Uefa eyes €2bn Euro 2016 revenue

One year into a sweeping corruption scandal at the highest levels of global soccer, Fifa’s reputation and finances are still under a cloud.

Uefa eyes €2bn Euro 2016 revenue

Some 250km away, the forecast is very different for Uefa, the most important regional soccer body under the Fifa umbrella.

Euro 2016 will be the biggest in the tournament’s history, with more teams, more games, and more host cities. For Uefa , all that adds up to more money.

The organisation expects to make €2bn in revenue, up from the €1.4bn it made four years ago when Poland and Ukraine hosted 16 teams.

The European Championship has long been second only to the World Cup in popularity and revenue.

Now, with 24 countries participating, there are more tickets to sell, and television rights for the tournament fetched about €1.05bn, a 25% increase over 2012.

Sponsorships are up 40%, to about €450m, according to Guy-Laurent Epstein, Uefa’s marketing director. Ticket sales make up the rest.

As an economic engine, the European Championship dwarfs football’s other regional championships.

The media rights to this year’s Copa America Centenario — a 16-nation event featuring teams from across the Americas — were sold for $112.5m (€99.6m).

The Asian Football Confederation sold a decade of football rights, including two editions of its tournament, for $1bn, a contract that ends in 2020.

Behind the billion-euro broadcasting revenue is a TV audience of 130m for the early games, Mr Epstein said in an interview hours before the Champions League final, Uefa’s other big ticket event.

The audience will grow to 300m by the July 10 final at the Stade de France in Paris. In contrast, Super Bowl 50 in February drew about 110m viewers.

“We will deliver 51 Super Bowls in the next month,” said Mr Epstein.

About three-quarters of the television income comes from the eurozone, though some countries, including Italy and Spain, balked at the high price.

Mr Epstein blamed the sluggish economy and said strong gains were made in the US, Brazil, and the Middle East.

Sales of 2.5m tickets, a million more than were available in 2012, make up the rest of Euro 2016 income.

Epstein said Uefa expects a sellout, though it has released to the public some of the tickets set aside for companies entertaining clients.

Bringing the tournament to one of Europe’s biggest economies has bolstered sponsorships, up 40% since 2012.

The roster includes usual soccer sponsors such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Carlsberg, with the Danish brewer spending €80m on the tournament.

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