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How changes in the UEFA Euro audience are making space for new industry sponsorships

The UEFA Euros are fast approaching, promising to be the biggest sporting event of the year with an anticipated 5 billion viewers.

24 teams will compete in Germany, captivating a global audience that brands and sponsors are eager to impress.

In fact, Euros sponsorships rival those of the Super Bowl, making it as much a marketing spectacle as it is a sporting event.

However, unlike the diverse teams in the tournament, the types of sponsorships have remained relatively unchanged.

Image - UEFA Euro 2024 Official sponsors

Sportswear, beer brands, and telecom companies are the usual suspects. This consistency in sponsorships hasn’t evolved much over the years.

The issue is that while the sponsorship landscape remains static, the audience has significantly evolved.

In this blog post, we will highlight how the audience has changed and how these shifts create opportunities for new types of sponsorships and influencer activations.

Fans are nothing if not loyal to their teams and their sponsors – and we don’t want the right brands to miss out.

The Current UEFA EURO audience 

The Euro 2020 brought 5.23 billion viewers, and these audience members look different from today’s viewers. Let’s review how. 

The Euro 2024 audience is younger

Image - UEFA age breakdown 2020 and 2024

There are 10% more viewers between the age of 18-24, meaning there are more Gen Z fans to cater to. 

The Euro 2024 audience is more female. Females currently make up roughly one fourth of the Euro Championship audience, as compared to one eight back in 2020. 

Image - UEFA gender breakdown 2020 and 2024

Location wise, there is more diversity amongst members of the Euro 2024 audience. 

Image - UEFA location 2020 & 2024

We’re seeing more audiences pop up in Africa, Central America and South America. 

Audiense - location

In summary, the tournament has attracted more young people, more women, and a more diverse global audience. As the audience evolves, so must the marketing strategies to engage them effectively.

New sponsors for an evolved audience 

Let’s begin with which brands should be sponsoring and spending a good chunk of their ad dollars on this event. 

It could be easy to say any and every brand, since this tournament has such a huge global reach. But the truth is that 66% of fans believe that sometimes the brands that sponsor sports don’t make sense. 

So which ones do? 

Sponsors targeting a Gen Z audience

Let’s look at the growing Gen Z segment of the UEFA audience.

Heineken is a major sponsor of the UEFA league and has been since 1994, and this sits well with the Gen Z audience, but a brand like Red Bull or Monster Energy is more aligned with this audience’s brand interests. 

This insight also aligns with the fact that Gen Z’s drink 20% less than millennials. 

We’re not saying that a mega brand like Heineken doesn’t make sense as a sponsor for the tournament, of course they do, what we’re saying though is that there is room for more energy drink type sponsorships to cater to the Gen Z UEFA audience. 

Image - UEFA Champions League Official sponsors

We know this because when we analyze the UEFA Championship Gen Z audience in SOPRISM, both energy drink brands showed up in their top interests. 

Image - RedBull & Monster Energy

Red Bull is aware of this opportunity and has bought a majority stake in the Leeds football team, and other players in the energy drink industry should follow suit. 

There’s also a case to be made for more bodybuilding and fitness brand sponsorships. Not only is this proven in their interest data, but fans have said in a recent survey that they will likely buy supplements in the next 30 days. 

Audiense blog - bodybuilding and fitness Another top interest that is popping up for this audience group is luxury “parfums” or cologne. This audience is in the mid to higher income level range so it makes sense that they would make a good target for luxury brands. 

Image - Parfums Givenchy

The data shows that there’s a huge opportunity for Cologne brands like Dior and Givenchy to sponsor this audience’s top team Portugal (who Christian Ronaldo plays for) or their top favorite player Luka Modrić, who plays for Croatia. 

Image - Portugal national football team

Image - personalities my audience particularly appreciate

Sponsors targeting the UEFA Euro women’s audience

Women now make up one-fourth of the UEFA Euro audience vs one eighth back in 2020. 

This change in audience demographics calls for a change in top sponsorship deals, ones that actually resonate with this segment. 

