For the Future of Football: UEFA Brand Analysis

The postponed UEFA Euro 2020 is finally starting! Today is the first match; Turkey versus Italy. UEFA is one of six continental confederations of FIFA, responsible for football, futsal, and beach soccer in Europe. This blog post analyzes the UEFA brand and shortly discusses the UEFA Champions League.

Fast facts 

  • Name: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
  • Type: Football organization
  • Parent company: FIFA
  • Origin: Basel, Switzerland
  • Founding date: 15 June, 1954
  • Headquarters: Nyon, Switzerland
  • Key people: Aleksander Čeferin (president) and Karl-Erik Nilsson (first vice-president)
  • Key stakeholders: national associations, leagues, clubs, players, football fans
  • Revenue: €3.04 billion in 2019/20
  • Brand design company: DesignStudio (Champions League rebrand)
  • Region served: Europe

Branding strategies

UEFA regularly updates their strategy, with the current one being active for the years 2019-2024. It’s called “Together for the Future of Football” and their mission is “to ensure football is the most played, trusted, competitive, engaging and responsible sport.” This phrase also includes their core values. They want to keep the game enjoyable and sustainable for all fans and players, and for future generations to come.

Besides changing strategies, UEFA redesigns the brand identities of its Leagues every couple of seasons. The UEFA Champions League, the most prestigious football tournament in Europe, revealed a new brand identity for 2018-2021. The visual identity focuses on the “starball”, which was created back in 1991 when it was branded for the first time. The brand identity is meant to strengthen the future of football, aligning with their mission.

These brand and strategy refreshes are an important part of the UEFA. Strong brands can develop emotional bonds and attract more sponsors. In addition, UEFA has expressed their thoughts on the role of branding. “Branding is no longer simply a case of adorning a product or a service with a logo. Branding is integrated strategic thinking that defines what a product or service stands for, why it exists and what it will do for its consumers. A well-crafted brand is built from inside out, with the strategy being manifested externally.

Brand opportunities and threats

With the UEFA Champions League already being the largest club football competition in the world, UEFA should focus on making it the “best of the best on the ultimate stage.” They bring the greatest teams in Europe together, but perhaps it can be considered that they allow some non-European teams to participate. It can help increase brand equity and stand out next to growing non-European competitors like MLS and Copa Libertadores.

Lastly, the UEFA had a peculiar threat recently. The European Super League, founded two months ago, was supposedly organized to either rival or replace the UEFA Champions League. UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin threatened to ban breakaway clubs from all competitions, even next year’s World Cup. They should thus always be aware of its surroundings.

Conclusion

Constantly changing brand identities is always a risk, but UEFA has never failed. They have shown a great understanding of branding and know what the fans want to see. They clearly put a lot of effort and care into it.

Are you watching the UEFA Euro 2020 too? Who do you think will win?

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