BrandArena: Reform: Media Deals, Not Sponsors Can Bring FIFA To Its Knees

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Reform: Media Deals, Not Sponsors Can Bring FIFA To Its Knees

While sponsors have been urged to boycott FIFA, the media which pays billions for World Cup rights, according to experts, are the ones that carry real power for reform.

Andrew Woodward, a sports marketing consultant and former global lead of Visa Inc’s brand and sponsorship communications, argued that any sponsor who considered dumping their sponsorship would be mad.

In a post on, Woodward cautioned sponsors to think long term and big picture by not coming out too strongly against FIFA or making themselves the story. The PR guru said "People continue to miss the point on sponsors. Quite simply, they’re not the sole holder of power here. People are ‘barking up the wrong tree’. There are a few other trees to ‘bark up’ first.

"Some of the media reports over the past week have correctly stated that FIFA received $1.63 billion (all figures in US dollars) from sponsors. That’s how much income FIFA received from 2011 to 2014 from sponsors like Coca Cola, Adidas, Kia Hyundai, Emirates, Sony, McDonalds and Visa.

"It is a big chunk of money. But guess what? FIFA’s income over the same period was $5.14 billion. Where does the other $3.51billion come from? he asked rhetorically.

"Well, $1.02 billion comes from hospitality, licensing and “other” sources (let’s not rat-hole about ‘other’ right now).
That leaves $2.48 billion left. Where does that come from. OMG… it comes from the media! Yes, that’s right, the fourth estate forked out just under $2.5 billion to show the greatest sports show on earth. It is FIFA’s single largest income line item", he said.

A sports analyst in Nigeria, Samson Olaitun also share same view with Woodward, he noted that a major factor that can really make the FIFA reform work if when there are threat on media deals as many sponsors are at the horn of a dilemma despite condemning the corruption scandal.

"There is a need to force change in FIFA leadership and the media also has a major role to play. Media deals contribute immensely to the fund generated by FIFA. This could play a key role in ensuring that FIFA ensure that the football governing body is reformed aside from sponsors threat to boycott or terminate their deals", he said.  

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