FIFA sponsors to lose fan engagement following controversy
World Cup sponsors could lose up to 20% of their fan engagement strength because of their association with FIFA amid the current corruption and bribery scandal.
Seven FIFA officials have been arrested and are among 14 football officials accused by US prosecutors of taking more than $US150 million in bribes. Accusations have also surfaced related to voting on the placement of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigned his position recently, saying: “I don’t feel I have a mandate from the entire world of football”. Blatter has not been implicated in any of the charges but acknowledges that major change was needed at the top of FIFA.
A telephone study conducted by Brand Keys measured brand engagement across seven major US FIFA sponsor-brands and determined the effects of their association with FIFA.
The study calculated current fan engagement to reflect their current standing versus brand category competitors. The changed fan percentage is based on how fans perceived the brands after their continued involvement with FIFA.
The results were:
- Adidas decreased from 82% to 70%,
- Budweiser from 81% to 61%,
- Coke 89% to 80%,
- Hyundai 94% to 88%,
- McDonald’s 79% to 62%,
- Sony 83% toand
- Visa 87% to 71%.
Budweiser had the biggest drop at a 20% decrease in fan engagement.
“The perceived value of the event has caused brands to turn a blind eye to decades of accusations. Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff says, “In light of the new charges you can expect that they’ll all express deep concern over the corruption charges and negative publicity.”
FIFA sponsors have praised the positive steps forward for the organisation and asked them to focus on fixing the damaged reputation of the game.
Visa and Coke have come out saying that they expect a fast overhaul at FIFA and want the organisation to “act with urgency” Visa was the first sponsor to warn FIFA that they would jump ship if they did not start “rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere.”
Electronic Arts, FIFA video game developer, says it’s “supportive of FIFA’s examination of its organisation and the important steps being taken toward reform.”
Sponsors are a major part of FIFA’s revenue – FIFA collected $1.6 billion in sponsorship money in the four years leading up to the 2014 World Cup, nearly half of which came from its six top partners, according to research firm IEG. Overall, FIFA took in $5.72 billion in the 2014 cycle.