Earlier this month, the Sunday Times published allegations that a Qatari official bribed FIFA to choose Doha for the 2022 World Cup. Since, there’s been lots of back and forth on what happens now. Qatar has denied the allegations, but there are rumors that FIFA told the United States to be ready if the organization decides to move the event (which, for the record, FIFA has denied).
Last week, Reuters reported that one group that can’t easily be ignored has gotten involved. Some of FIFA’s biggest corporate sponsors began publicly calling on the organization to take a thorough look into the allegations. Such public concern from sponsors is rare, and indicates that FIFA has a lot of money to lose if it handles this the wrong way. Here’s what the financial picture looks like:
Reuters has more on why this is so important:
It is unusual for sponsors to say anything publicly on such a sensitive issue and the comments reflect concern over the knock-on effects on their image.
“This underlines that companies need to make sure that any high profile association enhances their reputation rather than damages it,” said Andy Sutherden, Global Head of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship at communications firm H+K Strategies.
FIFA, which Blatter has led since 1998, earned almost $1.4 billion last year, including more than $600 million from the sale of broadcasting rights and more than $400 million from sponsors and other marketing partners.
Sony, Adidas, Visa and Coca-Cola are among six main FIFA sponsors who collectively paid around $180 million last year. Sony’s sponsorship agreement, which also included the 2010 World Cup, expires this year, giving it particular leverage as it negotiates a new deal.