Ireland in action against Croatia in their opening Euro 2012 match in Poland, June 10. (Photo/Xinhua)
Despite the quality of play on show at the UEFA European Football Championship 2012 — some say higher than the World Cup — the tournament has not garnered any sponsorship from Chinese enterprises, the Shanghai-based First Financial Daily reported.
"If I give you 200 million yuan (US$31.4 million), could you display our enterprise's logo on the rolling bulletin board on the playing field for a few minutes?" These were the kinds of questions asked by Chinese enterprises a day before the tournament began on Friday, on phone calls to Feng Tao, the CEO of Shankai Sports International and authorized sub-agent of Euro 2012 in China.
The tournament is expected to attract around 4.5 billion viewers during its 3-week duration. Despite the chance for massive exposure, Feng said that this year the event had few links with Chinese enterprises.
While Euro 2012 is an exclusively European tournament and as such lacks the appeal or scope of the World Cup or the Olympic Games, every game in the tournament is expected to attract about 150 million television viewers in China, with the final likely to be watched by 250 million. The report said Chinese fans account for a large portion of the tournament's audience.
The European championships are only a regional sporting event and have little to do with China, or so Liu Xian, a PR official at a Chinese sporting-goods company, told the newspaper. In addition, the time difference has also made Chinese companies unwilling to advertise — the tournament is being held in Poland and Ukraine and matches kick off at midnight or in the early hours of the morning, Beijing Time.
All five Chinese sportswear and sports equipment companies covered in the report expressed views similar to Liu, with none of them sponsoring the games or the teams and associations playing.
The investments of Chinese enterprises in Europe have tripled since 2010, to about US$10 billion in 2011, another survey reports.
Usually, sponsorship contracts for major international events are signed 2-4 years before they take place. This year, the 31 games of Euro 2012 have earned the European governing body UEFA at least US$1.6 billion in sponsorships and television broadcast revenues — about US$51.61 million from each game. In 2010, the associations earned US$3.6 billion in sponsorships and television broadcast revenues from the World Cup, which included 64 games — about US$56.25 million in revenues from each game.
The newspaper said that despite Chinese enterprises' lack of interest in sponsoring Euro 2012, about 50 Chinese companies had reserved quotas to receive guests at the games. Receiving one guest costs about 90,000 yuan (US$14,130).