MasterCard set to renew 'priceless' Uefa Champions League sponsorship

MasterCard: recruits former Portugal star Deco
MasterCard: recruits former Portugal star Deco

MasterCard is in talks to extend its 20-year sponsorship of the Uefa Champions League, describing the tournament as a "fabulous" fit for its experience-driven marketing strategy.

Speaking to Marketing, MasterCard’s president of international markets Ann Cairns said the payments brand is "in conversations" with the European football organising body over a renewal of its three-year sponsorship deal, which expires next summer.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, MasterCard has recruited former Portugal star Deco as the "manager" of the mascots who will take to the field with the players. The children won the opportunity to be a mascot through a social media competition.

Cairns said the campaign feeds into its wider ‘Priceless’ positioning, offering experiences that "money can’t buy".

"We recognise that people don’t just want to buy things, what they want is things they can remember – they want experiences. That is why we’ve developed ‘Priceless’ into an experiential campaign. It’s all linking the experience you have with a good feeling," she said.

Cairns said MasterCard will continue to use the "passion" of sport to promote its new payment technologies, including contactless payment. The brand also sponsors the Brazilian football team and is a backer of next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Ford – a sponsor of the Champions League since its inception in 1992 – was to end its association with the tournament.

The US marque is to be replaced by Nissan from next season.

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