Uefa takes Euro 2020 hospitality in-house after rejecting agency offers
By Simon Ward
Uefa is to handle hospitality sales for the 2020 European Championships itself after rejecting offers from agencies for global rights it put on the market in the second half of last year.
New tenders for catering services and other aspects of the business will be conducted in certain markets in the next few months.
Euro 2020 is complicated by the fact that, for the first time, fixtures at a European Championships will be held across the continent, as opposed to in just one or two countries.
Nonetheless, last September, Uefa invited agencies to bid for one or both of the ‘Global Exclusive Sales and Marketing Rights’ and ‘Global Exclusive Sales, Marketing and Production Rights’ packages. The latter also included the organisation and provision of catering services.
Agencies were instructed to submit offers at the start of November, ahead of presentations to Uefa at its Nyon headquarters on 14 November, with rights expected to be awarded on 20 December.
However, with the offers apparently not regarded as satisfactory, European soccer’s governing body is to return to the policy of in-house selling it has adopted at some previous editions of the championships.
In a statement, Uefa told Sportcal: “After a careful review and analysis of the offers received regarding Corporate Hospitality Sales and Marketing Programme for Uefa Euro 2020, it has been decided that the hospitality business for Euro 2020 will be managed internally and directly by Uefa.”
Various agencies were appointed to sell hospitality rights to Euro 2016 held in France, including Lagardère Sports (in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland), Prestige Hospitality (in UK and Ireland) and Shankai Sports (in China).
The tournament, the first to involve 24 teams and 51 matches, up from 16 teams and 31 matches previously, generated €400 million ($490 million) in ticketing and hospitality revenues.
Uefa Events, the federation's events and marketing arm set up in 2009, handled the sales of the corporate hospitality programme for Euro 2012 in the co-hosting countries of Poland and Ukraine, along with several European territories, via its own dedicated sales force.
Uefa took the hospitality sales in-house for that tournament, but still opted to sell rights to third parties in a variety of markets around the world. The IMG agency was the worldwide sales agent for corporate hospitality packages for Euro 2008, which was staged in Austria and Switzerland.
On its new approach for Euro 2020, Uefa said: “In the coming months, further tenders will be launched concerning certain aspects of the business like catering services, creative concept and sales agents in certain markets.
“More information will be communicated as usual on our website in due course.”
Following the axing of Brussels as a host city in December, Euro 2020 will now comprise matches in 12 cities, with London’s Wembley Stadium (pictured) taking on the four games that were to have been held in the Belgian capital, plus the two semi-finals and the final it had already been allocated.
Other prominent venues will include the Allianz Arena in Munich, the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the new Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg and the Olympic Stadium in Baku, all of which will host four games, including a quarter-final.
Fifa employs the Switzerland-based specialist agency Match Hospitality to operate the commercial hospitality programmes for the World Cup and its other major events in a contract that includes the sale of packages on an exclusive worldwide basis.
The company’s mandate runs until 2023, and it has appointed separate sales agents for hospitality packages for this year’s World Cup in Russia, notably Lagardère Sports in the markets of Germany and Switzerland.
Match Hospitality previously oversaw commercial hospitality at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.