The FIFA World Cup 2014, scheduled to kick off on Jun 12 in
Brazil, will provide marketers with a dream opportunity to push
their brands. Four billion fans are expected to tune in on
television and a multitude of digital and social media channels.
During this month-long sporting event, an estimated 500,000
soccer fans from across the globe are expected to travel to
Brazil. Obviously, it will be a big boost for the hoteliers,
restaurants, retailers and tourist hotspots. A total of 12
Brazilian cities will be hosting the world's largest soccer event
that comes every four years. These provide an added incentive to
even the non-official partners to up the ante for advertising and
FIFA's Sponsorship Strategy
To capitalize on this huge money-minting potential, FIFA has a
three-tier sponsorship structure. The first tier consists of the
FIFA Partners, followed by the FIFA World Cup Sponsors and the
National Supporters for each FIFA event.
The FIFA Partners include
The Coca-Cola Co.
Hyundai Motor Co.
), Emirates Airline,
). These six companies have the highest level of association with
all FIFA events and support the development of the sport from the
grassroots to the top level.
The FIFA World Cup Sponsors comprise Budweiser - the beer brand
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV
Johnson & Johnson
), Castrol - the motor oil and lubricants firm owned by
), Moy Park - the food company owned by
Marfrig Global Foods S.A.
), Continental AG, Brazilian telecommunications giant Oi and
Yingli Solar - the photovoltaic brand of
Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd.
). The sponsors in this category have exclusive rights for brand
association, the use of selected marketing assets and media
exposure, as well as ticketing and hospitality offers.
The final tier of the National Supporters allows local companies
to promote themselves in the domestic market. These include
Brazilian Trade and Investment agency Apex-Brasil, leading sports
retailer Centauro, confectionery manufacturer Garoto,
), insurance company Liberty Seguros and language school WiseUp.
With such a formidable line-up, FIFA is expected to rake in at
least $4 billion in sponsorships and television rights from this
The Vast Playing Field
Conservative estimates have revealed that the FIFA World Cup will
be equivalent to having the Super Bowl every day for over a
month. About 108 million people reportedly watched the Super Bowl
in 2013, while 3.2 billion watched the last FIFA World Cup with
715 million watching the finals alone.
In order to have a significant TV presence in all the soccer
games and related coverage, about eight companies have paid $600
million on an aggregate to premier Brazilian TV network Globo.
This translates to $75 million per sponsor, which is almost
comparable to 20 thirty-second Super Bowl spots for each
marketer. The sponsors include
), Coca-Cola, Banco Itau, Johnson & Johnson, Hyundai, Nestle,
Oi and local retailer Magazine Luiza.
Globo will offer each marketer a minimum of 1,120 video
insertions, including 451 thirty-second TV commercials, 359
vinhetas, and several quick mentions with visuals when announcers
talk about World Cup games. Vinhetas are 5-second commercials
created by Globo that showcase four marketers at a time and are
shown at the beginning and end of soccer games, and during
commercial breaks and other programs.
On the other end of the spectrum, social media and mobile
marketing platforms provide another lucrative option to
marketers. Social media like
)-owned YouTube offer an emotive and interactive platform for
fans to interact and share experiences. According to Twitter, the
2012 Euro Cup final alone generated 16.5 million total tweets
from a viewing audience of just under 300 million, while the last
soccer World Cup final drew more than twice as many viewers.
Consequently, they provide a huge potential for integrated
branded content to reach millions on a real time and generate
The participating soccer teams and individual players also
attract global audiences. National team jerseys and merchandise
churn additional revenues for these sponsors. Coca-Cola, one of
the most solicited brands for sponsorships, is an official
sponsor of soccer teams like Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and
Ecuador. The other most prominent sponsors include Adidas, Claro
- a part of America
Movil S.A.B. de C.V.
), Gillette - the well-known brand of
The Procter & Gamble Company
), and dairy producers SanCor.
Last but not least, digital billboards, posters and banners
across the cities and around the stadium give advertisers another
opportunity to fight through the clutter and reach the target
Despite the possible avenues for minting huge money, there lie
some inherent risks. First, broadcast advertising opportunities
are limited in soccer matches -- it is played in 45-minute
continuous halves with the only commercial breaks coming at
Secondly, with FIFA commercial partnerships sold out years in
advance to the actual event, it becomes difficult for companies
on the outside to cash in on the live action. Finally, marketing
costs among competing brands are often too high to earn a
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The Game Changers
With limited options to exploit commercial spots on television
via live coverage, the focus has steadily shifted to social media
and mobile platforms on smartphones, tablets and other handheld
devices. Even players like Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, who
command a significant fan base, provide a much-needed boost
through their product endorsements or through brand logos.
To further extend the shelf-life of this sporting event,
marketers are also organizing contests and brand promotions
through freebies, mementos and other interactive engagements.
This can even turn the most novice spectators into active
campaigners for the sporting event as well as for the brand
It is too early to predict whether such efforts will actually
reap synergistic benefits from this marketing blitz. The
guaranteed winners from this event, however, are surely to be
FIFA and the games' fans.