SBD/April 19, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

Scandal Still Haunting FIFA, With Two-Thirds Of World Cup Sponsor Slots Still Unsold For '18

In the wake of FIFA's corruption scandal, finding new sponsors has "not been easy," and now "two thirds of the sponsorship slots remain unsold" for the '18 World Cup in Russia, according to Steve Menary of the Abu Dhabi NATIONAL. At this stage in the commercial cycle for the '14 World Cup in Brazil, "most sponsors were in place but so far only 10 of up to 34 deals" have been confirmed for '18.  But as FIFA was "convulsed by corruption and scandal in the past couple of years," its reputation "took a hammering and advertisers walked away." Since Russian energy company Gazprom agreed in '13 to be a deal for the '14 and '18 World Cups, "only three companies have agreed major sponsorship deals for the tournament." FIFA has "signed up six out of eight top-tier Partners but Adidas, Coca Cola, Gazprom, Hyundai Kia Motors and Visa are existing sponsors; only the Chinese conglomerate [Dalian] Wanda is new." Another Chinese company, electronics outfit Hisense, this month "signed a deal to join existing advertisers Budweiser and McDonald’s as second-tier 'Sponsors' but FIFA wants between five to seven more companies in this category." FIFA said that the "only regional sponsor is Russia’s Alfa-Bank, out of a category of up to 20 sponsors." Hisense also only signed a short-term deal covering the '18 World Cup and "eschewed the subsequent tournament in Qatar" in '22 (, 4/18).

OCEAN FRONT: In N.Y., Andrew Das notes the Oceania Football Confederation, one of FIFA’s six regional governing bodies, "threw its collective support behind a bid" by the U.S., Mexico and Canada to host the '26 World Cup, "putting another powerful shoulder behind the effort to bring soccer’s biggest event back to North America." While the Oceania body is FIFA’s smallest confederation, its President, David Chung, is a FIFA VP, and his "unqualified support is yet another sign of the growing momentum toward approval of the bid, perhaps as soon as next year -- two years ahead of schedule" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/19).
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