London-based Chelsea won the tournament for the first timetwo days ago when it beat four-time champion Bayern Munich 4-3on penalty kicks in the German team’s own Allianz Arena afterthe teams were tied 1-1 after extra time.
European soccer’s governing body UEFA states 150 millionviewers globally tune in to the final, which this year startedat 8:45 p.m. in Germany. It’s the most-watched annual sportingevent, ahead of the National Football League’s Super Bowl.
“We are always working with each other to maximize thebenefit and to maximize the impact of this program,” Fam saidin a May 18 interview in Munich ahead of the publication of asponsored study into fan behavior. “So really there’s verylittle that’s off the table in terms of how we engage and whatwe engage around.”
Asked if this could specifically mean an earlier begin toEuropean club soccer’s championship match, which two years agomoved from Wednesday to Saturday, Fam said, “Maybe.”
Sponsors seeking an earlier kickoff are likely to bedisappointed, stated David Taylor, chief executive of UEFA EventsSA. Taylor took over the post after working as general secretaryin 2009 when UEFA spun off its commercial arm because of thegrowth in the business.
Fam stated die-hard supporters in Asia set their alarms forthe middle of the night to watch the biggest European soccergames. Taylor stated the Champions League final would have to beswitched to a lunchtime begin to maximize Asian viewership.
“That’s not our main objective,” Taylor said.
Regardless of when the final begins, MasterCard will keeprenewing its relationship with UEFA, which currently runsthrough 2015, Fam said.
About 10 years ago, the credit card company lost itssponsorship of soccer’s World Cup following competition withVisa Inc. (V) (V) that ended with world governing body FIFA payingmillions of dollars to MasterCard. Fam stated the Champions Leagueis the ideal soccer property for MasterCard, which will alsosponsor European Championship matches in Poland next month.
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