With just ten days to go until hosts Brazil take on Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, we take a look at the various brands and corporations supporting each of the 32 participating teams.
- Brazil: Nike, Itaú, Vivo, Sadia, Guaraná Antartica, Mastercard, Nestle, Samsung, Extra, Gillette, Volkswagen, Voegol, Englishtown, Seguros Unimed, Parmigiani, Tenys Pé Baruel
- Croatia: Nike, INA, PBZ, Ožujsko Pivo, Generali Osiguranje, Mercedes-Benz (Jolly Autoline), Anic Holding Plus, Konzum, Autotrans, Zagreb, Di Caprio by Varteks, Ban Tours, Jana, Pik, Ledo
- Mexico: Nature Nutrition, Gillette, Ford, Bimbo, Comex, Inter Jet, Roshfrans, Corona, Lala, Visa, Hublot, Adidas, Banamex, Coca-Cola, Movistar
- Cameroon: Puma, Orange, Centauro, Tangui, Bolloré
Brazil is synonymous with soccer, and there are many global companies aiming to tap into the country’s passion for the beautiful game as its beloved Seleção, packed with young talents like Neymar, Oscar and Willian, attempt to be crowned world champions for a sixth time on home soil. With corporate interest in the hosts having soared in the run up to the tournament, recent deals with major brands like Samsung and Mastercard have enabled the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to more than double its sponsorship revenue over the last five years, from an estimated R$107.4 million (US$46.3 million) in 2008 to R$235.5 (US$101.6 million) million in 2013. Nike’s current contract, negotiated in 2008 and which runs until 2018, is estimated to be worth US$34 million to the host association, making it the fourth largest kit deal in international soccer.
Croatia, Brazil’s opponents in the opening match of this summer’s tournament and another of Nike’s clients, have a similarly stocked portfolio of national team sponsors. However, the vast majority are not international brands and thus unheard of outside the country.
Reigning Olympic champions Mexico, meanwhile, count on the support of several international companies, including Coca-Cola, Movistar, Visa, Hublot and Procter & Gamble. Mexico’s national soccer body, the FMF, has a number of sponsorship agreements that include marketing initiatives specifically targeting Latino fans in the US market or revolving around the senior team’s annual tour of the US. Those deals are negotiated on the federation’s behalf by Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the commercial arm of Major League Soccer (MLS). There is, however, a raft of core sponsors supporting the Mexican national team no matter where it plays, including Ford, Bimbo, Comex, Inter Jet, Roshfrans and Corona.
Cameroon’s portfolio includes, perhaps unsurprisingly, two prominent backers of African soccer in Puma and Orange, both of which support the biennial Africa Cup of Nations and a host of national sides on the continent.
- Spain: Cruzcampo, Iderdrola, Movistar, Cespam Pelayo, Nissan, Gillette, Continental, Cabreiroa, PfH, Bimbo, Marca, Once, ASM, LG, Sanitas, Iberia, Adidas
- Netherlands: ING, Nike, PWC, Staatsloterij, Heineken, Unit4, Albert Heijn, Adecco, Aquarius, Continental, Sunweb, Van Gils, Volkswagen, De Telegraaf, Radio 538, SBS 6
- Chile: Entel, Coca-Cola, Banco de Chile, Sodimac, Cristal, Samsung, Puma, PF, Gillette, Chery, Ariel, Head & Shoulders
- Australia: Qantas, Nike, Hyundai, Westfield, NAB, Cenovis, Foxtel, Fox Sports, SBS, TAB, Australian Sports Commission, Destination NSW, Sony, MJ Bale
The world champions are one of Adidas’ most-prized World Cup assets. The German sportswear manufacturer signed a long-term extension to its deal with the RFEF, Spain’s soccer federation, which runs until the end of the 2018 World Cup, months after Iker Casillas lifted the trophy in Johannesburg four years ago. Its investment has risen from US$27.3 million per year to US$32.73 million. The RFEF previously outsourced sponsorship sales to an agency, Group Santa Monica Sports, before bringing the operation in-house early last year. By then, deals which covered 2014 had already been concluded with Gillette and Nissan, the Japanese car giant jumping on board in October 2012 after Spain had successfully defended the European Championship. Both are in the second tier of partners, alongside insurer Paleyo and oil firm Cepsa, which signed a two-year renewal in 2012. The top-level partners are lager brand Cruzcampo, who will feature Spanish players on cans this summer, energy firm Iberdrola, and Movistar, the Telefonica-owned brand which agreed a three-year deal shortly before Euro 2012.
