SBD/July 28, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

With World Cup Over, FIFA Sponsors May Quietly Decrease Pushes For Reform

FIFA's global partners and World Cup sponsors are unlikely to "pound their fists and demand reforms" from the governing body, as they "have a long history of enduring serial FIFA controversies in silence, and that is unlikely to change," according to Jack Ewing of the N.Y. TIMES. There "is just too much money at stake." But recent scandals "present sponsors with a dilemma." Any comments they make "only generate more negative publicity and risk souring their relationships with FIFA." But silence "looks like complacency." Spain-based IESE Business School assistant professor Jan Simon: "That is a great opportunity from a brand point of view to say, 'We are the company that wants change to happen.'" But Ewing writes it "is not clear that sponsors get much credit from fans for being principled." The tone of sponsor statements regarding alleged FIFA improprieties "has been several notches below outrage, raising questions about how aggressively they will push for change." If any sponsor "has the ear of FIFA grandees, it is Adidas," as the relationship "goes back decades and has been profitable for both." adidas Chief Corporate Communications Dir Jan Runau, regarding allegations that FIFA execs were bribed to award Qatar the '22 World Cup, said that the company was "concerned" about the accusations, but also "very happy" with its FIFA partnership. For now, sponsors "are awaiting the results of the investigation" into the Qatar bid (N.Y. TIMES, 7/28).

VEHICLE FOR GROWTH: Vehicle valuation firm Kelley Blue Book today released a study indicating that on its site, auto brands that advertised during the World Cup in Brazil experienced twice as much growth in consumer interest compared to those that did not advertise. The greatest traffic surge occurred during the second week of the group stage, when the U.S. played Portugal and Germany. Kia and Volkswagen both saw 18% increases in terms of searches during the World Cup, while Hyundai was up 14% and Nissan up 12% (KBB).
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