In the modern game, the boardroom is as critical to a team’s success as the boot room. Today, commercial income is a critical revenue stream for clubs. UEFA estimates that its Europa League competition generated over €225 million in commercial revenue in 2014/15. 75 percent of this income is returned to the teams - it pays for the players, stadia and development that are vital to clubs and brings joy to fans.
The fact that commercial revenue is used to feed ‘grassroots’ football has been a critical factor in FedEx becoming the main sponsor of the UEFA Europa League. FedEx is focused on supporting commerce at the local level and has made significant investments in Europe over the last three years – including adding over 100 stations and 3,700 team members – all towards its goal of helping small businesses boost trade and compete on the global stage.
The UEFA Europa League brings opportunity to many clubs and not simply the few. It is truly pan-European in a way that other competitions are not. Footballing royalty such as Holland’s Ajax and England’s Liverpool come up against emerging powerhouses, such as Croatia’s HNK Rijeka and Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
There are clear synergies between pan-European businesses and a pan-European league. While many sponsors – like FedEx – are global, it’s important that they demonstrate their national, regional and local credentials. It’s about authenticity and reassuring audiences that corporations aren’t faceless giants; that they understand, are part of and contribute to the communities they do business in.