Euro 96 What’s in it for you?

As UK advertisers scramble to secure deals for Euro ’96, Richard Cook assesses how the terrestrial TV schedule, and the match results, will affect them

As UK advertisers scramble to secure deals for Euro ’96, Richard Cook

assesses how the terrestrial TV schedule, and the match results, will

affect them

First the numbers. When, at about nine o’clock in the final moments of a

gently sun-dappled June evening, Gary McAllister springs lightly up the

Wembley steps to collect the European Championship trophy - a Scotland

fan’s commemorative scarf draped around his perspiring shoulders and the

cheers of supporters ringing in his ears - he will do so in front of a

capacity crowd of 80,000 and a worldwide TV audience of 450 million

people across 194 countries.

Overall, the Football Association, which is hosting the event, is

expecting a cumulative live worldwide TV audience of seven billion. In

the UK alone, as many as 300 million people will watch a programme of 32

matches, spread over three weeks, with TV coverage split between the BBC

and ITV. As many as 1.3 million fans will attend the games themselves.

And it is thought that the 250,000 extra foreign visitors the FA expects

the event to attract will spend at least pounds 125 million during the


The European Football Championships are, in short, officially the third

largest sporting event in the world - trailing only the football World

Cup and the Olympics. Euro ’96 will be the biggest sporting event to be

staged in the UK since the 1966 World Cup finals. And UK television

audiences will dwarf those for the Olympics, which start the following

month. So much so that Coca-Cola, whose sponsorship of the Olympics in

Atlanta forms the main plank of its advertising this year, chose to

become an event sponsor for Euro ’96 as well. It is the only one of the

football championship’s 11 event sponsors that will also be backing the


‘In the UK, and in some of the major western European markets, the

Olympics is not as important as Euro ’96,’ Coca-Cola’s chief marketing

officer, Sergio Zyman, concedes. ‘We will only be showing a small burst

of the Olympics in the UK and will concentrate on the football


Coca-Cola will be supporting its event sponsorship with TV ads

containing the generic tagline: ‘Eat football. Sleep football. Drink

Coca-Cola’, as well as a series of press and poster ads. All three have

been devised by Wieden and Kennedy in Amsterdam.

The press and poster executions have slightly risque slogans that

suggest Coca-Cola has entered into the spirit of all things football.

They contain lines such as: ‘Thou shalt not go with thy neighbour’s

wife. Unless she has better seats.’

In the dark days of the 80s, the idea of a football championship being

reinvented as a multinational marketing man’s dream would have been

dismissed - had anyone been brave enough to suggest it. However, the

curbing of the worst excesses of hooliganism and the extra-ordinary

success of the World Cup in Italy in 1990 have conspired to make the

most popular game in the world into a valid marketing tool.

‘The attraction is in the audience,’ Edward Lloyd-Barnes, a director at

the media buying company, IDK, says. ‘Football means a young male

audience, and it attracts the lighter TV viewer. Single handedly, Euro

’96 will make June the best month of the year for ITV, and if it is

clever and schedules wisely around the games themselves, it could revive

the whole channel.’

There are three main routes for advertisers to become involved in Euro


First, 11 blue-chip companies have paid ISL, the Swiss-based sponsorship

company that handles negotiations for UEFA, pounds 3.5 million each to

become main event sponsors. This bought them a place on the perimeter

hoardings at games, match tickets for promotional use, the right to use

the Euro ’96 logo, space in the matchday programme and exclusivity in

their product category - although making McDonald’s the official

restaurant for the tournament seems to be stretching this product

category definition a little too far.

But advertisers’ expenditures do not stop at pounds 3.5 million. Most

sponsorship consultants estimate that, at the very least, companies will

need to spend the same amount again on ancillary through-the-line

support. In the case of the event sponsors, it is estimated that they

will spend rather more than that - perhaps even a collective pounds 100


In addition to the event sponsors, there are eight official suppliers,

which are allowed limited rights to exploit their association with the


Then there are conventional above-the-line advertising opportunities,

principally in the form of TV spots around the games, but also posters

near the grounds, magazines, radio and regional press advertising.

