>> Some unfamiliar names for football fans to get a grips with at this year's European Championships. Not the players, but the advertisers. Heard of SOCAR? How about Hisense? The former is an Azerbaijan energy firm. The latter a Chinese electronics maker, hither to little known outside it's homeland. The sponsorship agreements struck by European football governing body UEFA.
Only muted criticism of the Azerbaijan deal in contrast to Formula 1. Motor racing chiefs chided for holding a race in the country, which faces allegations of human rights abuses. Reuters chief European Retail Correspondent Emma Thomasson says there's serious money involved. As far as I'm aware, SOCAR, when they signed the deal with UEFA a few years ago, were paying 80 million euros over four years.
And that was the biggest deal that UEFA had done up until that point for national team competitions. UEFA also, obviously, runs the Champions League and there's a lot of money in that too.>> The deals help UEFA promote the game in new markets. For the companies, it's a chance to build global awareness of their brands.
Plenty of familiar names on view too though, Adidas and Nike continuing their battle for sportswear supremacy.>> The additional benefit there to Adidas is that they want to be official sponsors of UEFA. So, you see their name on the side of the pitch, they are the sponsors of the official ball.
In fact, today, they said they expect to sell seven million of those Euro 2016 balls.>> The rivalry likely to continue right up to the final. Nike making the strip for favorites France, but Adidas in with a good shout. It's logo on shirts for Germany and for Spain.