen provider for video assistant referee, a technology in football that uses video footage and a team of referees to review and assist the on-field referee's decisions, ensuring accuracy and fairness at key moments.

The company said on its website that it will continue to innovate with hard tech and provide state-of-the-art screen solutions for the tournament. 

The UEFA's marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said the event is expected to achieve a 25 percent increase in revenue compared with the previous edition in 2020, and the cumulative global audience for Euro 2024 could surpass 5 billion, according to a global provider of sports market intelligence, Sportcal.