(WFI) A senior FIFA marketing executive is trying to keeping a stiff upper lip amid the corruption scandal enveloping world football.
Jean-Francois Pathy, FIFA’s Head of Marketing Alliances, declined to say June 17 whether any new sponsors would be announced during the Women’s World Cup, which ends July 5.
“These things are confidential, so I just cannot give you any information,” Pathy said at a news conference to promote the tournament’s Adidas-outfitted volunteer program.
FIFA lost Emirates and Sony last year. Both global sponsors had previously gone public about their unease with the slow pace of FIFA’s promised reforms. Pathy declined to comment on efforts to replace the Dubai airline and Japanese electronics company.
“Current sponsors, they are great supporters,” Pathy said. “We’re on daily contact with them, we work with them on many programs, they are behind us.”
“In any cycle, the sales cycle is ongoing. I don’t think it’s the right platform to talk about the overall sponsorship program.”
FIFA has been subject to troubling headlines over the past several years, which climaxed with the May 27 raid of a Zurich hotel and announcement of 14 current or former members and associates charged with corruption in the United States. Canada 2015 was only able to sell three of its allotted six national sponsorship slots to telecom and broadcast rights holder Bell Canada, the Canadian division of Anheuser-Busch InBev and Japanese software company Trend micro. Canada 2015 chief marketing and communications officer Sandra Gage said she is confident corporate partner support has not been negatively affected.
“It’s the way that you look at the partnerships,” Gage said. “So you might look at three of six national supporters, to be honest we have the federal government who could easily be the fourth one and we have six provinces that could easily be even more.”
The federal government committed $15 million and the six host provinces $2 million each. The overall budget is $90 million.
In February, NOC chair Victor Montagliani said the budget for domestic sponsorship was $12 million to $20 million, but conceded that revenue would be closer to $12 million. At the time, he said more sponsors were to be announced. But they never materialized.
“Our business model might be a bit different,” Gage said. “Our financial model is well in place with the support that we also receive through our government partners. We’re very confident.”
Pathy and Gage spoke the morning after the United States edged Nigeria 1-0 before 52,193 at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada 2015’s second biggest crowd to date and the most people to attend a soccer match of any type in Vancouver since the North American Soccer League’s 1983 Soccer Bowl championship.
Nielsen estimated 5 million viewers watched the FOX broadcast, a record for soccer on the network. Viewership peaked at 6.3 million — remarkable because it was up against Game 6 of ABC’s coverage of NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. FOX is averaging 1.04 million viewers through the first round, up from the nearly 600,000 on ESPN platforms during Germany 2011.
The 24-nation group stage drew an average announced attendance of 22,478.
Matches involving Canada and the United States were the biggest draws, averaging 41,680.
The round of 16 begins June 20 with China versus Cameroon in Edmonton and Germany versus Sweden in Ottawa.
Group A winner Canada (1-2-0) hosts Switzerland (1-0-2) in Vancouver on June 21. Group D winner United States (2-1-0) meets Colombia (1-1-1) in Edmonton on June 22.
France v. South Korea; Brazil v. Australia; Japan v. Netherlands; and Norway v. England.
By INSIDER writer Bob Mackin
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