The newly-formed, Regional Strategic Alliance, was set up to help

regional papers exploit this sort of event. It has already produced two

Euro ’96 supplements, with a third due to be released next month. On

their own, these have produced additional revenue of about pounds


Then there is the big prize - TV broadcast sponsorship. This was offered

first to the event sponsors, one of which, Opel, picked up the offer for

Vauxhall. The advertising came with an initial pounds 2.5 million price

tag and will be used by the car giant to promote the Vectra model.

‘Its our biggest TV sport sponsorship to date,’ TSMS’s head of

sponsorship, Tim Brady, confirms. The previous record holder, the 1994

World Cup in the US, came with a pounds 2 million price tag.

Brady continues: ‘But then we know from other major sports events that

it is a tremendous awareness-raising tool.

National Power sponsored Italia ’90 and finished the tournament with the

third highest brand awareness in the country, behind Mars and Coca-Cola.

And this from something that no-one had even heard of before the

tournament started.’

The TV sponsorship has traditionally been the richest prize. For

Vauxhall, the timing of the tournament, coming as it does ahead of the

new registration frenzy in August, could hardly be better. Other car

manufacturers might grumble, but the fact is that they can hardly afford

not to advertise in this critical period.

‘Has the Vauxhall sponsorship devalued the market for other car

clients?’ Russell Boyman, the broadcast director of Mediastar, asks.

‘Yes, of course it has, or rather it will if Vauxhall handles it half

right. We buy slots for Peugeot in the Sky Premier League coverage, even

if it is sponsored by Ford, and we will be buying in Euro ’96. But it

does mean that it has a lower value for us. The fact is that, for car

clients in May, June and July, you’ve just got to be on TV.’

The event sponsors do not cast nearly so large a shadow across the TV

airtime market. Rivals are already sparring with the official sponsors

under the watchful gaze of ISL, which has the added responsibility of

policing the sponsorship it dispenses.

Quaker has already announced plans to try to out-do Kellogg’s - an

official product supplier. Quaker has phased in a special Football Sugar

Puffs packet and promotion, and supported it with a pounds 1 million

football-themed TV campaign through Young and Rubicam, using the

Newcastle United manager, Kevin Keegan, as a brand spokesman. Meanwhile,

Kellogg’s, as the official product supplier, is entitled to use the Euro

’96 logo on its packaging and to refer to itself as the ‘official

breakfast cereal of the tournament’. However, this will not protect it

from frenzied competition throughout the ad breaks.

For all the opportunities the tournament offers, though, two potential

problems loom large in most advertisers’ thinking. And there’s nothing

they can do about either of them.

The first sees the Swiss footballer, Stephane Chapuisat, gliding past a

static England back three, before slipping the ball calmly inside the

far post, followed ten days later by a chastened England losing four-nil

to the Dutch. In short, England failing to progress beyond the group


‘It wouldn’t be ideal if England didn’t progress,’ Lowe Howard-Spink’s

sponsorship director, Sean Jefferson, admits. ‘We would lose a small

percentage of viewers, although not really from our target market. The

tournament might not become the housewives’ choice, and the event might

not take over the nation like that semi-final in Italia ’90, but there

will still be substantial audiences of the people we are trying to


In fact, if England were to reach the quarter finals it would certainly

add at least 40 per cent to television ratings. England’s presence in

the semi-finals might add as much as 60 per cent, while its appearance

in the final would add at least 100 per cent to the residual figure -

probably more. And, in addition to the declared ratings for the events,

there will be a sizeable amount of unrecorded ratings as fans cram into

pubs and clubs.

But if the performance of the team itself is in the lap of the gods, the

division of the match coverage is not. The BBC poached arguably the most

popular first-round game, the England-Scotland clash, and will have

first choice for the quarter-final games. The semi-final and final could

easily appear on both networks - and they almost certainly will if

either of the home nations figure in them.

ITV, meanwhile, has invested in a top commentary team by drafting in

Kevin Keegan, Alex Ferguson and the England football coach-elect, Glenn

Hoddle, as star pundits. However, history suggests that the BBC will

dominate any games that are shown live on both stations. ‘The BBC always

wins these battles,’ CIA Medianetwork’s broadcast director, Simon Cox,

says. ‘And if the final pulls, say, 20 million viewers, we would expect

ITV to do well to attract seven million of them.’