The majority of the Euro women fans are aged 35-44 and reside in Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom - brands trying to enter these markets would be smart to sponsor this event, particularly fashion brands. 

As you can see fashion brands/retailers are a top interest of this group: Primark, ASOS, ABOUT YOU, Selfridges and luxury brands like Stella McCartney. 

Audiense blog - retail brands

Sometimes the way fashion brands should have a presence at the tournament is not by sponsoring the league, team or players - but by sponsoring the partners of the players. 

Paige Lorenze is a popular influencer, who dates famous Tennis player Tommy Paul. All eyes are on her when she joins him at his tournaments. Fashion brands know that by sponsoring Paige, they get almost as much brand exposure as if they were to sponsor Tommy himself, and this type of sponsorship is more authentic and tailored to their target audience of women.

So who better to represent these fashion retailers than these audiences top influencers: 

Image - UEFA Euro women’s audience top influencers

Another trend we discovered among this audience's top interests were brands that signify different life changes or chapters. 

David’s Bridal resonates with newly engaged women, KitchenAid, Zara Home and Dyson speak to new homeowners, and Johnson’s Baby appeals to new mothers. 

Image - David’s Bridal resonates with newly engaged women, KitchenAid, Zara Home and Dyson speak to new homeowners, and Johnson’s Baby appeals to new mothers.

You might argue that this tournament isn’t the right place for these brands in relation to football. However, consider that 15.2 million women will tune into the Euros, and women make 80% of all purchases. More specifically, 91% of new home purchases are made by women.

So although they are outnumbered by the men, they have way more purchasing power, and make a better target revenue-wise, for some brands. 

In terms of the alcohol industry, women should see their favorite brands represented through sponsorships too. 58% of men are drinkers, but 49% of women are drinkers too, so just about as many women drink as men do. 

The EURO 2024 womens audience just has a different preference for alcohol; including red wine and sparkling wine. 

Image -  EURO 2024 womens audience just has a different preference for alcohol; including red wine and sparkling wineCurrently there are no players in this specific industry that have a major sponsorship deal with the UEFA or the UEFA championships, and we see this as a missed opportunity. 

Sponsors targeting the UEFA Euro African audience

The audience of the Euro’s is diversifying, and we see this in the growth of its popularity among African audiences. 

But there hasn’t been much diversity in the sponsorship deals to reflect that.

This African UEFA audience has five major personality traits that marketers should pay attention to. This audience is into gambling, game development, news, sports, and they are considered social media addicts: 

Audiense blog - image audience personality traits

Even before identifying the most suitable sponsors for this target group, it's clear that brands should primarily engage this audience via social media rather than traditional TV ads for the highest return on investment. This aligns with the fact that the African Euro fan base is predominantly composed of 18-24-year-olds.

Audiense blog - image how old is my audience

Facebook looks to be their social media platform of choice (and unlike in North America for example, Facebook is the leading social media platform in Africa): 

Audiense blog - image how to reach my audiencie

So brands wanting to enter this market could be surprised that the best way to target Gen Z in Africa is through Facebook. 

The “personality trait” data also suggests that marketers should find out where this audience is  getting their news on social, to run ads through those media channels during the event: 

Audiense blog - media my audience has an affinity with - image

The gambling personality trait of this audience leads us to believe that African sports betting book sponsorships would resonate with them. 

This also coincides with the insight that 33% of Euros fans have placed bookmaker bets in the past 12 months. 

Dafabet, Ladbrokes, Bettson, Unibet, Betfair and Bet365 would make sense as official sponsors for the UEFA Championship, because not only do they resonate with this new diverse audience of Euro 2024 fans, but overall the Euro’s audience (33%) shows an interest in sports betting.

Audiense blog - image potential sponsors for the UEFA Championship

Another more unassuming industry partner that makes sense for this audience is the Skin and Cosmetics industry. 

Audiense blog - image main topics that define my audience  - skin and cosmetics industry

Going a level deeper in SOPRISM we can see that specifically fragrance, hair and things like anti-aging makeup brands are the types of Skin and Cosmetics brands this audience would hope to see as sponsors. 

