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Has the Tarnished Reputation of FIFA Affected World Cup Sponsorship?

World Cup Sponsorship

Sponsorship is a large part of FIFA’s income stream and was apparently worth circa $1.6bn for the 2014 World Cup. It has been reported that sponsors have shied away from sponsoring this year’s tournament. The World Cup is one of the biggest, if not the biggest sporting event in the world. So who’s sponsoring this event and why might some companies have avoided this advertising opportunity?

FIFA Sponsors and Partners (2014 & 2018)

FIFA Partners (Tier 1 Sponsorship)

FIFA Partners have the highest level of association with FIFA and all FIFA events, as well as playing a wider role in supporting the development of football all around the world.

FIFA Partners in 2018 FIFA Partners in 2014
Adidas

Sports Apparel

Adidas

Sports Apparel

Coca-Cola

Non-Alcoholic Beverage

Coca-Cola

Non-Alcoholic Beverage

Wanda Group

Commercial Properties, Culture, Internet and Finance

Emirates

Airline

Gazprom

Global Energy Company

Hyundai / Kia Motors

Car Manufacturer

Hyundai – Kia

Car Manufacturer

Sony

Consumer Electronics

Qatar Airways

Airline

Visa

Financial Services

Visa

Financial Services

 

FIFA World Cup Sponsors (Tier 2 Sponsorship)

Tier 2 Sponsors have rights to the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup on a global basis.

2018 FIFA World Cup Sponsors 2014 FIFA World Cup Sponsors
Budweiser

Alcoholic Beverage

Budweiser

Alcoholic Beverage

Hisense

Consumer Electronics

Castrol

Industrial and Automotive Lubricants

McDonald’s

Food Service Retailer

Continental

Automotive Manufacturing

Mengniu

Dairy Company

Johnson & Johnson

Healthcare Supplier

Vivo

Technology Company (Smartphones)

McDonalds

Food Service Retailer

Moy Park

Poultry Meat Producer

Oi

Telecommunications Provider

Yingli

Solar Panel Manufacturers

 

REGIONAL SUPPORTERS (Tier 3 Sponsorship)

FIFA announced a new commercial structure in 2013 which gave companies the opportunity to purchase regional sponsorship packages for the 2018 World Cup. This tier provides regional sponsorship rights to up to 20 brands (4 per region) from North America, South America, Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia. You can find more information on FIFA’s sponsorship strategy here.

A Lack of Tier 2 Sponsorship

For the 2018 World Cup, FIFA has attracted five companies as sponsors (Tier 2) which is fewer than previous tournaments (8 in 2014 and 6 in 2010). But why are there fewer and less well known sponsors?

Mark Loosemores, Head of Sport and Senior Partner at Loosemores commented:

“FIFA has lost some of its brand appeal due to the recent controversies. Companies have to protect their image.  Aligning with a brand which is seen by some as toxic is a big risk.”

There was evidence that FIFA wasn’t perhaps as attractive as a sponsorship proposition when the organisation reported a record loss of $369m in 2016 and a further loss of $192m in 2017.

With the corruption and bribery scandal which has surrounded FIFA in recent years, it’s easy to see why some potential sponsors might have been reluctant to associate themselves with the FIFA brand.

Brands Are Seizing the Opportunity

With fewer western companies sponsoring the 2018 World Cup tournament,  Hisense, Mengniu and Vivo have seized the chance.

The 2018 World Cup offers a massive opportunity for companies to advertise on a worldwide stage and these prominent Chinese companies have stepped up.

The recent controversies do appear to have adversely affected FIFA’s sponsorship programme.  However, with the lure of global exposure from the World Cup, which remains football’s most iconic event, some major brands are still keen to be associated with the tournament. FIFA has been aiming to rebuild trust and confidence with a new president Gianni Infantino in charge of the organisation. If the World Cup in Russia runs smoothly, there is the potential for the tournament to be seen as a positive, fresh start for FIFA as well as one that generates a healthy profit.



 

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