The 2014 World Cup is poised to be a record-breaking sport marketing event offering massive payoffs for advertisers who play their cards right. Advertisers can capitalize on this worldwide quadrennial event to build a global brand and amass a global following. Similarly, marketers can realize both short-term benefits such as incremental sales and brand awareness and long-term benefits, including increased equity and brand loyalty. The numbers to be generated by the games are expected to be huge in every category.
While preparation for the games started long ago, the June 12 kickoff marks the official start of the month-long event which stages matches in 12 cities across Brazil. An estimated 4 Billion fans will watch on television or other social media, up from the 3.2 Billion that viewed the 2010 World Cup. An additional 500,000 fans are expected to head to Brazil to attend the games, bringing in considerable revenues for hotels, restaurants, retailers and others in the travel and hospitality industries.
The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) will likely take in over $4 Billion in sponsorship and television rights from the World Cup, including $1.4 Billion from sponsorship revenue and $2.6 Million from television rights.
FIFA has a new, three-tiered sponsorship structure for the World Cup, with twenty-two corporations participating as either FIFA Partners, World Cup Sponsors or National Supporters. The six FIFA partners are afforded the highest level of involvement with FIFA and associated with all major FIFA events and the development of soccer around the world. The FIFA Partners are Addidas, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Emirates, Sony and Visa who collectively have paid $730 Million for their partnership with FIFA. The eight middle tier World Cup Sponsors have sponsorship rights for the World Cup and the Confederation Cup and together ponied up about $500 Million for participation. The eight National Supporters, which represent the third tier, paid $170 Million and have the right to promote their association in domestic markets.
The traditional television broadcast outlets will be streaming the games continuously for roughly 30 days, offering a lot of advertising punch. Globo, Brazil’s TV network, will receive $600 Million from 8 companies (including AmBev, Banco Itau, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Hyundai, Nestle, Oi and Magazine Luiza), which represents roughly $75 Million per sponsor for advertising rights. For their commitment, each television sponsor will get 1,120 video insertions, including 451 30-second television commercials, plus 359 mini 5-second ads and several mentions by the game announcers with visuals. Also, digital billboards, posters and banners in each host city and stadium provide additional advertising outlets.
Traditional broadcast marketing will no longer be the sole primary focus for advertisers. Social media now plays a starring role too. Because the games are typically played in continuous action without timeouts, television broadcast advertising is somewhat limited. Also, the newer, broader social media landscape offers a new dynamic to the games and will likely be the main reason for record setting exposure. While Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms and mobile marketing were up and running four years ago, they were nothing like they are today. These outlets offer real-time, emotive and interactive platforms and integrated brand content able to reach audiences across the globe 24/7. Moreover, these audiences are not only watching and following the games, they are watching and following the teams and the players individually, which gives advertisers any number of ways to link to the event. To understand the reach one need to look no further than Christian Ronaldo who has 25.1 Million Twitter followers and 76.4 Million Facebook friends and Neymar who has 10.1 Million Twitter followers and 18.7 Million Facebook friends. And the fan base will continue to grow from the games. With thirty-two teams and stars on each team, many different advertisers have the chance to jump into the marketing game.
The potential rewards of connecting with the 2014 World Cup do not come without risks, however. No matter how hard they plan, sponsors, advertisers and the media cannot control the upcoming narrative of the Cup. Brazil faces numerous social problems, including poverty, substandard living conditions, income disparity and other economic and humanitarian issues. Many Brazilians and others around the world have been unhappy about the Brazil hosting the Cup with their primary concern that FIFA is benefiting more from the Cup than the people of Brazil. The amount of spending on the Cup, the stadiums and the infrastructure bothers many who argue the money and efforts should be directed towards public and social services not spectator sports. Last year demonstrators rioted against hosting the Cup, and marketers must be prepared or face the possibility of backlash. Those marketing in connection with the World Cup must be sensitive to these issues and be smart, prepared and flexible to adapt their message and communications depending on what unfolds just before and during the games. They need to manage risks and have alternative plans and responses.
The upcoming World Cup will undoubtedly be the most popular worldwide sporting event ever and likely set records for viewership, social media exposure and advertising expenditures. The payoffs are potentially enormous for those lucky enough to get in on the action. However, advertisers must be socially aware and sensitive to the citizens of the host country. If they do, they can be among the lucky who score big at this record event.