The UEFA Champions League is a European football tournament that is held every year across Europe. With over 300 million television viewers, the league’s final is the most watched annual sporting event worldwide. For an event of this magnitude, the stakes for everyone involved are very high (appendix 1). This essay includes a short description of the tournament along with an overview of the stakeholders, followed by an analysis of one of the sponsors, Heineken.
UEFA has been organizing the Champions league since 1955, although it changed format in 1992. Since 1992, the competition is divided into several parts; it begins in mid-July with three knockout-qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 10 surviving teams join 22 already seeded teams in the group stage, in which there are eight groups with four teams each. The eight group winners and eight runners-up enter the final knockout phase, which ends with the final match in May. There is no particular host country as most of the games held throughout the tournament are played in either one of the contenders’ countries. However, it is decided beforehand which city is hosting the next Champions League final. In 2012, it took place at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
Overview of the stakeholders:
The main stakeholders are the different football clubs taking part in this event. The participants may vary from one year to another, but there are very precise criteria to be part of this event; first of all, the teams have to be part of the European continental geographic area (appendix 3). Secondly, to ensure quality football, the contenders have to be at least part of the top four teams of their respective national leagues. Furthermore, the ratio of teams selected per nation is not solely based on national league success; only the top team of every national league has a guaranteed spot as one of the 22 teams already qualified for the group stage. The football clubs are rewarded according to their performances, starting by 2.1 million euros for each team in the play off round, up to 9 million euros for winning the final (appendix 1). On an institutional level, the European Club Association (EAC) represents the European clubs’ interests. The football players also benefit from the UEFA Champions league, they do not get remunerations like their clubs but they get an opportunity to showcase their talent and possibly increase their own worth as football players. It is also a dream for any footballer to win the Champions League’s Trophy. As a counterpart, the talented players bring quality football matches to the tournament, making it the international phenomenon that it is today. Sponsors are always important stakeholders in any sporting event, in this case it is regulated that only eight companies are allowed to sponsor the event. The main sponsors are Ford, Gazprom, Heineken, Mastercard, Sony Europe, UniCredit along with two secondary sponsors, Adidas and Konami (Pro Evolution Soccer) (appendix 2). Heineken and its relationship with the UEFA Champions League will further be analyzed in this essay. There are also many stakeholders associated with UEFA, the organizers of the tournament. First of all, they maintain steady relations with the European Union, they are members of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) of the council of Europe. The EPAS is used as a platform for communication and exchange between sport associations and governments as well as a tool for the promotion of good governance in sports. UEFA is also associated with FIFPro Division Europe, which is the European association of national player trade unions. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2007, granting each other legitimacy over European football; UEFA being the main governing body at all levels for football associations and the FIFPro Division Europe officially becoming the main umbrella...