Oppo and UEFA: why sports brands recruit Chinese sponsors

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In the crowded global smartphone market, it’s vital that your name is seen by as many eyes as possible.

So when Chinese mobile phone giant Oppo signed as global sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, one of the most watched sporting events in the world, it may have taken a step back. ahead of its rivals.

First Chinese sponsor

The two-year deal sees Oppo become the first Chinese company to sponsor the most prestigious competition in European club football.

Strong sales in Asia have seen it become the third largest smartphone maker in the world.

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Paul Nicholson, editor of Inside World Football, told CGTN Europe that the UEFA deal is part of Oppo’s strategy to increase its visibility in the lucrative European market.

“For OPPO it’s huge because it gives them so much more global coverage than they would have had before. So they have other sports sponsors, they do tennis, they seem to be focusing on a number of major British events in this regard. But UEFA and the Champions League pretty much knock that out of the park.

Growing trend

It’s the latest example of a partnership between a Chinese company and a top sports brand.

Last year, Euro 2020 soccer teamed up with Chinese video sharing TikTok, while Chinese firms Vivo, Alibaba and Hisense also signed major sponsorship deals with UEFA, FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.

Paul Nicholson says the relationship can be extremely beneficial for all parties.

“Tik Tok is interesting because they don’t just bring money, but they bring this huge network. It’s attractive to UEFA, not just because of that, but it takes away the UEFA brand before the competition and you see it now with the Women’s Euro, it’s much wider.

Brand awareness

Currently, Oppo ranks behind Apple and Samsung in mobile phone sales and all with a relatively low profile in Europe.

But by becoming a global sponsor of such a prestigious and popular event as the UEFA Champions League, expect to hear and see a lot more from Oppo in the years to come.

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