Group B contains another major European nation. The KNVB, the soccer association of the Netherlands, has its own long-term, lucrative kit deal – Nike are signed up until 2018 – and at least two more significant multi-million dollar deals, with ING, which has a contract until 2018, and PwC, a partner since 1992.
Adidas' contract with the RFEF, which runs until the end of Russia 2018, is worth US$32.73 million per year
South American hopefuls Chile replaced kit manufacturer Brooks with Puma in 2010. Its national association, the ANFP, has assembled a group of six senior sponsors since being knocked out by Brazil in the 2010 quarter-finals. Its deal with Samsung, finalised in 2011, ends in January but is reportedly worth US$6 million. Other top-tier partners are Banco de Chile, Coca-Cola, beer brand Cristal, home improvement warehouse chain Sodimac and teclo Entel.
Nike has a second team in the group. The US giant agreed an 11-year extension to its contract with the Football Federation of Australia two years ago, expanding a deal which began in 2004. But while the FFA has drawn together a solid group of partners, including Hyundai and Westfield, Qantas’ title sponsorship of the Socceroos has now come to an end. Although it remains official airline of the team, Australian reports suggest Qantas had grown frustrated with the lack of opportunity to activate its naming rights agreement at major tournaments like the World Cup where there is a clash with another airline sponsor, as in the case of Fifa and Emirates.
- Colombia: Aguila, Home Center, Movistar, Pacific Energy, P&G, Adidas, Caracol, Efecty, Allianz, Golty
- Ivory Coast: Aspetar, Kia, Guru, Sofitel, LONACI, Puma, Bollore, Sportcash, Port Autonome D’Abidjan, ARTCI, RTi, Orange, BNI, LPF, ChicShop, Centauro, Olgane, Prosuma, Le Conseil du Café-Cacao
- Greece: Opap, Vodafone, Piraeus bank, Nike, Amstel, Travelplan, intersport, Nova, Aegean, Metropolitan Hospital, Hellasod
- Japan: Kirin, Adidas, Audi, Saison card, FamilyMart, Japan Airlines, Konami, MS&AD, Mizuho, Sony, Asahi
One Nike team, one of Puma’s African gems, and two Adidas-backed nations from opposite sides of the world make up group C. In a country that is home to Mizuno and Asics, it is perhaps a surprise that Adidas has such a long, and strong relationship with the Japanese FA (JFA). Managed by advertising giant Dentsu, the JFA’s marketing portfolio is one of the most sought after in Japanese sport. Kirin, the Tokyo beer brand that sits at the top of the JFA’s partnership structure, has sponsored the Japanese national team since 1978. Its multi-billion yen annual deal includes title rights to the Kirin Cup, a near annual international friendly tournament hosted by Japan. Asahi, a rival Japanese beer brand, serves as the JFA’s ‘match sponsor’. It is a lack of category exclusivity typical of Japanese sports sponsorship. Japanese blue chips such as Konami, Sony, Mizuho and Japan Airlines, along with German car giant Audi, make up the Samurai Blue’s roster.
Colombia are the strong favourites to win the group and their on-field pedigree is matched by commercial clout off it. The Colombian FA’s kit deal with Adidas, first penned in 2011, is in place until after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Like Japan, Colombia’s principal partner is a local beer brand, Aguila, a lager brewed by the Bogota-based Bavaria Brewery. The brand is activating its deal through a fairly unreconstructed campaign featuring Aguila-branded bikini models ‘celebrating’ Colombia goals. The Colombian branch of Spanish-language mobile network giant Movistar, Home Center, and P&G are the FCF’s other key sponsors.
