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UEFA's Champions Innovate explained

The UEFA Champions League final always guarantees an unforgettable spectacle as the best of the best go head to head in Europe's premier stadiums. Off the pitch, we're teaming up with sponsors and innovative startups to ensure the competition will leave a lasting legacy for host cities.

The 2024 UEFA Champions League final will take place at Wembley Stadium in London
The 2024 UEFA Champions League final will take place at Wembley Stadium in London

What is UEFA's Champions Innovate programme?

Champions Innovate is a groundbreaking initiative that takes place in the months leading up to the Champions League final and brings together UEFA, commercial partners, host city authorities and startup companies. Each season, the startups are tasked with finding innovative solutions to specific challenges set by the host city.

For the 2024 final at Wembley Stadium, the City of London proposed three challenges, each with the goal of enhancing the competition's social and environmental impact.

Three startups – Pavegen, My Emissions and Pledgeball – were chosen to develop pilot projects responding to the challenges. Each was teamed up with one of three Champions League sponsors – PepsiCo, Just Eat Takeaway.com and Mastercard.

UEFA, the English Football Association, the Greater London Authority and London & Partners have provided additional expertise as well as opportunities to connect with other local stakeholders.

What are the challenges for Champions Innovate in 2024?

  • Green Energy Challenge (PepsiCo): How can fans help to generate enough electricity to power the UEFA Champions League Friday Night Show in collaboration with Rockstar Energy Drink® and establish a sustainable model for power generation at future events?
  • Sustainable Food Challenge (Just Eat Takeaway): How to bring choice, joy and innovation to the food served around the final (including London, the fan zone and the stadium) while also creating healthy and sustainable options for fans?
  • Fan Engagement Challenge (Mastercard): How can we harness the power, passion and reach of football fans to create tangible, effective solutions for communities within the scope of fintech and digital fan engagement?

Who are the selected startups?

Green Energy Challenge

  • Pavegen
  • Partner: PepsiCo
  • Area of expertise: Smart flooring technology
  • Proposed solution: Transforming fans' footsteps into electrical energy to help power the UEFA Champions League Friday Night Show in collaboration with Rockstar Energy Drink®, assessing the potential for promoting renewables and sustainability awareness at future sporting and entertainment events. The pilot will be tested at Trafalgar Square's Champions Festival.

Sustainable Food Challenge 

  • My Emissions
  • Partner: Just Eat Takeaway.com
  • Area of expertise: Carbon labelling
  • Proposed solution: Offer a platform for food companies to measure and reduce environmental impact by testing carbon labelling* at the Champions League final.

*Grades carbon footprint of each item on a menu from A to E.

Fintech and Fan Engagement Challenge

  •  Pledgeball
  • Partner: Mastercard
  • Area of expertise: Tackling climate change through collective action.
  • Proposed solution: Boost Mastercard's carbon calculator adoption among football fans and launch engaging campaigns with authentic impact.

How is the winner selected?

Three workshops, held in London, will give Pavegen, My Emissions and Pledgeball an opportunity to draw on expert knowledge and guidance to refine their pilot projects.

Each startup will be invited to demonstrate the impact of their work at a showcase event at London's City Hall on 30 May 2024, two days before the Champions League final. An expert jury will then award an additional €45,000 prize to the competition's winner.

How does Champions Innovate fit into UEFA's overall sustainability strategy?

UEFA is committed to using football to make a positive impact on global sustainability issues. Champions Innovate complements our wider efforts to identify innovative and sustainability-focused solutions across the football ecosystem. It is fully aligned with our dedicated Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy for the 2024 Champions League final.

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