FIFA Struggling to Find Sponsors for Russia World Cup

FIFA is facing a challenge in finding sponsors for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, despite the event being two months away. This is due to the fact that fewer companies have signed sponsorship deals, compared to the same period before the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, CNBC reported.

While FIFA has managed to retain its long-term partners including Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia Motors, Visa and Adidas, the number of new “partners” at this point are only Russian state oil giant Gazprom, Qatar Airways, and Wanda Group.

Sponsors are separated into three groups – FIFA partners, FIFA World Cup sponsors and regional supporters. FIFA partners have the highest level of association with FIFA and all its events, as well as play a wider role in supporting the development of football worldwide.

Meanwhile, FIFA World Cup sponsors enjoy strong branding associations with the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup. They are offered selected marketing assets and media exposure and have ticketing and hospitality offers for the events. Regional supporters are companies within the pre-defined global regions that are allowed to promote an association with the FIFA World Cup in the domestic market.

Currently, five companies have signed on as FIFA sponsors, in return for their logos to be featured in Russian stadiums, as well as media exposure during the World Cup. The companies are Budweiser, McDonald’s, dairy company Mengniu, electronics manufacturer Hisense and smartphone company VIVO. The current number, however, was lesser than the eight companies that had their logos featured in Brazil in 2014, including Castrol, Continental, McDonald’s and Johnson & Johnson.

However, according to multiple media reports, Castrol, Continental, and Johnson & Johnson severed ties with FIFA in 2015, after reports of corruption within the association surfaced. Criminal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice led to the arrest of senior football officials and the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Beverage giant Coca-Cola and fast-food chain McDonald’s, as well as angry fans, also pressured FIFA to clean up its act.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Russian Railways company became an Official European Supporter of the World Cup. The company will organize transportation services for the tournament’s games, with a total of 75 free trains set to make 728 rides on 31 routes during the tournament.