Led by Didier Drogba, the Ivory Coast’s ‘golden generation’ is entering its twilight years. But while the players probably didn’t capitalise on their potential at major tournaments, the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) commercial department very definitely did. German sportswear brand Puma has a longstanding deal in place with federation and has a history of signing high profile Ivorians to individual deals. Drogba, Yaya Toure, Gervinho, and Emmanuel Eboue have starred in global campaigns in recent years. Korean car brand Kia Motors, Qatari medical facility Aspetar, and French mobile giant Orange make up a high profile selection of the Elephant’s international backers.
The underdogs of the group, Greece are also the least glamorous team of the four. The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) swapped Adidas for Nike at the end of 2012. The Greek lottery, Nova, a Greek digital TV provider, Piraeus Bank, the Greek branch of Vodafone, and Aegean Airlines are the most prominent local names in a flat sponsorship structure.
- Uruguay: Geant Travel, Puma, Uruguay Natural TV, Coca-Cola, Antel, Pilsen, Grupo Sancor Seguros
- Costa Rica: CMM Cinemas, Marvi, Hertz, MetalCo, Clinica Santa Fe, Comex Pinturas, Euromobilia, Acqui Colombia Radio, Aldia, 103, Amanco, Gillette, Wizard, Sonrisa Para Todos, DonPedro, Herbalife, Coca- Cola, Banco Nacional, Dos Pinos, Sportec, Eaton, Pioneer, Gollo, Plycem, Lotto, Cristal, Pipasa, Dario, Kolbi, Dona Maria, Cemex, Tropical, Powerade, Traffic Sports, Wyndham Herradura, EPA
- Italy: Puma, TIM, Fiat, Compass, Uliveto, Dolce & Gabbana, Generali, Pai, Gruppo API, Nutella, Alitalia, Radio Italia, Segafrdo, Garnier, Zucchi, Sixtus.it
- England: Carlsberg, Lucozade Sport, M&S, Mars, McDonald’s, Nike, Nivea Men, Vauxhall, William Hill
Unsurprisingly, it is the big beasts of England and Italy that pack the biggest commercial punch of group D. England, for once without the burden of being billed as favourites by an expectant home market, are heading into their first major tournament with the Nike swoosh. The American giant replaced Umbro, then a Nike subsidiary, as the FA’s sportswear partner in September 2012. The deal will last until 2018 and at some US$45 million per year, is the second biggest deal of its kind in international soccer. Nike has five of the ten richest kit supply deals in the international game.
Puma, meanwhile, has just one. The German brand’s deal with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) began in 2002 and was renewed until 2018 in 2012 at a rate of some US$27.5 million a year. Off the pitch though, the Italian team will still be tailored by their countrymen as they go into the final World Cup of an eight year partnership with Dolce & Gabbana that has garnered some iconic images of Italian soccer players in their underpants. Underneath Puma, which is billed as a ‘technical partner’, sit Italian mobile network TIM, car giant Fiat, and credit card company Compass Mediabanco, which are all designated as ‘top sponsors’.
While Nike’s is the most valuable deal in England’s portfolio, car maker Vauxhall is the most visible of the non-technical suppliers. Formally, the company is the official vehicle supplier of the FA, Wembley Stadium, and the FA’s St George’s Park training facility. Its logos appear on the front of training gear worn by all 24 England national teams. The deal is worth some US$10 million a year and will run until after the next World Cup in 2018. One level down, in the ‘official supporter’ category, sit confectionary brand Mars and bookmaker William Hill.
