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Heineken renews Champions League sponsorship

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Heineken has agreed a three-year renewal of its global sponsorship deal with the Uefa Champions League, SportBusiness can exclusively reveal.

As previously reported, the firm was understood to be in advanced negotiations with the European governing body and its exclusive sponsorship sales agency Team Marketing, with fellow current Champions League sponsor Mastercard also on the cusp of renewing.

The Dutch brewer is now understood to have signed the contract with Uefa and an official announcement about the extension is expected soon. It would become the second brand to renew its Champions League ‘Global Sponsor’ rights after PepsiCo announced a renewal in July, also exclusively reported by SportBusiness.

The agreement covers the next Champions League cycle from 2024-25 to 2026-27 and means the brewing company will have had an association with the competition in some shape or form since 1994.

The company’s Amstel brand sponsored the tournament from that point until the main Heineken brand took over the rights in 2005. The Uefa competition, previously known as the European Cup, was rebranded and reformatted as the Champions League for the 1992-93 season.

It remains to be seen if Heineken will also renew the sponsorship deal between its zero-alcohol Heineken 0.0 brand and Uefa’s second-tier club competition, the Europa League, which is combined as a package with the third-tier Europa Conference League.

Heineken was also a Euro 2020 sponsor, the second tier of the federation’s national team football programme, and is a top-tier Uefa Women’s Football Partner, the uppermost tier in its women’s football sponsorship programme. Uefa is currently in the market for Euro 2024 sponsors while the Women’s Football Partner deal is not due to expire until 2025.

Team Marketing has the remit to sell the global sponsorship rights to all Uefa club competitions for the next cycle while CAA Eleven is the exclusive sponsorship sales agency for national team football. TRM Partners, the sponsorship sales agency owned by Two Circles, supports the confederation’s search for sponsors for its women’s football programme.

Flat fee
SportBusiness understands Heineken is paying a similar sum on a per-annum basis to its previous three-year deal with the competition.

The brand is known to have been one of the highest-paying brands in the Champions League sponsorship portfolio and sources said the flat fee ought to be seen as a course correction to bring its deal closer into line with other sponsors.

Team Marketing is facing increased revenue targets for the Champions League based on the heightened media value of the competition as format changes expand its total number of matches and teams taking part.

To help meet the targets, Uefa’s Champions League sponsorship offering for the next cycle will include one additional top-tier Global Sponsor position and a new secondary ‘supplier-style’ tier, designed to appeal to technology brands or companies who lack the financial clout to take a top-tier package.

Uefa and Team are aware that affordability is becoming an issue for some brands, so part of the thinking behind the new slots is that they will spread the burden of meeting the new sponsorship revenue targets.

Set against this, sister title SportBusiness Sponsorship reported PepsiCo’s deal to be worth around 20 per cent more than its agreement in the last three-year cycle. The uplift is partly explained by the company securing an enhanced package of rights that includes the player hydration rights and pitch-side exposure for its Gatorade brand.

Sources said the company was keenly aware of interest from Coca-Cola in sponsoring the Champions League, with one suggesting the rival brand had come closer than ever to snatching the rights from PepsiCo. But SportBusiness Sponsorship has been unable to determine exactly how advanced discussions got with the competitor.

There is also understood to be an uplift in Mastercard’s renewal, which is thought to have been agreed in principle and is now at the contracting phase.

In April it was revealed Uefa had also accepted three offers from brands in relation to its Europa League and Europa Conference League packages but the identities of the companies in question has yet to be revealed.

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Victor Osimhen, Asisat Oshoala, Finidi George, Sanwo-Olu Emerge Winners at 10th Nigeria Pitch Awards

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Victor Osimhen, Napoli FC and Super Eagles forward sensation made history as he starves off competition from teammate, Victor Boniface, Robert Mizo of Bayelsa United and Emeka Obiora of Enyimba International FC to emerge the Striker of the Year and King of the Pitch for the third straight year, making him the first player to achieve this feat on the platform of the prestigious Nigeria Pitch Awards.

