Looking Behind The Scenes Of FIFA World Cup Marketing
The world cup is a whirl wind event that happens every four years, but there is more to the story than just the game itself.
Soccer fan or not, sports fan or not, every four years, in every corner of the world, World Cup fever hits hard. However, this is no coincidence, the phenomenon is due only in part to the die hard, year round fans infecting those around them; it can be more accurately attributed to the innovative, intuitive and insightful marketing and promotional efforts of FIFA, the Fèdèration Internationale de Football Association.
Getting men, women and children of every age, nationality and social and economic background interested in a few weeks of football is about more than securing ratings for world-class matches. For FIFA the World Cup and the world game are about bringing nations together because in encouraging this competition and interaction, greater integration can be achieved. FIFA takes their mission very seriously and works hard year round, and especially in the years between World Cup tournaments, to foster the growth of the game, and couple those coaching, training and football club initiatives with education and social programs to help young people find their place in the world, and be part of something bigger than themselves.
FIFA was founded in 1904 and has since grown to include 208 member associations, and employ 310 people in over 35 different countries. Every member association gets one vote, to administer the management of the association and as such, every member and every partnered business is equally as dedicated to FIFA’s mission of using football to facilitate equality and integration, and spread hope to every nation.
The dedication and successful management of the FIFA organisation has seen it emerge from the Global Financial Crisis and all of the subsequent long tail effects, to take up an even stronger position. In 2009 FIFA showed a positive annual result of US $196 million, and revenue increased to US $1 billion, keeping the association well within its 2009 expense budget.
FIFA is also financially stable thanks to clever asset and investment management as the association hedges foreign currencies to protect itself against losses. FIFA’s equity also increased to US $1,061 million as at December 2009. It is important to the organisation that they are financially stable and more importantly, financially independent, to allow them to respond to unexpected world events.
Marketing FIFA Initiatives
FIFA takes their mission very seriously and in turn needs to be assured of support from their sponsors. In order to attract equally intuitive, motivated and passionate sponsors for the World Cup and other FIFA sporting and social initiatives the association offers promotional and marketing opportunities which allow sponsors to present their brands to local and global markets, across TV, radio and broadcasting and commentating mediums. In turn, FIFA’s carefully selected cache of marketing partners helps them deliver the best coverage, the best service for players and fans, and allows FIFA to bring all of their best promotional ideas to life, engaging as many new and old fans as possible.
For example, FIFA and Sony have partnered together to present the official World Cup song in 2010. The promotional team chose a song by Shakira called ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’ which will be performed by Shakira, and the South African band ‘Freshlyground’. The song represents the life and passion of the country through tradtitional African rhythms and all proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to the 20 Centres for 2010 program. The 20 Centres for 2010 campaign is an example of how FIFA aims to stimulate positive social change through the medium of football. The 20 centres will be built across Africa and will offer education and health care services, in addition to football training.
Another FIFA sponsor, Coca-Cola have developed an anthem for their World Cup advertising campaign. Coke have used an African inspired song called ‘Wavin Flag – Coca Cola Celebration Mix’.
Other sponsors include Adidas, who began their partnership with FIFA over 30 years ago and were even responsible for introducing the first screw in studs, which went on to be worn by the winning German team at the 1954 World Cup; Emirates Airline who offer a 2.9% balance transfer offer on their credit cards for 12 months and provide premium air travel for players and fans; Hyundai Kia Motors who take care of the teams, the officials, members of the organising committee, referees and the media on the ground; and Visa who have already helped millions of fans travel to South Africa to enjoy the World Cup and offer Visa cardholders the opportunity to be part of stadium tours, pre-match warm-ups and other exclusive experiences.
Also promoting the 2010 World Cup is the official mascot, Zakumi the leopard. His name comes from ZA which stands for South Africa, and kumi which means 10 in the African languages used around the country. Zakumi is young, vibrant, energetic, smart and ambitious since he was only born in 1994 – the same year as democracy was born in South Africa – and so he makes the perfect mascot to inspire football fans from around the world to get into the spirit of the game.
Economic Benefits for South Africa
Being award the right to host the World Cup also means a lot of preparation is required and since South African was awarded the honour in 2004 they have been working hard to improve their infrastructure and stadium venues, leading to the creation of new jobs now, and ongoing employment opportunities for the future.
In preparation for the World Cup, new stadiums have been either built or are being renovated, a project which has required 11 million bricks, 80,000 cubic metres of concrete and 16,000 tonnes of steel. For example, new structures include the Mbomela Stadium in Nelspruit the Durban Stadium, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town and the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Having been upgraded in anticipation of the world class games and masses of fans are South Africa’s Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, the Free State Stadium originally built in 1952, one of South Africa’s oldest sporting venues the Loftus Versfeld Stadium built in 1903, and the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Branding of a Nation
South Africa can also expect ongoing national marketing and tourism benefits as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup if benefits to previous host nations are anything to go by.
For example, after the 2006 World Cup in Germany:
- Foreign tourism booking increased by 31%.
- Unemployment dropped by 29%.
- Consumer confidence was at its highest since 1980.
- Investor confidence was at its highest since Germany’s reunification in 1990.
- German exports were up 14% making it the leading export nation.
The approval ratings of Chancellor Angela Merkel were 79% in September 2007, the highest rating of any German chancellor since the war.
Such increases and image promotion are possible because for every person who attends the World Cup, another 150 people will be influenced. These 150 people will be influenced by word of mouth from the visitors to South Africa, changing the perception of the host country worldwide. For example, for Germany who had an estimated 2 million visitors at their 2006 World Cup, over 300 million people were influenced by those visitors’ feedback.
South Africa estimates over 3 million tourists will attend the 2010 World Cup and this is 40% more than the average annual number of tourists the country sees. This influx of tourists is expected to generate R93 billion South Africa with 38% of that revenue to be generated during the course of the year, with foreign tourism accounting for 16%. Growth of South Africa’s GDP for 2010 is expected to be around 2.5%. The economic and employment benefits are also expected to be ongoing with a number of annual jobs sustained estimated at 695,000.
While FIFA’s work and the World Cup itself are about more than just football, it is important to remember that when the promotions, the marketing and the construction are all boiled down one simple game is able to enthral and unite people from all walks of life from all around the world, giving them the opportunity to set down their ordinary burdens and take up the flag of national pride and team spirit.
This article was written by Timothy Ng who is a regular writer and part of the team at Credit Card Finder, a 100% free Australian credit card comparison and application service. Visit the Credit Card Finder website for more information or subscribe to their RSS feed for more practical articles.