Over the last few days FIFA has been in crisis mode with senior leaders of the organization being indicted for fraud. While FIFA as a brand has taken a ‘hit’ it’s been interesting to watch the actions of FIFA’s sponsors – Nike, VISA, etc.
Many of these have taken a wait and see approach. They have criticized the actions of those involved and said that they will continue to monitor the outcome of the case. They are all also checking to ensure their sponsor dollars were not used as ‘bribe’ money. Before deciding on their sponsorship going forward they wait for various investigations to wrap up.
I would argue that many sponsors have insulated their brands. They are disassociating themselves from the actions — but remain sponsors of the ‘game’. They equate their sponsorship to the joy it brings to millions of fans — which mirrors fan sentiment. Most don’t want to see the game tarnished but understand what the FIFA executives did was wrong. In fact, fans are appreciating that sponsors are still sticking with the sport. One professor at the University of Ohio even called the actions of sponsors ‘text-book issues management’.
I say bravo to the sponsors for effectively insulating their brands, while this ‘crisis’ swirls around FIFA.
— Andrew C.