Can It Still Be ‘Euro 2020’ in 2021? Sponsors Hope So

Written by on March 25, 2020

European soccer’s governing physique, UEFA, posted a message on its Twitter account on Friday night with a seemingly innocuous replace: Its European Championship — one other sporting casualty of the coronavirus outbreak — would nonetheless be often called Euro 2020, despite the fact that it has been postponed till 2021.

Inside minutes, nevertheless, the tweet was deleted and changed by a message saying it had been despatched in error.

The inadvertent message underscored how organizers are grappling with the myriad complexities of rescheduling a event that stands simply behind the Summer season Olympics soccer competitors and FIFA’s World Cup as one in every of sport’s most-watched occasions. This yr’s event was billed as the most important Euros but, and for the primary time it was to be a Pan-European spectacular, with the video games unfold throughout the size and breadth of the continent, as an alternative of in only one or two host international locations, to rejoice its 60th anniversary.

However when UEFA introduced final week that it was suspending the event, which was set to start out on June 12, by a yr, it raised an essential query for sponsors and industrial companions: Would it not nonetheless be known as Euro 2020, even in 2021?

Even earlier than a last resolution to postpone the Euros had been introduced, the group was making ready for the chance, together with on the branding entrance. Per week earlier than the announcement, attorneys for UEFA had registered the trademark Euro 2021 with patent workplaces for the European Union, Britain and the US.

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However with the occasion so shut, planning had been accomplished, tickets had been near being issued and, simply as essential, tens of millions of things of merchandise with the Euro 2020 branding had been able to hit the outlets. A Euro 2020 online game from Konami was only a month away from its launch. Promotions by Heineken and Coca-Cola had been authorized, and Adidas had began to supply its anniversary ball.

Coca-Cola, a longtime accomplice of UEFA, had began transport its first Euro 2020-branded packages to some markets two weeks earlier than the event was postponed, and a promotion with the maker of the event’s standard sticker books was underway in Switzerland.

Whereas a last resolution has not been made, a number of of UEFA’s industrial companions favor the event to maintain the Euro 2020 title, in keeping with folks aware of the matter who requested anonymity to debate non-public deliberations. Such a transfer could be much like one introduced by the Worldwide Olympic Committee this week when it introduced that the Olympic Video games postponed till subsequent yr would retain the name Tokyo 2020.

Some Euro 2020 merchandise is already on cabinets, making it a collectible for this sudden second, wherein a thriller virus has introduced sports activities to a halt. The favored collector playing cards and sticker albums for the event, produced by the Italian firm Panini, as an example, are on sale.

Tim Crow, a sports activities advertising marketing consultant based mostly in Britain whose previous purchasers embrace Coca-Cola and BMW, stated retaining the 2020 branding could be “infinitely preferable” than having to rename it for UEFA’s many companions.

“Anyone who has accomplished it is aware of that registering any form of trademark and licensing is a really costly and time-consuming train,” Crow stated. “To tear all that up and begin once more since you’ve postponed an occasion is among the belongings you don’t essentially should do.”

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola stated: “We stay up for working with UEFA to create a profitable occasion subsequent yr, and would respect the choice to proceed using the Euro 2020 marks to attenuate affect to supplies that had been already created.”

Whereas a few of UEFA’s sponsorship contracts run for a few years and canopy different occasions in its portfolio, some are particularly for the European Championship and had been set to terminate this yr. These, in keeping with the folks aware of the matter, at the moment are more likely to be prolonged for one more yr. UEFA’s contracts with broadcasters have already got a provision for a case wherein the event is postponed for as much as 13 months.

UEFA’s authorized division, which, like a lot of Europe, is working from residence, is poring over agreements and dealing to discover a resolution to an issue that till the final two months had not been envisaged by anybody concerned.

Man-Laurent Epstein, UEFA’s advertising director, declined to touch upon the specifics of the group’s conversations with its companions. However he stated no last resolution had been made in regards to the title for the event, and added that each one the stakeholders concerned must “share the ache.”

“We’re assessing the general image and taking all of the arguments into consideration,” he stated.

Konami, the online game maker, had deliberate to launch its Euro 2020 recreation on April 30. Producing it required months of labor creating licensing agreements with all of UEFA’s 55 nationwide associations, in addition to UEFA itself, and firms that manufacture the jerseys, like Adidas and Nike. A plan had additionally been in place to incorporate the Adidas-produced event ball in addition to particular model for the ultimate.

“We’re in ongoing dialogue with UEFA,” stated a Konami spokesman, who added that an announcement about what the event could be named was more likely to be made quickly. “It’s positively as much as UEFA what the event is known as.”

For corporations that make bodily, branded objects, the pause couldn’t have come at a worse time. Some had been on the cusp of executing plans that had been hatched so long as 18 months in the past, and beverage corporations like Coke and Heineken wouldn’t solely have labored on branding and promotion but in addition on shelving necessities for his or her clients, like main supermarkets.

“As a longstanding UEFA accomplice, we totally help the choice to postpone Euro 2020 till the summer season of 2021 and can work with UEFA on future plans,” Heineken stated in a press release.

Match-specific merchandise, just like the tens of millions of key chains, balls and T-shirts that had been going to hit the cabinets within the subsequent weeks, will now probably should be saved in warehouses.

However all of the campaigns and merchandise could not have the ability to be merely rolled out as initially designed after the hiatus. Every time soccer does return and the event could be performed, it’s clear that it is going to be in a distinct atmosphere than when it was abruptly halted. Match hosts and sponsors, Crow stated, will most likely wish to have in mind the shock a lot of the world has endured.

“I feel you would possibly see some sponsors eager to rethink their campaigns,” he stated.


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