Is the World Cup toxic for advertisers?

For the past six months, a public art installation in the heart of Moscow has counted down the days, minutes and seco...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 12:02 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 12:02 AM

For the past six months, a public art installation in the heart of Moscow has counted down the days, minutes and seconds until the start of the World Cup.

The logos of corporate sponsors are displayed at the base of the installation, a reminder of the big money behind the tournament.

A handful of global brands are represented, including McDonald's, Visa, Coca-Cola and Budweiser. But there are also new, less familiar logos from Chinese companies: The property group Wanda, electronics maker Hisense, smartphone producer Vivo and Mengniu Dairy.

According to media planning firm Zenith, Chinese brands will account for more than a third of the estimated $2.4 billion in additional global annual ad spend generated by the World Cup.

That will mean plenty of ads from the new sponsors.

"While that might be in tune with Chinese consumers, I think it's out of kilter with what European consumers would typically expect to see during a major sporting event," said Simon Chadwick, a sports marketing professor at the University of Salford.

The changing lineup of brands reflects major trends that have played out since the last edition of the world's biggest sporting event.

There was an exodus of established FIFA sponsors following the 2015 corruption scandal that ensnared top FIFA officials. Brands are also worried about being too closely associated with host country Russia, which has been accused of meddling in US elections and is still under sanctions for invading and annexing Crimea in 2014.

Market research company Nielsen estimated this week that FIFA took in $1.6 billion during the current four-year sponsorship cycle, a decline of 11% from the previous edition of the tournament held in Brazil.

"You're getting less corporate interest," said Patrick McNally, a consultant who helped create FIFA's sponsorship model in the 1970s. "The top companies aren't [lining] up like they once did. They can't attract any big names."

Related: FIFA goes after the ticket resale industry

Experts and brand managers said that's mostly attributable to location.

"Russia has been a big, big problem for a lot of sponsors and commercial partners because it's difficult to read the situation," said Chadwick, who ticked off a list of controversial issues involving Russia including LGBT rights, sports doping, Crimea and the Skripal poisonings.

Major brands have proceeded cautiously.

"What you haven't seen is them using any cultural references to Russia," said Steve Martin, the CEO of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment, which has worked on Coca-Cola's World Cup ad campaigns since 2006.

"It tends to be focused on the preparation for football and what's going to happen on the pitch," he said.

Related: 2018 World Cup tickets pass $1,000 mark

CNN reached out to four western sponsors - Visa, McDonald's, Budweiser and Coca-Cola - to ask whether they planned to downplay Russia in their ad campaigns.

"Our sponsorship is not an endorsement of any government or policy, but rather part of our aim to bring people together to celebrate life's greatest moments," Budweiser said. The others did not respond.

FIFA hasn't signed a new western sponsor since 2011, contributing to the revenue crunch.

Western companies may continue to stay away from the tournament in 2022 because of risks associated with host nation Qatar.

It is involved in a tense diplomatic standoff with its Gulf neighbors, and human rights groups have criticized event organizers for not doing enough to protect construction workers from potentially fatal levels of heat and humidity.

FIFA announced Wednesday that the 2026 World Cup would be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Could China be next?

"There's probably a long-term goal that eventually we're going to see a World Cup in China," said Martin.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 554536

Reported Deaths: 7083
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1155051679
Ramsey47786853
Dakota42410422
Anoka38477415
Washington24913273
Stearns20994218
St. Louis16774297
Scott15946117
Wright14764127
Olmsted1273297
Sherburne1060080
Carver980145
Clay781289
Rice7632101
Blue Earth695840
Kandiyohi627380
Crow Wing615086
Chisago548250
Otter Tail542673
Benton530597
Mower450532
Goodhue442471
Douglas441870
Winona438149
Nobles400248
Morrison394659
McLeod394355
Isanti375159
Beltrami372257
Itasca370752
Polk365367
Steele361914
Becker353948
Lyon347848
Carlton329352
Freeborn326829
Pine311821
Nicollet306542
Brown294439
Mille Lacs281250
Le Sueur269722
Todd268730
Cass249626
Meeker235937
Waseca231221
Martin212529
Wabasha19953
Roseau197318
Renville172043
Hubbard171841
Dodge17123
Redwood166435
Houston162614
Cottonwood156821
Fillmore15169
Pennington150619
Chippewa145836
Wadena144021
Faribault143419
Sibley135710
Kanabec130621
Aitkin128636
Watonwan12549
Rock122719
Jackson117310
Yellow Medicine110419
Pipestone109725
Murray10229
Pope10226
Swift99518
Marshall85617
Stevens82010
Lake78419
Clearwater77414
Koochiching76913
Wilkin76812
Lac qui Parle73522
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5478
Norman5229
Mahnomen5048
Unassigned49578
Kittson46622
Red Lake3877
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods3053
Cook1450

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357796

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55970604
Linn20297330
Scott19082234
Black Hawk15550306
Woodbury14897221
Johnson1404281
Dubuque13153202
Dallas1089196
Pottawattamie10747162
Story1031147
Warren555186
Clinton537390
Cerro Gordo521986
Webster508291
Sioux506073
Marshall477174
Muscatine459896
Des Moines441465
Wapello4253120
Buena Vista421740
Jasper407670
Plymouth397079
Lee368155
Marion354575
Jones293055
Henry286137
Bremer279260
Carroll279151
Crawford262040
Boone258533
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242043
Mahaska224850
Jackson217942
Kossuth212663
Clay211025
Tama206671
Delaware202839
Winneshiek194433
Page190321
Buchanan188831
Cedar183823
Fayette182941
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178049
Harrison176373
Clayton167055
Butler162534
Mills158620
Cherokee157138
Floyd155342
Lyon154741
Madison153919
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149051
Iowa145524
Hancock143534
Winnebago136031
Grundy135232
Cass134354
Calhoun133211
Jefferson130635
Emmet128840
Shelby128337
Sac127219
Louisa126849
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125241
Union124032
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112721
Palo Alto110922
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10030
Clarke98223
Keokuk94530
Monroe94128
Ida89633
Adair84532
Pocahontas83621
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7078
Taylor65212
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4949
Adams3284
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 32°
Mason City
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 30°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 32°
Austin
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 32°
Charles City
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 32°
Tracking an arctic front, cooling us down for the workweek
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Electric car show

Image

Walk a Block

Image

Cleaning up Chester Woods

Image

Little Thistle collecting donations

Image

Rochester United PKG

Image

Grizzlies PKG

Image

Sara's Saturday Night Forecast

Image

April Tool's Day

Image

Byron baseball starts season strong

Image

Hayfield BB PKG

Community Events