Asisat Oshoala, the African Football Queen was voted the Queen of the Pitch ahead of Rasheedat Ajibade of Atlético de Madrid Femenino and Chiamaka Nnadozi, the Paris FC Goalkeeper.

The Award Ceremony began with a very colourful, energetic and exciting dance from the Akwabio Cultural Group. Leading the long list of dignitaries were Ibrahim Musa Gusau, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, the General Secretary of the Federation, CP Patrick Ateyero, the CP Sports of the Nigeria Police Force who was standing in for the Inspector-General of Police, Nigerian Ex-international and the 1997 CAF African Footballer of the Year, Victor Ikpeba, CP Waheed Ayilara, Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Mr Oluwadare Ojelade, a Director in SIAO Partners, Finidi George and the entire technical crew, all members of the Super Eagles present in Uyo, representives of MTN Nigeria, GTI and other nominees.

The NFF President reiterated the Federation’s support for the Nigerian Pitch Awards while hailing organizers for the transparency and credibility displayed in the award process. Speaking on Nigeria’s 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualification on the heels of the Nigeria – South Africa qualifier match played on the 7th June at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Ibrahim Gusau, while appealing for support and prayers, assured Nigerians of the determination of the Federation and the players to secure a World Cup slot.

Speaking on the award process, Mr Oluwadare, the SIAO representative, stated that voting for the 2023 edition of the Nigeria Pitch Awards commenced on Monday 11th December 2023 and closed on Friday 19th January 2024. ‘The results’, he noted, ‘passed through 3 levels of scrutiny: They were collated and reviewed by a team set up specifically to handle this process … A second level of verification was done by another independent unit and’ thirdly ‘Quality Control’s Arm of the firm completes the rigorous but exciting exercise’.

Organizers honoured IGP Kayode Egbetokun, the Inspector-General of Police who pioneered the introduction of football as an event in the finals of the 14th BIPOGA in Ibadan in February 2024. Also honoured were John Momoh, Chairman and CEO of Channels for the Channels Kids Cup initiative and Ibrahim Gusua, the NFF President.

In the Goalkeeper of the Year category, Ojo Olorunleke emerged winner ahead of Amas Obasogie of Bendel Insurance FC and Kayode Bankole of Remo Stars FC.

Ola Aina, Nottingham Forest FC and Super Eagles left full back was voted Defender of the Year to beat his Super Eagles teammates Calvin Bassey of Fulham FC who won it last year and Bright Osayi-Samuel, Fenerbahçe SK.

Alex Iwobi, in form Fulham FC midfielder emerged Midfielder of the Year ahead of Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester City FC defensive midfielder and Al Hassan Yusuf of Royal Antwerp FC.

Super Eagles Manager was voted the Coach of the Year 2023 for his exploits while he was Coach of Enyimba International FC where he led the team to finish top of the NPFL league.

MTN Nigeria was voted Best Corporate Sponsor of Football 2023 as the brand saw off competition from GTI Financial and Nigeria’s sports betting giant, Bet9ja.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State was voted the Football Friendly Governor of the Year while Lagos State emerged the State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme in the country in 2023.

The highly competitive Sam Okwaraji Award for commitment to the development of Nigerian football for 2023 went to Hon. Kunle Soname, the chairman of Remo Stars.

 

Full Result

 

Goalkeeper of the Year

Ojo Olorunleke – Enyimba FC

 

Defender of the Year

Ola Aina – Nottingham Forest FC –

 

Midfielder of the Year

Alex Iwobi – Fulham FC

 

Striker of the Year

Victor Osimhen – Napoli FC

 

Queen of the Pitch

Asisat Oshoala – Bay FC

 

King of the Pitch

Victor Osimhen – Napoli FC

 

Team of the Year

Enyimba International FC

 

Coach of the Year

Finidi George – Enyimba FC

 

Sam Okwaraji Award

Kunle Soname – Chairman, Remo Stars

 

State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme

Lagos State

 

Football Pitch of the Year

Godswill Akpabio Int’l Stadium

 

Football Friendly Governor of the Year

His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu – Lagos State

 

Best Corporate Sponsor of Football Award

MTN Nigeria

 

Sportsmanship Award

Hon. Kunle Soname – Chairman, Remo Stars FC

 

Football Journalist of the Year – Print

Johnny Edward – Punch Newspapers

 

Football Journalist of the Year – Tv

Mozez Praiz – Supersport

 

Football Journalist of the Year – Radio

Anthony Bekederemo – Brila 88.9 FM

 

Football Journalist of the Year – Online

Tobi Adepoju – Oganla Media

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NLO Hits Jackpot, Set To Sign Multi-Million Naira Sponsorship Deal

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The Nationwide League One (NLO) is set to sign its largest sponsorship deal worth millions of naira and also announce a partnership with two foreign service providers.

