World Cup 2018 sponsorship revenues drop by £179m after Fifa bribery scandal

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World Cup sponsorship slumped by more than 10 per cent for the upcoming tournament in Russia from the 2014 event in Brazil, new data has revealed.

Football’s global governing body Fifa, which generates the vast majority of its revenue from the World Cup, has been embroiled in corruption scandals since the last tournament. 

Some analysts say bribery that allegedly reached right to the top of the organisation has put off brands who do not want to be tarnished by association.

The 2015-18 cycle has been a “tougher sell” for Fifa, than the previous one, according to data company Nielsen. 

Fifa brought in $1.45bn from sponsors for the Russia World Cup, compared to $1.63bn last time around, Nielsen found.

Sony, Johnson & Johnson and BP’s Castrol, have all pulled out of sponsoring the tournament.

However, a new crop of Chinese sponsors have replaced European and North American ones, helping Fifa to “weather the storm”, Nielsen said, 

The Switzerland-based governing body will be hoping to see revenues bounce back by the time of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, thanks to deep-pocketed Middle Eastern brands capitalising on the event being held in the region for the first time.

“Asian sponsors are growing in prominence, and indeed are the most significant at World Cup 2018, accounting for 39 per cent of deals,” Nielsen said. 

“Chinese sponsors emerging for the first time during this cycle have been the major factor. Football has boomed in China, with strong encouragement from the government, which is keen to host the World Cup as soon as possible. 

“Fifa’s Chinese deals can be seen as the country’s corporations rowing behind the national effort to develop the game and attract the World Cup.”

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