The renewal of the long-standing partnership between UEFA and Coca-Cola for UEFA EURO 2012 is a further sign to the European football body that preparations for the final round in Poland and Ukraine in two years' time are beginning to accelerate.
"We see that, more and more, a lot of work has been done," said UEFA commercial director Philippe Margraff after Monday's announcement of Coca-Cola as the third global UEFA EURO 2012 partner at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. The partnership will also cover the UEFA EURO 2016 final round, as well as other competitions listed under the UEFA EUROTOP programme until 2017. The other two global partners already on board are adidas and Castrol.
"We have been going through many stages and we see more and more that [EURO 2012] is taking shape," Margraff added. "We had a logo launch in Kyiv not too long ago. We had a wonderful draw event in this building two weeks ago. And now we have a further announcement – and I think this announcement should also support the confidence in the eyes of the corporate world in EURO."
The sponsorship agreement includes integrated broadcast sponsorship rights in Europe, as well as sole and exclusive programmes such as 'flag bearers' and 'ultimate access'. Coca-Cola will also benefit from exclusive marketing rights for non-alcoholic beverages in official premises of the competitions.
Margraff stressed the importance of a long-standing partnership that will continue to flourish for the foreseeable future. "We have had a fantastic experience with EUROs 2004 and 2008," he reflected. "Now we are preparing for EURO 2012 and continuing to 2016 – which will be another major milestone for UEFA when we move to 24 teams," he said. "That is why we thought that for such a competition, which has so much potential, it is important to have a long-term partner with a long-term commitment to work closely with us to help the EURO grow. We are delighted to announce the partnership."
Margraff also spoke about the youth-related element behind the partnership with Coca-Cola. "For many, Coca-Cola is about youth – and football is about youth as well. I think it is critical for us that football continues to appeal to young people and teenagers, as well as [other people] playing the game."
Dirk Veryser, general manager of Coca-Cola Poland Services, also welcomed the extension of the partnership. "The Coca-Cola system has been associated with football since the first FIFA World Cup in Uruguay in 1930," he said. "We have had official cooperation with UEFA since 1988. We support football from the grassroots level to the pinnacle football events. Because of our long-standing involvement with football, we understand and share the fans' passion for the sport. Making football a more enjoyable playing and viewing experience, while bringing its millions of followers closer together, is at the heart of it.
"The sponsorship agreement that we are announcing is an eight-year renewal of a long-standing sponsorship of the EURO competition, and includes other UEFA national-team championships. Our long partnership with UEFA has proven to be very successful and we are proud to announce its renewal.
"I strongly believe that Europe will fall in love with Poland and Ukraine," Veryser continued, "while the tournament will provide an opportunity for the football community – fans, promoters, sponsors and politicians – to unite around our common passion, football."
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