Brazil 2014 kit makers: Nike (10 teams); Adidas (9); Puma (8); Lotto, Marathon, Joma, Uhlsport, Burrda (each with 1)
Uruguay is the second team in the group sponsored by Puma. A small nation with a huge World Cup history, Uruguay’s commercial potential is limited by its sub-four million population. The Uruguayan FA’s (AUF) other significant deal is with Coca-Cola.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, rank outsiders in the group, has a population not much larger than Uruguay’s. Its sponsorship strategy is hugely different, however, with the Costa Rican FA (FCDF) preferring to concentrate on volume. At the time of writing, the national team had over 35 partners, including Coca-Cola, Gillette, and Italian kit manufacturer Lotto.
- Switzerland: Puma, Credit Suisse, Volkswagen, Athleticum, Swiss Life, SRG SSR
- Ecuador: Marathon, Volkswagen, Coca-Cola. Banco de Guayaquil
- France: Nike, Credit Agricole, GDF Suez, PMU, Volkswagen, Belin
- Honduras: Coca-Cola, Salva Vida, Joma Sport, Ficohsa, Claro, Imaginaus, Televicentro tv, Diunsa, Grupointur, Avianca
Following France’s disappointing and disjointed campaign in South Africa four years ago, the French Football Federation (FFF) reimbursed millions of euros worth of sponsorship money to key partners like Adidas, energy firm GDF Suez and Crédit Agricole. All three, however, have remained on board, with Nike’s 2011 agreement worth US$474 million over seven and a half years marking the end of the FFF’s 32-year partnership with Adidas. PMU is Les Bleus’ other major commercial partner. The betting company’s contract, signed in December 2009, is set to end after the World Cup. In the car category, Citroen’s long-term association with the FFF and the national team comes to an end after the World Cup, with the governing body having already sealed a five-year agreement with Volkswagen. The German manufacturer is thought to have committed some US$27.5 million over the course of the deal.
Across the border in Switzerland, the SFV, the country’s national governing body, has a four-year kit manufacturing contract in place with Puma which covers the World Cup and Euro 2016, a deal said to be worth some US$1.5 million a year. Credit Suisse is in its 21st season of sponsoring the Swiss national teams and remains the main partner. Volkswagen has signed up this year, while sporting goods retailer Athleticum has been an SFV sponsor since July 2012. Swiss Life, a retirement and financial services planning company, and broadcaster SRG SSR can also be found on the commercial roster.
FENAFUTH, the national FA of Central American nation Honduras has a group of around ten commercial partners, led by Joma Sport which has supplied kits since 2000. The local division of Coca-Cola, local beer brand Salva Vida, financial services firm Ficohsa, telecoms company Claro, and retailer Diunsa are amongst the other sponsors.
Volkswagen sponsors eight teams heading to this year's World Cup, three of which are in Group E.
Further south lies Ecuador, which has qualified for its third World Cup and first since 2006. Its kit supplier is Marathon, a long-term arrangement of apparently undefined length, at least publicly. The country’s national soccer team was the Ecuadorian company’s first client when it was founded in the mid 1990s. Other sponsors of the FEF, Ecuador’s FA, are Volkswagen, Coca-Cola and its primary sponsor, local bank Banco de Guayaquil.
- Argentina: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Quilmes, Claro, Naranja, Volkswagen, ICBC, Sancor Seguros, YPF, Noblex, Bon Aqua, Powerade, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aegatone, Easy, P&G
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Hugo Boss, BH telecom, Elektroprivreda, Volkswagen, Lutjija, Sparkasse, Ziraat Bank, AS Group, Razvojna Banka, Sarajevo Osiguranje, Sarajevska, Violeta, Securitas, Tom Tailor, HT Eronet, Centrotrans, Radiom, Dnevni Avaz, a2b, VGT, Gong, Fotoart, Zap, Panini, bht, Karatbars, Airwaves, Milkos, Adidas
- Iran: Uhlsport, Kaspid, Iran Khodro
- Nigeria: Adidas, Malta Guinness, Hotsports Nigeria, wakanow.com, Globacom
Two-time world champions Argentina, led by FC Barcelona playmaker and four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, are the clear favourites in Group F and their on-pitch superiority is reflected in a strong portfolio of sponsors. Blue-chip brands like Coca-Cola, Claro, Volkswagen and Procter & Gamble are all supporting the team as they attempt to make it a hat-trick of world titles in their arch rivals’ back yard. Adidas has supplied the team’s kit since 1974 and its current deal, negotiated in 2011 and valued at US$11 million annually, runs until 2022.
