World Cup sponsorship value falls, Asian sponsors fill gap
The 2018 Russia World Cup has had trouble securing sponsorship compared to other years, research has found, but Chinese firms have stepped up to help Fifa weather the storm.
Football competitions, clubs and players have enjoyed strong growth value in recent years and although FIFA’s 2015-2018 revenues are expected to be more than twice the 1999-2002 cycle revenues, this World Cup has been tougher to sell.
Fifa sponsor revenue fell from $1,629m (£1,214m) to $1,450m between events, a study by Nielsen found.
A new crop of sponsors, including several Chinese firms, helped Fifa cover the sponsorship gap. World football's administrative body expects to return to growth in the cycle leading up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Asian sponsors have been the most significant at World Cup 2018, accounting for 39% of the deals, especially in China. The Asian giant encourages investment in the sport since it’s keen to host a World Cup as soon as possible.
Nielsen expects that it will have no trouble finding sponsors from Middle Eastern brands seeking to capitalize on the region’s first World Cup.
There could also be a positive response from sponsors to the ’FIFA 2.0’ modernizing reforms introduced by president Gianni Infantino in 2016. These include investing in football development and increasing participation, introducing new standards for transparency and governance, and aiming to double the number of female players worldwide to 60m by 2026.