The four (4) year sponsorship agreement breaks records and represents a major step forward for the development of grassroots football in Nigeria.

NLO Chairman and former Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Silas Agara, shared further information about the agreement with.

“We are pleased with the various brands that have shown interest in the NLO in recent months as we want the NLO to become a global phenomenon as the most successful grassroots football league in Africa, as called for by the President of the NFF, Ibrahim Musa Gusau

“One of our partners is a lottery company licensed by the Nigerian Lottery Commission; will be the LO title sponsor. We have signed a sponsorship agreement with a term of four years. And we will reveal them on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

Twenty-four hours later, exactly on Friday, March 15, the NLO will present four of its possible partners.

“One of them is a service provider: a sports tracking platform based in Croatia with more than 25 million monthly active users worldwide. This is very good for our clubs. They have also directed the NLO to help them integrate other leagues in Nigeria.

“This is not about any monetary value, but about sharing the benefits of the development of our league and we have agreed to work with them.”

However, there is another IT company that has agreed to develop websites for all NLO clubs. They will also open social media channels for all clubs.

“They will train club officials to manage the websites and then market the website and social media so that clubs can generate funds to support their clubs.”

“The NLO sees this as a good avenue for club development and another source of income for NLO clubs.”

Agara further hinted: “Two more technical partners will join NLO as they will help facilitate talent discovery through the use of technology.

“The country’s third-tier national football league sees them as a development partner, and we have agreed to give them access to our data. The benefits for NLO are the revenue share from selling the data, we have a device that allows us to monitor what we see.”

In order to expand its reach to a wider audience and passionate fans of the league, NLO has in a separate development launched its two (2) channels on Blend TV.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Manchester United national stadium plan backed

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A vision for a new Manchester United ground that could double as a ‘Wembley of the North’ has been welcomed by council chiefs.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a co-owner of the club, has outlined his preference to replace Old Trafford with a ground that could be used as a national venue.

Trafford Council welcomed the proposal as part of its plans to regenerate the wider Trafford Wharf area.

But councillor Liz Patel said it would be up the club to fund a new stadium.

The club’s plans are a key element of Trafford Council’s Wharfside Development plans, which will go out to public consultation next week.

New stadium developments at Tottenham, Everton, and Manchester City have been highlighted by the council as good examples of how to regenerate an area and keep fans there for longer on match days.

Sir Jim told BBC sports editor Dan Roan that the 74,310-capacity Old Trafford had become “tired and in need of refurbishment”.

He said any plan to build a new stadium that could also be used as a national ground would require a “conversation” with the government about using taxpayer funds.

‘Great ambition’

Ms Patel, who is leading the council’s redevelopment plans, said a ‘Wembley of the North’ proposal “would be wonderful”.

“That is great ambition from Jim Ratcliffe and these plans match that in terms of the setting and the future of the area,” she said.

A new stadium built on adjacent land could cost around £2bn.

Ms Patel said the council would look for investment for the Wharfside plans, and “saw a role” for the council in “leading, guiding and securing” the funding.

“How United get together the finances for their own stadium refurbishment would be separate,” she said.

At a meeting of the council’s executive on Monday night, Ms Patel earned cross-party support for the regeneration plans, which could take up to 20 years realise.

She said Trafford Council had worked with Manchester United’s planning team to design improvements in the area for fans as part of the masterplan.

“We want to create a much more family-friendly space where people want to stay longer and have processional routes so it’s a lot safer for fans arriving on foot from tram stops or walking out from the city centre – as sometimes happens in European matches.”

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