In March it was announced that Argentina’s group rivals Bosnia and Herzegovina, currently ranked 25th in the world, will also wear the three stripes of Adidas when they make their Fifa World Cup debut in Brazil. The Football Federation of Bosnia agreed a ‘long-term’ deal with the German company, which replaced Italian brand Legea and was already a supplier of three of Bosnia's key players: Edin Džeko of Manchester City; Miralem Pjanić of AS Roma and national team captain Emir Spahić of Bayer Leverkusen.
Iran, meanwhile, will compete at their fourth World Cup wearing kits made by Uhlsport, the German brand best known for its goalkeeper gloves. Like Bosnia, they too were once supplied by Legea. The Iranian FA is also sponsored by Kaspid, a web design company registered in England, Iran and the UAE, and domestic carmaker Iran Khodro, which manufactures Peugeout and Renault models within Iran.
Nigeria, whose appearance in Brazil will be their fifth World Cup, have a relatively small collection of deals. Malta Guinness became the official malt drink of the team, nicknamed the Super Eagles, in April, while Globacom committed to a deal back in 2011 reportedly worth just shy of US$12 million over the course of its five-year tenure.
- Germany: Mercedes Benz, Adidas, Bitburger, Coca-Cola, Commerzbank, Deutsche Post, t mobile, SAP, Alliaz, Lufthansa, McDonald’s, Nivea, REWE, Allianz
- Portugal: Nike, Meo, Sagres, Hertz
- Ghana: GNPC, Cheki, Ghana National Petroleum Company, Latex Foam, Rice Master’s, UniBank, First Capital Plus, Puma
- USA: Allstate, AT&T, Castrol, Century 21, Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, Continental, Clorox, Degree, DePuy Synthes, El Jimador, Gatorade, Marriott, Panasonic, Pepsi, Visa, Yingli Solar, Mondelez International, McDonald’s, Nike
In a group teeming with on-field talent, it is the Germans who have assembled the most formidable roster of off-field power on the road to Rio. Indeed, the German side, who finished third at the 2010 World Cup, have some of the longest-running commercial agreements in world soccer. Mercedes, for instance, has been a German Football Association (DFB) sponsor since 1972, while Adidas has supplied the team’s kits for over 50 years. In fact, company founder Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler was among the on-the-ground team at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland screwing in studs to players’ boots. Adidas’s current deal is thought to be US$37 million per year, making it the world’s third-most valuable kit contract, according to data specialists Sportingintelligence. Coca-Cola is also a long-standing DFB partner, and established the hugely popular National Team Fan Club in 2003. The programme gives fans chance to buy match tickets and win ‘Fan-Tastic Moments’, including player meet and greets.
Fellow European qualifiers Portugal, meanwhile, were handed a pre-World Cup boost in the form of a multi-year kit renewal with Nike earlier this year. The US brand, a Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) partner since 1997, joins Sagres as a major sponsor of the Cristiano Ronaldo-captained side this summer. The beer brand is the FPF’s oldest sponsor and invests over US$16 million each year in Portuguese soccer. Remaining Group G representatives Ghana and the USA look capable of causing an upset this summer, and their pre-tournament commercial activity has been equally intriguing.
