The FIFA Mess: A Look at the Numbers

Soccer fans around the world are well aware of the current ethics crisis haunting FIFA.  The soccer governing body is beset by allegations of bribery, graft and vote selling.  Fans hoping for change from within are severely disappointed with Sepp Blatter posied to continue leading the organization.  Lately, fans and journalists have been calling on FIFA sponsors to take a stand against the organization, but the response had been (at best) lukewarm.  We thought it worth taking a look at some of those sponsors and the money at play in their FIFA relationship.

Tier-One FIFA World Cup sponsors pay almost $125 million for the right to reach 30 billion sets of TV eyeballs and almost 3 million stadium attendees.  Add in the enormous investment necessary to leverage the FIFA relationship (through ad materials, hospitality events, commercials, etc…) and only a serious company can join the elite group of eight World Cup partnerships offered by FIFA.  It was therefore surprising when it was announced that little known Chinese renewable energy company, Yingli Green Energy,  had joined titans such as Budweiser and McDonalds in the upper echelon of sports sponsorship.  The deal entitles Yingli to stadium advertising, the use of the FIFA mark, prime real estate in fan zones and much more.

These sponsors certainly have the financial horsepower and brand recognition to be agents for change, but based on recent statements, they appear to have little incentive to do so.  Brian Strauss of The Sporting News has done an outstanding job covering this issue.  We recommend checking this piece of the reaction of Coke and Visa to the breaking scandal.  This recent piece in the Independent suggests that the sponsors are starting to take action.