Does the World Cup Need Marketing?

3.5 billion of people.

Leading character: Football

But does an event of these of dimensions really need a marketing communication?

Starting from the definition of marketing, I’d like to go with you through that.

“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising”.

Regarding what we’ve just read it’s reasonable assume that even if it’s an international event, well known across all over the world, it is necessary “to market it”, through advertisings, sponsorships etc

But still why? Two reasons:

  1. Keeping the leadership. It’s necessary to invest money in this event to maintain the audience and yield it year by year. There is even the chance that soon or later some national teams will decide to create an association in order to have their own international competition where the best national teams in the world will be involved.
  2. Amazing opportunity for companies to appear and show their product to million and million of people at the same time. For instance, let’s take a look to McDonald’s. It doesn’t have a strong presence in Russia. The result is a huge investment from the company in this event, building a connection between its product and the World Cup. How? Personalysing the packaging, creating specific menu related to Russian’s culture, and also giving the chance to get the tickets!

Given the global focus on this sporting event, many official sponsors and other companies will attempt to capture the attention of those following along.

Even TV rights are a big business. For istance ABC/ESPN will broadcast the matches in English and Univision holds Spanish language rights, paying $425 million in 2005 for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, as well as other associated competitions.

FIFA, in fact, negotiates individual rights for the games in each country. For instance Fox and Telemundo will take over this year and in 2022, at cost of $1.25 billion.

Main problem? Soccer matches usually do not feature timeouts! That makes it a little more difficult for the buyers of broadcast rights to monetize their investment.

They solved this problem for example during the previous Wolrd Cup in Brazil. FIFA concering player’s health conditions about the heat during the tournament had reserved the right to hold three-minute breaks after 30 minutes intervals so players can rehydrate.

This is because teams are only allowed three substitutions during the entire match and players cannot return once they’ve been replaced, leading to concerns about player safety.

Furthermore FIFA has official sponsors in three tiers: FIFA Partners, World Cup sponsors, and Regional Supporters (which are all Russian companies). FIFA describes the difference below:

The seven FIFA Partners have the highest level of association with FIFA and all FIFA events as well as playing a wider role in supporting the development of football all around the world, from grassroots right up to the top level at the FIFA World Cup.

This allows FIFA and its Partners to form true partnerships, adding great value to the engagement for both sides.
Here we can take a look to its Partners, Sponsors & Supporters.

Partners: Adidas, Coca-Cola,Wanda-group,Gazprom,Hyundai-Kia motors, Qatar Airways, Visa.
Sponsors: Bud, Hisense, McDonald’s, Mengniu,Vivo

Regional Supporters: Alfa Bank, Rostelecom

In conclusion what we can assume is that Marketing techniques are used by FIFA to keep the notoriety and visibility of the competition and in order to achieve more contracts giving to the companies the chance to get the attention of the audience before, during and afterwards a football match. It’s totally a business which will never stop especially now that the most important organizations are trying to imitate the American Entertaiment regarding sport activities, creating a real show for the supporters and fans.

And now.. LET’S PLAY! It’s World Cup time!

By: Mattia Del Latte


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