Sagres, the FPF’s oldest sponsor, invests over US$16 million each year in Portuguese soccer.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s men signed a nine-year kit extension with Nike in January 2014, which will see the sports giant remain a US Soccer partner until 2022, while Chevrolet and cleaning brand Clorox also joined the USA’s bulging corporate roster over the past 12 months. ESPN, which picked up the domestic Major League Soccer (MLS) rights along with Fox Sports and Univision for US$630 million in May 2014, has also commissioned a new series of its ‘Inside: US Soccer’s March to Brazil’ documentaries, which will air weekly from mid-May.
Of the group, Ghana have undoubtedly been the busiest when it comes to signing short-term World Cup sponsors, with the likes of UniBank, Rice Master’s, Cheki Ghana Limited, Latex Foam and Huawei joining its stable since last May. As is the form with the Ghana Football Association, there is no shortage of financial information available for the contracts, with values ranging from US$100,000 for Huawei and Cheki to US$1.2 million for UniBank.
- Belgium: Verelst, Belgacom, BMW, Burrda, Coca-Cola, Ergo, GLS, ING, Jupiler, PWC, RTL Sport, Scooore, Sporza, Brussels Airlines
- Russia: Novatek, Coca-Cola, Megafon, Sogaz, Veb, Russian Railways, Volkswagen, Adidas, Aeroflot, Man, Deloitte, Yust, Radeo Mayak, Radio Vesti, Championat, R-Sport, sovsport, ftbl, karris
- Algeria: Ooredoo, Coca-Cola, Peugeot, Puma, Macrivia, Groupe Benamor
- South Korea: Nike, KT, Hanabank, Daum Communications, Hyundai, Kyobo Life, E1 Corporation, Asiana, Samsung, Hitejinro, Caffé Bene, Coca-Cola, Seoul Dairy Cooperative
Group H is one of two groups this summer lacking a traditional soccer powerhouse. Belgium, along with Russia perhaps, are expected to perform well given the wealth of Premier League talent in their squad, and that promise is reflected in the strength of the Red Devils’ commercial backing. Brussels Airlines is among the team’s backers, signing a contract in February this year which stretches beyond the 2016 European Championships.
Coca-Cola sponsors 12 teams heading to Brazil – more than any other company – including all four sides in Group H
As part of the carrier’s sponsorship, fans had the opportunity to accompany the squad as they travelled to São Paulo on a specially chartered flight in June. Beer brand Jupiler is also a 25-year partner of the Royal Belgian Football Association (KBVB), while Burrda struck a four-year kit deal from the start of the 2010/11 season worth US$1.25 annually. Long-term sponsor Coca-Cola also commits around US$250,000 to Belgian soccer each year.
Elsewhere, Russia are set to make their first appearance at a Fifa World Cup in 12 years and have a sizeable portfolio of corporate backers to show for it. Aeroflot, which provided free flights for Russian fans between Moscow and Warsaw during Euro 2012, will remain a major sponsor in Brazil, while MegaFon and kit supplier Adidas have long-term deals in place. Natural gas producer Novatek also came on board in October last year for around US$7.8 million. The deal was announced amid reports the Russian Football Union had accumulated up to US$25 million worth of debt under its previous leadership.
South Korea add an interesting twist to the group, and the soccer-mad nation’s commercial powers have certainly jumped on the World Cup bandwagon. Hyundai, Samsung and Coca-Cola will lend their support to the 2002 tournament hosts, but it is their kit supply deal which is perhaps most interesting. The 2007 renewal with Nike was agreed at US$27 million over four years, despite rival Adidas reportedly offering a higher sum. The threat of legal action after the Korea Football Association (KFA) failed to enforce Nike’s previous ‘black-out’ clause – banning players from displaying brand logos other than the Nike swoosh – is rumoured to have been behind the decision to accept a lower fee.
Finally, the group’s African representation, Algeria, have a clutch of partners including Groupe Benamor, kit supplier Puma and, as is the trend in Group H, Coca-Cola. Telecoms firm Ooredoo is also major sponsor. The Qatari firm invited a number of Algerian fans and media to a Ligue 1 game in May this year to watch another Ooredoo-backed team, Paris Saint-Germain.