Like the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League is sponsored by a group of multinational corporations, in contrast to the single main sponsor typically found in national top-flight leagues. When the Champions League was created in 1992, it was decided that a maximum of eight companies should be allowed to sponsor the event, with each corporation being allocated four advertising boards around the perimeter of the pitch, as well as logo placement at pre- and post-match interviews and a certain number of tickets to each match. This, combined with a deal to ensure tournament sponsors were given priority on television advertisements during matches, ensured that each of the tournament's main sponsors was given maximum exposure.
The advertising boards are a source of criticism, due to their larger size compared to those in other leagues such as the Premier League. Their larger size means that, at some grounds, such as Etihad Stadium, Old Trafford, Anfield, and Stamford Bridge, the front rows of seating cannot be used as their views of the pitch are blocked by the extreme size of the boards; accordingly, some season ticket holders are not guaranteed tickets for games and have to sit in seats other than their usual ones for games. Additionally, some stadia use the flat area in front of the front rows of seating for wheelchairs and disabled seating, so the boards drastically reduce these grounds' disabled supporter capacity.
The tournament's current main sponsors are:
- Heineken (excluding Spain, Turkey, France, Switzerland and Russia, where alcohol sponsorship is restricted. In Spain, France, and Switzerland the Heineken adboard is replaced by an "Enjoy responsibly" or "open your world" adboard and in Russia the Heineken adboard is replaced by a "No To Racism" adboard).
- Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
- PlayStation is the brand advertised.
Adidas is a secondary sponsor and supplies the official match ball, as they do for all other UEFA competitions. Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer is also a secondary sponsor as the official Champions League video game.
Individual clubs may wear jerseys with advertising, even if such sponsors conflict with those of the Champions League. However, only one sponsorship is permitted per jersey in addition to that of the kit manufacturer (exceptions are made for charity sponsorships; last season Chelsea, for example, carry Right To Play as a secondary sponsor), and if clubs play a match in a country where the relevant sponsorship category is restricted (such as the case of France with alcohol), then they must remove that logo from their jerseys.
Read more about this topic: UEFA Champions League