Agencies would prefer ITV to strike a deal with the BBC for the

exclusive rights to the key semi-final match, rather than see

potentially blockbusting audiences being split. However, the two

stations do not have a good history of co-operating over key sporting

match-ups. The England-Germany semi-final in 1990 was shown live on BBC1

and ITV, despite adamant pre-tournament promises from both sides that

they would not compete with each other.

Indeed, the only way they are likely to lay off each other this time

around is if the form book is upset and Turkey get to battle it out with

Switzerland on 30 June - a prospect that, even now, is lurking half-

hidden in the hinterland of any marketing man’s worst nightmare.

Event sponsors

Event sponsors Euro ’96

Canon, Carlsberg-Tetley, Coca-Cola, Fuji, JVC, Mastercard, McDonald’s,

Philips, Snickers, Umbro, Vauxhall/Opel

What Sponsors get for pounds 3.5m each

Perimeter ads at all games. Tickets for promotional use. Use of the Euro

’96 trademark logo. The right to place ads in matchday programmes.

Exclusivity in their product category. A slot in the pounds 2.5 million

Euro ’96 TV/cinema campaign created by Collett Dickenson Pearce.

Vauxhall’s ITV sponsorsHip deal

Cost: pounds 2.5 million Vauxhall has exclusive sponsorship of ITV Euro

’96 coverage - 15 lives games and 18 support programmes - and inclusion

in all ITV promotional trailers, although not the generic ITV campaign

that launched last week.

Vectra sponsorship Comprises 15- second introduction credits and five-

second bumper breaks in every break - with a minimum of three breaks per

hour - and a ten-second credit on programme outs. The creative treatment

involved showing classic football moments in the bumper breaks, with

various key words that are applicable to both the on-screen image and

the car.

In addition, and not part of the sponsorship deal, Vauxhall has launched

a national drive-time radio campaign, supported supplements in Total

Sport, FourFourTwo and Goal and run a competition with the Independent

and ITV.

Lowes is also running a Website for the championship in a pounds 500,000

joint-venture with the Guardian.

Vauxhall’s estimated total spend on Euro ’96: pounds 15m


Schedule and audience projections


Euro ’96 TV schedule

Date       BBC                      Time   ITV                      Time

June 8     England v Switzerland     3pm

June 9     Germany v Czech Rep       5pm   Spain v Bulgaria       2.30pm

           Denmark v Portugal     7.30pm

June 10    Romania v France       7.30pm   Holland v Scotland     4.30pm

June 11    Italy v Russia         4.30pm   Turkey v Croatia       7.30pm

June 13    Switzerland v Holland  7.30pm   Bulgaria v Romania     4.30pm

June 14    Portugal v Turkey      4.30pm   Italy v Czech Rep      7.30pm

June 15    England v Scotland        3pm   France v Spain            6pm

June 16    Croatia v Denmark         6pm   Russia v Germany          3pm

June 18    France v Bulgaria      4.30pm   England v Holland      7.30pm

           Romania v Spain        4.30pm   Scotland v Switzerland 7.30pm

June 19    Russia v Czech Rep     7.30pm   Croatia v Portugal     4.30pm

           Italy v Germany        7.30pm   Turkey v Denmark       4.30pm

June 22/23 First Choice of Q/F             Second choice Q/F

June 26    Semi-final 4pm and 7.30pm may be simulcast, or shown on one


June 30    Final                     7pm   Final                     7pm



Predicted audience figures


First round                        Quarter-final

England v Switzerland      8m      England QF         13-14m

England v Scotland     10-11m      Non-England QF        10m

England v Holland      12-13m      Semi-final

Scotland v Switzerland     7m      England SF         15-16m

Scotland v Holland         9m      Non-England SF        10m

Turkey v Croatia        *4.5m      Final

Bulgaria v Romania         6m      England final         20m+

Croatia v Portugal         6m      Non-England final     10m

* If shown, ITV still deciding. Source: CIA Medianetwork


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