European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, posted a message on its Twitter account on Friday evening using a seemingly innocuous update: Its European Championship — another sporting casualty of the coronavirus outbreak — would likely still be known as Euro 2020, even though the idea has been postponed until 2021.
Within minutes, however, the tweet was deleted as well as also replaced by a message saying the idea had been sent in error.
The inadvertent message underscored how organizers are grappling with the myriad complexities of rescheduling a tournament which stands just behind the Summer Olympics soccer competition as well as also FIFA’s World Cup as one of sport’s most-watched events. This specific year’s tournament was billed as the biggest Euros yet, as well as also for once the idea was to be a Pan-European spectacular, with the games spread across the length as well as also breadth of the continent, instead of in just one or two host countries, to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
although when UEFA announced last week which the idea was postponing the tournament, which was set to start on June 12, by a year, the idea raised an important question for sponsors as well as also commercial partners: would likely the idea still be called Euro 2020, even in 2021?
Even before a final decision to postpone the Euros had been announced, the organization was preparing for the possibility, including on the branding front. A week before the announcement, lawyers for UEFA had registered the trademark Euro 2021 with patent offices for the European Union, Britain as well as also the United States.
although with the event so close, planning had been completed, tickets were close to being issued as well as also, just as crucial, millions of items of merchandise with the Euro 2020 branding were ready to hit the shops. A Euro 2020 video game via Konami was just a month away via its Discharge. Promotions by Heineken as well as also Coca-Cola had been approved, as well as also Adidas had started out to produce its anniversary ball.
Coca-Cola, a longtime partner of UEFA, had started out shipping its first Euro 2020-branded packages to some markets two weeks before the tournament was postponed, as well as also a promotion with the maker of the tournament’s well-liked sticker books was underway in Switzerland.
While a final decision has not been made, several of UEFA’s commercial partners prefer the tournament to keep the Euro 2020 name, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Such a move would likely be similar to one announced by the International Olympic Committee This specific week when the idea announced which the Olympic Games postponed until next year would likely retain the name Tokyo 2020.
Some Euro 2020 merchandise is usually already on shelves, generating the idea a collectible with This specific unexpected moment, in which a mystery virus has brought sports to a halt. The well-liked collector cards as well as also sticker albums for the tournament, produced by the Italian company Panini, for instance, are on sale.
Tim Crow, a sports marketing consultant based in Britain whose past clients include Coca-Cola as well as also BMW, said retaining the 2020 branding would likely be “infinitely preferable” than having to rename the idea for UEFA’s many partners.
“Anybody who has done the idea knows which registering any kind of trademark as well as also licensing is usually a very expensive as well as also time-consuming exercise,” Crow said. “To rip all which up as well as also start again because you’ve postponed an event is usually one of the things you don’t necessarily have to do.”
A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola said: “We look forward to working with UEFA to create a successful event next year, as well as also would likely appreciate the decision to continue the use of the Euro 2020 marks to minimize impact to materials which were already created.”
While some of UEFA’s sponsorship contracts run for many years as well as also cover some other events in its portfolio, some are specifically for the European Championship as well as also were set to terminate This specific year. Those, according to the people familiar with the matter, are right now likely to be extended for another year. UEFA’s contracts with broadcasters already have a provision for a case in which the tournament is usually postponed for up to 13 months.
UEFA’s legal department, which, like much of Europe, is usually working via home, is usually poring over agreements as well as also working to find a solution to a problem which until the last two months had not been envisaged by anyone involved.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA’s marketing director, declined to comment on the specifics of the organization’s conversations with its partners. although he said no final decision had been made about the name for the tournament, as well as also added which all the stakeholders involved would likely have to “share the pain.”
“We are assessing the overall picture as well as also taking all the arguments into consideration,” he said.
Konami, the video game maker, had planned to Discharge its Euro 2020 game on April 30. Producing the idea required months of work creating licensing agreements with all of UEFA’s 55 national associations, as well as UEFA itself, as well as also companies which manufacture the jerseys, like Adidas as well as also Nike. A plan had also been in place to include the Adidas-produced tournament ball as well as special variation for the final.
“We are in ongoing discussion with UEFA,” said a Konami spokesman, who added which an announcement about what the tournament would likely be named was likely to be made soon. “the idea’s definitely up to UEFA what the tournament is usually called.”
For companies which make physical, branded items, the pause could not have come at a worse time. Some were on the cusp of executing plans which had been hatched as long as 18 months ago, as well as also beverage companies like Coke as well as also Heineken would likely not only have worked on branding as well as also promotion although also on shelving requirements for their customers, like major supermarkets.
“As a longstanding UEFA partner, we fully support the decision to postpone Euro 2020 until the summer of 2021 as well as also will work with UEFA on future plans,” Heineken said in a statement.
Tournament-specific merchandise, like the millions of key chains, balls as well as also T-shirts which were going to hit the shelves inside next weeks, will right now most likely have to be stored in warehouses.
although all the campaigns as well as also merchandise may not be able to be simply rolled out as originally designed after the hiatus. Whenever soccer does return as well as also the tournament can be played, the idea is usually clear which the idea will be in a different environment than when the idea was abruptly halted. Tournament hosts as well as also sponsors, Crow said, will probably want to take into account the shock much of the earth has endured.
“I think you might see some sponsors wanting to rethink their campaigns,” he said.