Audiense blog - image main topics that define my audience  - skin and cosmetics industry

Although the selectivity score is lower (meaning the interest level is lower) for these specific brands, it poses an opportunity for Nivea, Garnier, Olay and L’Oreal to reach these African audiences and grow their market share, during the 2024 Euros - since they know their industry is one that this audience relates to. 

Audiense blog - potential brands to reach African audiences

Sponsorships, especially at an event at this level, can not only be looked at as a way to connect with people who are already fans of your brand but they should be seen as a way to reintroduce your brand to people who show a lot of interest in your industry and may need that extra reminder of what your brand offers. 

This African Euro fan audience clearly has an affinity towards skin and cosmetic brands, so there’s space for new sponsors to come in, reintroduce themselves during this worldwide event, and grow their market share. 

Engaging with fans during the 2024 Euros

Changes in the audience mean changes in the way this audience views the tournament. 

Fans now have a different way of engaging with the sport and brands must adapt to this new way, to reach them, and there are multiple touch points brands must consider. 

Digital engagement reached 7.5 billion interactions on social media during the Euro 2020 championship, and there was a big increase in viewership via the UEFA’s digital platforms. 

The audience is even younger this year compared to the 2020 audience, which means we expect the preference for streaming over traditional TV viewing to dramatically increase. 

Brands looking to engage fans on social can try things like prediction polls, player highlights, mini-games, and quizzes. But what will make an impact is working with different influencers who have different perspectives on the game. 

Engaging with female Euro fans 

Women fans want to hear a woman's perspective on the game, specifically, the Euro 2024 women's audience gravitates towards influential female soccer players and coaches like Ellen White, Millie Bright, and Casey Stoney. 

Audiense blog image - female soccer players and coaches

Brands looking to target the Euro female fans should sponsor these influencers to recap the highlights of games on social media, or act as commentators during the games on live stream - giving their female perspective on each match. 

We mentioned this earlier, but fashion brands specifically, should be looking at working with influencers who are also dating the players. Just by proxy, these influencers get a lot of screen time and exposure on social media during the event, and if they’re wearing your brand, it means your brand does too. 

Engaging with Gen Z Euro fans 

Influencers for sports games don’t always have to be sports players, or related to the sport in any way. They just have to resonate with the target audience. 

The Gen Z Euro fans show a deep love for rap music and rap artists. 

Brands could sponsor rappers to do commentary on the UEFA championship and give their perspective as well. 

Image - Gen Z Eurofans influencersThis has worked well in the past with Rapper Snoop Dogg, when he did commentary for the Olympics with Kevin Hart. 


This is a fresh way to engage the younger audiences who consume the sport on platforms like YouTube versus watching the sport on TV being broadcast and narrated by the usual sports commentators. 

Engaging with African Euro fans 

Not only does the influencer you choose to work with need to resonate with your audience, but they also should have their biggest presence on the social media channel your target audience is most connected to. 

This African audience’s top social channel is Facebook, knowing this, brands should target them through influencers who are primarily popular on Facebook. 

Audiense lets us uncover who the top influencers on Facebook for this audience are: 

Audiense blog image - top influencers on Facebook for African Euro fans

By working with influencers/journalists like Eric Besnard, Charles Mbuya, and Ben Howard, it gives your brand that extra guarantee that their content will be seen by the target audience  (since they are big players on your target audience's top social channel, Facebook).

Let the games begin

Make no mistake, the UEFA Euro championship is just as much a marketing event as it is a sporting event. 

With exposure level at that of the Super Bowl, many mega brands have paid big bucks to become the official sponsors of the 2024 Euros.

Some of these brands have been sponsors of this event for years.

But as we’ve seen the Euro audience change and evolve, sponsorships must evolve too, to reflect those changes. 

There is now a major opportunity for different industries, even unlikely ones, to sponsor this event and reach their target audiences. 

There is also a new way to work with influencers and engage fans, and if you hope to have an impact your brand should follow our lead, and use some of the ideas we discussed in this article. 

To get the insights you need to make the most out of your sponsorship opportunities, sign up for Audiense today.

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